2000 yard stare meme / thousand yard stare soldier illustration.

Thousand Yard Stare

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Updated Mar 02, 2024 at 04:15PM EST by Owen.

Added May 17, 2023 at 12:07PM EDT by Owen.

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Related Explainer: What's The '1,000 Yard Stare?' The Painting Of A Traumatized Soldier That's Become A Meme Explained

About

The Thousand Yard Stare, also written 1,000 Yard Stare, refers to a painting called The 2,000 Yard Stare from American artist Thomas Lea that shows a World War II soldier staring directly at the viewer, portraying post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociation caused by battle. The painting spawned the phrase "thousand-yard stare" to describe the dissociated and shell-shocked look of soldiers and veterans. The image was used in memes to portray traumatization, predominantly in the early 2020s, gaining redraws and status as an exploitable akin to other "staring" memes like Staring Animals, the Sigma Stare and the Lightskin Stare. It became a common reaction image on Twitter / X, leading to usage by gimmick accounts for engagement bait. It was also used in Schizoposting to portray fear. Notable variations of the meme are the Kurt Angle 1,000 Yard Stare and The Lorax 1,000 Yard Stare.

Origin

The 2,000 Yard Stare (shown below, left) was painted by American artist Thomas Lea in 1944.[1] It depicts "a nameless real-life American Marine at the Battle of Peleliu, during World War II, in 1944."[1] The painting was first featured in LIFE[2] magazine's June 1994 issue (shown below, right).


ζˆ‘ ↑ BATTLE FATIGU is mirrored in the stark, staring eyes of this marine painted against the background of "Bloody Nose Ridge," a mile-long jagged cliff which was the strongest J-- redoubt on Peleliu. Lea's notes tell this man's story: "Last evening he came down out of the hills. Told to get some sleep, he found a shell crater and slumped into it. He's awake now. First light has given his gray face eerie color. He left the States 31 months ago. He was wounded in his first campaign. He has had tropical diseases. There is no food or water in the hills except what you carry. He half-sleeps at night and gouges J--- out of holes all day. Two thirds of his company has been killed or wounded but he is still standing. So he will return to attack this morning. How much can a human being endure?" Copyrighted material

Currently, the first discovered memetic usage of The 2,000 Yard Stare was a re-edit that surfaced on Reddit in 2014. On October 11th, 2014, Redditor themagicpotato posted the Minor Mistake Marvin photo to /r/funny,[3] gaining roughly 34,700 upvotes in nine years. On the same day, Redditor[4] el_crunz commented, "Devastating … he's got the thousand yard stare," gaining roughly 2,100 upvotes. The comment then led to a since-deleted Redditor[5] commenting "The horror," and linking a Photoshop that edited Marvin into Lea's painting (shown below).


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Spread

Usage of The 2,000 Yard Stare persisted on Reddit's /r/photoshopbattles[6] going into 2014. In 2015, the painting started to surface on 4chan.[7] Despite early usage, the painting didn't become a notable meme until the early 2020s. For instance, on February 5th, 2021, a 4chan user on /a/[8] posted a re-edit showing Shiina Alisa from Kengan Ashura (shown below, left). On July 10th, 2021, a user on Wirechan's /lain/[9] board posted an iteration with Lain from Serial Experiments: Lain and Terry Davis (shown below, right).


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The image gained more viral and mainstream usage in late 2022 and early 2023. For instance, on November 28th, 2022, the Kanye West lyrics posted randomly Facebook[10] page posted the image with a caption reading, "When that one song you love more than yourself reaches tiktok," gaining roughly 18,000 reactions in six months (shown below, left). On Twitter, the image became a notable reaction image. For instance, on October 9th, 2023, Twitter[11] user @GalaxyPeaBrain posted about Kanye West's Anti-Semitism Controversies and used the image, gaining roughly 3,000 likes in seven months (shown below, right).


f when that one song you love more than yourself reaches BEBEL tiktok Isaac @GalaxyPeaBrain Ye fans seeing every tweet they have to defend tonight twitter.com/kanyewest/stat... :

The image's usage continued on Twitter[12][13][14] in early 2023.

Kurt Angle 1,000-Yard Stare

Kurt Angle 1,000-Yard Stare, also known as the Bald Guy Staring, Kurt Angle Staring or Kurt Angle Thousand-Yard Stare, refers to a video of professional wrestler Kurt Angle staring into the camera similar to the Thousand-Yard Stare meme. The meme trended on TikTok in late 2023, paired with distressing and creepy captions. Then, the video spread as a reaction image and GIF across websites like Twitter / X and Instagram, among others.



The Lorax 1,000 Yard Stare

The Lorax 1,000 Yard Stare, also written The Lorax Thousand Yard Stare, refers to a variation of the 1,000 Yard Stare meme that replaces the soldier with Dr. Suess' The Lorax. The original drawing or painting was created by artist Briman2000 in mid-2023 and posted to Instagram.



Various Examples


Me regaining consciousness after an hour because I accidentally clicked on an Instagram reel 7 with BRIMAN2000 wan wanan ANT mittler THNEED CO. 000 OC WWW. 4.4. parl "man I had no idea spines bent like that. lol. hot dogs for lunch?" my new hire: 13 burned out memes for ems teams ITE Fingernails: Toenails: ζˆ‘ ↑

Templates


ζˆ‘ ↑ # pan Let PELE LICE SEPT

Search Interest

External References

[1] Joy of Museums – 'The 2000 Yard Stare' by Thomas Lea

[2] Google Books – LIFE June 1994

[3] Reddit – /r/funny

[4] Reddit – el_crunz's comment

[5] Reddit – comment

[6] Reddit – /r/photoshopbattles

[7] 4chan – /vg/

[8] Desuarchive – /a/

[9] Wirechan – /lain/

[10] Facebook – Kanye West lyrics posted randomly

[11] Twitter – @GalaxyPeaBrain

[12] Twitter – @Boguswok

[13] Twitter – @tunesintern

[14] Twitter – @jqckin

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