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Ohio is an American state in the Midwest region of the country that became the subject of memes across social media platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Instagram and TikTok, among other platforms, predominantly following the Ohio vs. the World trend that started in 2016. Going into the 2020s, the concept of Ohio as a meme became commonplace through multiple trends that humorously labeled Ohio as an American middle place, existing as a capitalist wasteland of chaos and mayhem, akin to creepypastas, lore and randomness, becoming an imagined epitome of American signifiers such as Breezewood, Pennsylvania. Ohio meme trends include Wait, It's All Ohio? Always Has Been, Can't Even X in Ohio, Only in Ohio, the Ohio Final Boss and the King of Ohio, among other micro-trends.
Between the years 1936 and 1939, the original computer was created in Endicott, New York, by Arthur Halsey Dickinson and the IBM Patent Company, however, IBM had a main competitor located in Dayton, Ohio, called NCR which was led by Joseph Desch and Robert Mumma in 1939. NCR's computer was called the NCR3566. The NCR company continued to innovate computers, like in 1960, the company released the NCR 315, which claimed to be the first low-cost, mass-marketed computer. The company NCR still exists as of 2022.
Origin of Ohio Memes
Ohio vs. the World
Although meme trends related to Ohio surfaced prior to 2016, the first specifically Ohio-based meme and objectively most viral was Ohio vs. the World.
On August 6th, 2016, Tumblr user screenshotofdespair posted a photograph of a bus stop digital screen with the message "Ohio will be eliminated." on it (shown below, left). The post received over 107,900 likes and reblogs in the following years and has been reposted multiple times, including posts on Boing Boing and Reddit. Additionally, a screenshot containing comments by Tumblr users fontech and postmarxed has also been circulated (shown below, right).
Before December 9th, 2019, an unknown user posted an MS-Paint drawing of an astronaut finding out that all land on the Earth is actually Ohio, with another astronaut preparing to shoot him to cover up the conspiracy (shown below; the edit is based on a previous meme "wait it's all America?"). In the following days, the image received viral spread on iFunny, Twitter, Reddit and Tumblr.
Wait, It's All Ohio? Always Has Been
The aforementioned meme showing the two astronauts started the Wait, It's All Ohio? Always Has Been exploitable that propelled the "Ohio vs. the World" concept further. Thereafter, meme creators across social media platforms portrayed Ohio as a dangerous force that needed to be stopped before it took over the Earth.
Harambe the Gorilla
Harambe the Gorilla was a 17-year-old Western lowland silverback gorilla who was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati, Ohio after a child fell into his enclosure in late May 2016. The incident was wildly criticized online by many who blamed the child's parents for the gorilla's untimely death. The incident happened on May 28th, 2016, after a YouTube video went viral of the incident. Many memes were inspired by the event such as Dicks Out For Harambe and Meme Heaven.
Heroin Family Photo Controversy
The Heroin Family Photo Controversy refers to the reaction following an Ohio city's Facebook post that showed a picture of a couple in a parked car passed out from heroin use while a child was in the backseat. On September 8th, 2016, the City of East Liverpool, Ohio Facebook page posted pictures taken by their police department while investigating a call of an incapacitated driver (shown below). The pictures showed uncensored photos of two adults, Rhonda Pasek and James Lee Acord passed out on heroin while Pasek's grandson was awake in the backseat.
This Guy Moaned at Least This Loud
This Guy Moaned at Least This Loud is a memorable quote uttered by a man describing a car accident in a drivers' education DVD video titled Love To Accelerate. The video was made in 2003 and distributed by the Ohio Department of Public Safety. In the video, two drivers discuss a street racing accident and the consequences of the choices they've made, along with eyewitnesses adding more depth to the tragedy. At approximately 2:44, a man imitates what it was like to hear an injured driver moan (shown below). On January 19th, 2012, YouTuber alloway7884 uploaded the full video. It was later used for many memes and YTPs on YouTube.
Burger King Foot Lettuce
Burger King Foot Lettuce refers to a scandal in which a Burger King employee (suspected to work at the Burger King on Mayfield Road in Mayfield Heights, Ohio) was photographed standing in two plastic tubs of lettuce with shoes on. Shortly after its initial appearance on 4chan, the location of the Burger King restaurant was subsequently identified and the photograph in question was sent to local and national news outlets, ultimately resulting in the termination of the employee. In late 2017, 4chan's doxing story resurfaced on social media after a dramatic retelling of the episode went viral on YouTube and became a subject of copypastas, remixes and parodies.
But It's Honest Work
But It's Honest Work is a reaction image macros series featuring a photograph of a farmer saying "It ain't much, but it's honest work." The man photographed in the photo is Ohio farmer and "soil health pioneer" David Brandt. On October 10th, 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture posted an article entitled "Soil Health Campaign Turns Two: Seeks to Unlock Benefits on- and off-the-Farm" that first included the photo.
Ohio Quarantine Protesters Photo
Ohio Quarantine Protesters Photo refers to a photograph of a group of Ohio protesters outside the Statehouse Atrium in April 2020 demonstrating to re-open non-essential businesses in the state. The photo, which was taken by Joshua A. Bickel for Dispatch, was widely mocked an compared to a photo of zombies on Twitter.
Cleveland Mini Car Video
Cleveland Mini Car Video refers to a viral video of a man narrating the aftermath of a car accident in Cleveland, Ohio when a surprisingly miniature car arrives at the scene, catching his attention. The video spread online as people enjoyed the narrator's narration and the twist of the small car.
Sir Get Down!
Sir Get Down! is a sound effect used in several viral videos of a police officer yelling, "Sir, get down!" over and over again. It became notable in memes after the audio of a cop breakdancing in the grass was replaced with it. The sound of the cop shouting was used primarily on TikTok in 2022 in content that followed the phrasal template Me When X Becomes Illegal. The original audio is from bodycam footage recorded in 2016 of an attempted suicide by cops. It was uploaded to YouTube shortly after. The original cop shouting was Ohio police officer Joshua Hilling in March 2016.
Incorrect Soulslike Locations / Elden Ring In Ohio
Elden Ring in Ohio refers to jokes that FromSoftware's 2022 open-world game Elden Ring takes place in the state of Ohio when it actually takes place in a realm called "The Lands Between." Originally stemming from a viral Wikipedia edit and Google search, memes referencing this trend are usually expressed by users joking that the game's more desolate locations, such as Caelid, are cities based in Ohio. While Ohio is the primary location for such jokes, other locations in the United States have appeared in variations of the meme as well, like Florida.
'Ohio' in Japan / 'Ohayo'
'Ohio' in Japan refers to the misinterpretation of the Japanese word 'Ohayo' (meaning "Good morning" in English), which sounds like the U.S. state of Ohio when said aloud. Due to the notoriety of Ohio memes on TikTok and elsewhere over the years, the concept of visiting Japan and hearing "Ohio" said in public frequently became fuel for memes that typically question why the Japanese people would reference the state. These memes often touch on satirical conspiracy theory and creepypasta territory. They predominantly started in 2018 on Reddit.
Can't Even X in Ohio 💀 / Only in Ohio
Can't Even X in Ohio 💀 or Only in Ohio is a phrasal template and catchphrase used in a series of videos on TikTok in which users show scary footage (often of animated monsters or disasters) under variations of the caption "can't even X in Ohio," with "X" being an everyday task. Popularized on TikTok in August 2022, the videos combine the Ohio vs. the World and Can't Have Shit in Detroit memes to portray Ohio as a horror-filled wasteland, typically set to the song "Swag Like Ohio" by Lil B and associated with the lyric "down in Ohio."
Can't Even Play Minecraft In Ohio
Can't Even Play Minecraft In Ohio is a catchphrase used in a series of Ohio vs. the World memes in which cursed Minecraft videos and edits are shown alongside captions claiming it's the Ohio version of Minecraft, often set to the song "Smoke" by Cowbell Cult. The meme started to spread across TikTok around August 2022, also spreading on YouTube and Twitter over the following months. Many of the videos are sourced from YouTuber Not Safe, who makes bizarro Minecraft edits.
It's A Chicken Salad / From 81st Deli
It's a Chicken Salad / From 81st Deli is a catchphrase from a viral video of a woman eating a chicken salad from a deli on 81st street in Cleveland, Ohio. The video was first posted to the 81st Street Deli's official TikTok in August 2022, before going viral in October, with people commenting on the woman's delivery of the line "It's a chicken salad," and admiring her cadence and facial expressions. The sound was also subsequently used in lip-dub skits by TikTokers.
Brian Peppers was a sex offender from Ohio, whose police photograph went viral online in 2005. The police photograph of Peppers, who reportedly suffers from either Apert Syndrome or Crouzon Syndrome, led many to believe that the picture was fake. Memes that mocked and leered at his physical appearance came in the form of image macros and edits that used the mug shot in a variety of ways. Peppers died in 2012.
Ted Williams / The Golden Voice
Ted Williams (a.k.a The Golden Voice) is a Brooklyn-born drifter from Columbus, Ohio who became a YouTube sensation after getting filmed on the street by Columbus Dispatch reporter Kevin Joy. The original video was uploaded to YouTube on January 3rd, 2011.
Logan Paul and Jake Paul
Logan Paul and Jake Paul are brothers from Ohio who also went to Ohio University. The got their start on Vine by releasing short comedy videos. They later moved to YouTube, started influencer boxing and became the subject of many controversies like Logan Paul's Suicide Forest Video.
King of Ohio / Don Pollo
Don Pollo (@donpollo2982), also known as the King of Ohio, refers to a Spanish-speaking TikToker named Agustin whose videos are usually taken in the car, eating food like rotisserie chicken, and are often interrupted by ringtones and other loud sounds emitting from his Android. After going viral in mid-2022 for the El Que Quiera Perder Su Tiempo sound, also known as El Que Quiera Perder El Tiempo, Don Pollo's audios were used for shitpost photo slideshows and were added to the Goofy Ahh sound bank. He was later dubbed the "King of Ohio" because he allegedly worked at an Ohio high school, however, he's actually from South Carolina.
Satoyu0704 / Ohio Final Boss
Satoyu0704, also known as Satoyu (さとゆ), is a Japanese TikToker most known for his TikTok Live presence in which he wears a suit and walks to phonk music, resembling anime protagonists. Satoyu was ironically nicknamed the Ohio Final Boss due to three factors: him saying "Ohayo" (which means "Good morning" in Japanese) during his streams, the popularity of Ohio memes on TikTok and the "Final Boss" trend started by the Romanian Final Boss. Satoyu as the "Ohio Final Boss" is often pinned against TikToker Don Pollo, known as the "King of Ohio," in powerscaling memes across TikTok. Due to his new nickname, he embraced the concept and started saying "Made in Ohio" in his streams.
Ohio Queen / Natuecoco
The Ohio Queen refers to Japanese TikToker Natuecoco (@natuecoco) who became known on TikTok due to her TikTok Lives with Satoyu0704, also known as the Ohio Final Boss, in which they pretended to be anime protagonists through cosplaying and emoting. After Satoyu0704 was ironically dubbed the "Ohio Final Boss" in late 2022, Natuecoco was next in line and became a part of the growing Ohio lore on the app that also included the King of Ohio. Many labeled the Ohio Queen as an NPC or inserted her into powerscaling edits along with the Ohio Final Boss' catchphrase "Made in Ohio."
@nonamecharli_tiktok Ohio royalty #ohio #kingofohio2022 #queenofohio ♬ original sound – NoNameCharli_tiktok
@valentin_.ma Made in Ohio pt2 #ohiofinalboss#ohioqueen#madeinohio#wonderofohio#ohio#debate#1v1#edit#fyp#fypシ ♬ Originalton – Valentin
2014 Slenderman Ohio Teenagers Stabbing
On June 6th, 2014, WLWT News in Hamilton, Ohio reported that the myth of Slenderman may have been implicated in another stabbing incident of a mother by her 13-year-old daughter. According to the victim, who asked not to be identified, she was attacked by her daughter, whom she says was waiting in the kitchen for her with a mask over her face and her hands covered with her sleeves, upon returning home from work. Though it is unclear when the incident occurred, WLWT reported that the woman made the connection after learning about last week's report of two Wisconsin teenagers' stabbing and discovering that her daughter had been obsessed with Slenderman. The woman suffered minor injuries as a result of the attack, including cuts on her neck and face and a puncture wound on her back, and the teenager is facing charges.
 University of Minnesota – Oral history interview with Robert E. Mumma
 Wars and Battles – Treaty of Paris
 Ohio History Central – Welcome To Ohio History
 Tumblr – screenshotsofdespair
 Boing Boing – Ohio will be eliminated
 4chan – /pol/ Post#181476271
 Twitter – @burgertownmw2
 Tumblr – chemtraildude
 Facebook – City of East Liverpool, Ohio
 USDA – Soil Health Campaign Turns Two: Seeks to Unlock Benefits on- and off-the-Farm
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