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“So Brave” is a sarcastic expression used to dismiss a comment or patronize someone for falling in line with popular opinions on the social news site Reddit. Due to its excessive use, the phrase has been also satirized as a cliché on Reddit’s numerous “circlejerk” communities, often accompanied by the phrase “literally Hitler” and references to United States Representative Ron Paul and astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson.
Redditor runrunwootwoot submitted a post to the /r/politics subreddit on October 7th, 2008, citing the U.S. Senator John McCain’s scandalous quote “I hate the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live” from 2000. In the comments, Redditor rgladstein recounted a story about confronting a coworker’s racist language, to which an unknown Redditor replied “You are so brave for standing up to racial injustice.”
On August 3rd, 2010, Redditor timeshifter_ submitted a post titled “Super Trollface Bros” to the /r/gaming subreddit, which featured an image of several characters from the Super Mario video game franchise illustrated as rage faces. In the thread, Redditor SloaneRanger remarked that the character Luigi was making a Zach Anner face, who had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, to which Redditor miloir sneered “This was so brave."
On December 4th, 2010, redditor sevans59 submitted a post calling for other Redditors to close their Amazon and Paypal accounts in protest of their embargo against the online publication Wikileaks. In the same post, an unknown Redditor replied with a pledge to close the accounts, to which Redditor otnasnom replied “Wow! Such a sacrifice on your part! You so brave!” On June 20th, 2011, Redditor Mitcheypoo submitted a post to the satirical /r/circlejerk subreddit titled “I’m a pro-choice/gay marriage/legalization/socialize health care/separation of church and state staunch Republican! Ask me anything liberal Reddit! I’m so Brave!”
On November 25th, 2011, a post reached the front page of Reddit titled “A Very Brave Woman”, which highlighted a YouTube video of a woman with acne demonstrating how she applies make up (shown above). In the post, Redditor baumkramer replied “so brave” in bold text. On January 9th, 2012, Urban Dictionary user lubemyboobs submitted an entry for “so brave.”
On January 20th, the “So Brave” Quickmeme page was created, showcasing various image macros based on a photograph of United States Representative and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul. On January 23rd, an entry for “So Brave” was submitted to the Reddit-related wiki Reddipedia, which included the Urban Dictionary definition. On March 19th, Redditor IAmAnAnonymousCoward submitted a post to the /r/TheoryOfReddit subreddit questioning the origins of the phrase, noting its prevalence in the /r/circlejerk and /r/ShitRedditSays communities.