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"Dumpster Fire" is a pejorative term used to describe something as a spectacular failure or disaster, in a similar vein to other colloquial terms like "trainwreck" or "shitshow." Online, animated GIFs of dumpsters on fire are often used as a satirical commentary in the context of political scandals and poorly performing professional sports teams.
The earliest known use of the expression as a pejorative metaphor was used in a scathing critique of the 1974 horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre published in the Arizona Republic newspaper on October 17th, 2003.
"This bloody, exploitative mess is the cinematic equivalent of a dumpster fire stinky but insignificant."
According to The Huffington Post, many have credited American sportscaster Colin Cowherd with popularizing the phrase "dumpster fire" to describe poorly performing sports teams.
On July 10th, 2008, Urban Dictionary user Full0n submitted an entry for "Dumpster Fire," defining it as "a complete disaster" or "something very difficult that nobody wants to deal with" (shown below).
In May 2016, Oxford Dictionaries added "dumpster fire" to their online dictionary, defining it as "a chaotic or disastrously mishandled situation. On August 16th, the Vlogbrothers YouTube channel released a video in which host John Green lists "16 ways 2016 is not a total dumpster fire" (shown below).
On June 4th, American linguist Mark Liberman ran a blog post on his website Language Log about the pejorative. On June 6th, the news site Salon published an article referring to Donald Trump's presidential campaign as a "raging dumpster fire." On June 24th, The Huffington Post published an article examining the history of the phrase. On September 8th, Redditor Nobyl submitted a photoshopped weather map showing dumpster fires all over the St. Louis, Missouri (shown below). Within one month, the post gathered upwards of 6,800 votes (93% upvoted) and 300 comments on /r/CrappyDesign. On October 18th, the news site Mother Jones published an article titled "'Dumpster Fire' Is 2016's Meme of the Year," which discussed the way the expression was used throughout the 2016 United States presidential elections.
On September 12th, 2012, YouTuber 5iveoclock uploaded footage of the Los Angeles Fire Department putting out a dumpster fire behind the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California (shown below).
On February 16th, 2016, an animated GIF of the fire was uploaded to Giphy. On October 10th, statistician Nate Silver posted the GIF with the caption "Live look-in at the Republican Party (shown below).
Live look-in at the Republican Party. pic.twitter.com/QZ4UFhEgPU— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 10, 2016
On October 14th, Redditor Wyldcat submitted an edited version of the GIF including images of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and several Republican presidential and vice-presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Ted Cruz, dancing around the blazing dumpster to /r/EnoughTrumpSpam (shown below). On October 20th, an article about the GIF's origins was published on the news site Entrepreneur.
 Urban Dictionary – dumpster fire
 The Huffington Post – Where did Dumpster Fire Come From
 MotherJones – Dumpster Fire Is 2016's Meme of the Year
 False Hustle – Once again its on
 Nunesmagician – Next Time Colin Cowherd in in Town
 Newspapers – Arizona Republic
 Oxford Dictionaries – dumpster fire
 Language Log – dumpster fire
 Reddit – Dumpster Fire
 Salon – Donald Trumps campaign is a raging dumpster fire
 Entrepreneur – The Origin of the Internet's Most Famous Dumpster Fire
 Twitter – @NateSilver538's Tweet
 Giphy – dumpster fire
pinkiespy - goat spy
Oct 19, 2016 at 04:17PM EDT
Oct 19, 2016 at 04:08PM EDT
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