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Foo Fighters vs. the Foo refers to a series of jokes and memes which imagine the rock band Foo Fighters protecting the society from a threat known as "foo." Originating from a Dam Edit meme posted in December 2019, the joke gained significant popularity online in mid-February 2020.
On December 6th, 2019, Facebook group Dolphinger Center for Memetic Studies posted a Dam Edit meme which imagined the rock band Foo Fighters as a force defending society from Foo. The meme received 540 reactions and 3,500 shares in two months. On December 7th, Redditor AfricanAmericanNigga reposted the meme to /r/dankmemes, where it received over 33,100 upvotes in the same period.
On December 6th, 2019, several Facebook users posted more memes based on the joke in the comment section of the original post, including memes posted by Cole McCorkendale and Deric Boyer (shown top and bottom left). After the December 7th Reddit repost of the meme, several low-upvoted posts based on the joke also appeared on Reddit in the following days. A similar meme about Street Fighter posted by Redditor tehflyingeagle on December 11th similar received over 8,300 upvotes in /r/okbuddyretard (shown below, bottom right).
The format did not see notable spread until on January 29th, 2019, Redditor ITaHiR_Requiem posted a JoJo's Bizarre Adventure meme based on the joke to /r/okbuddyretard subreddit, where it received over 2,600 upvotes in three weeks (shown below, top). The popularity of the format was prompted further when on February 10th, 2020, Twitter user @TF2Cursed posted a Team Fortress 2 version of the meme which received over 2,300 retweets and 7,600 likes in ten days (shown below, bottom).
Starting in mid-February 2020, the joke gained a notable presense on Reddit and Twitter. For example, a February 17th, 2020, post by Redditor boab_129 received over 32,200 upvotes in three days.
Meaning of the Word "Foo"
The band Foo Fighters takes their name from "foo fighters," a collective name for UFOs and other aerieal phenomena reported by the Allied aircraft pilots during World War II. The nonsense word "foo" emerged in popular culture during the early 1930s, first used by cartoonist Bill Holman in his Smokey Stover strip. The term was allegedly borrowed by a radar operator Donald J. Meiers during the war, who dubbed the unidentified aerial objects "foo fighters." For the lack of a better name, the phrase stuck.