dumpster fire meme

Dumpster Fire

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Updated Jun 05, 2024 at 03:24PM EDT by Zach.

Added Oct 19, 2016 at 02:20PM EDT by Don.

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Check out our explainer on this topic, What Is A 'Dumpster Fire'? The Trash Disaster Election Meme, Explained

About

"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.

Origin

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[6] 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,[2] many have credited American sportscaster Colin Cowherd with popularizing the phrase "dumpster fire" to describe poorly performing sports teams.[4][5]

Spread

On July 10th, 2008, Urban Dictionary[1] 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).


Dumpster Fire 1.A complete disaster. 2. Something very difficult that nobody wants to deal with. This project is a complete dumpster fire. #dumpsterfire #cluster f--- #fu bar #disaster #f----- up by FullOn July 10, 2008 510 41s BUY THE MUG BUY THE TSHIRT

In May 2016, Oxford Dictionaries[7] 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[8] about the pejorative. On June 6th, the news site Salon[10] published an article referring to Donald Trump's presidential campaign as a "raging dumpster fire." On June 24th, The Huffington Post[2] published an article examining the history of the phrase. On September 8th, Redditor Nobyl submitted a photoshopped weather map showing dumpster fires all over 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.


NEW OVERNIGHT DUMPSTER FIRES INFORMATION CITY OF ST. LOUis DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE55 DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE4 DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE NEWS4 DUMPSTER FIRE DUMPSTER FIRE 12:03 87 DUMPSTER FIRE

Animated GIF

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.[13] On October 10th, statistician Nate Silver posted the GIF with the caption "Live look-in at the Republican Party (shown below).




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[9] (shown below). On October 20th, an article about the GIF's origins was published on the news site Entrepreneur.[11]



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