Category Archives: Cuture

Pure Memetics

What is a meme, but a dirty little pile of secrets? See there you go, that was a meme right there.  The above video you saw was none other than the “original” meme, All Your Base Are Belong to us.  It stemmed from a TERRIBLE Translation from a really old game called Zero Wing, someone on the internet found it and voila: a meme was born.

Now, seriously, what is a meme?  Philosopher/Scientist/Person Richard Dawkins was the first person ever to coin the term meme, really, in his book “The Selfish Gene.”  I would not recommend reading it.  It’s boring.  Unlike memes.  Anyway, he describes a meme as “conveying the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation.”  Wat?  Alright, basically it’s a seemingly useless phrase or series of phrases that, due to transmission from one person to another, has become recognized.

Now, Brian, why are you telling me-

Before you go any further allow me to object and explain why I’m even telling you about memes.  Because they’re on the internet.  And the internet is inherently geeky, it WAS invented by geeks.  The internet is SERIOUS BUSINESS. Ahem.  Okay, ill stop memeing for a moment.

Lets look at a rather recent meme, for example.  Rebecca Black’s God Awful/Awfully Wonderful song Friday.

A meme starts with one person finding something, like Friday.  Then he shares that video with someone else, or more likely a message-board like, 4chan.org (You’ll find that most memes have their roots in 4chan).  Soon, those people spread it to people they know, and suddenly 45,715,568 views.

That’s just the beginning of it.

With Friday it’s so broad you’ve got sub-memes.

Which seat can I take?  A meme.  Days of the week?  Now a meme.  Awkward Dancing Friend?

Well you get the point.

I find memes hilariously awesome myself.  I have had entire conversations with my friends composed solely of memes.

One of the most important part of a meme, and I say this cautiously, is that a meme is created almost always accidentally.  Almost, and I will get to that in a moment.  Rebecca Black didn’t go into the music studio and say “I will make this song a meme.”  No, someone stumbled upon it and it stuck.  And that’s how most memes start.

Oh, cats are also a meme.  Cats are cute.  Here are some cats for your viewing pleasure.

Now, when a meme is started by someone TRYING to create a meme, thats when you get whats called a forced meme.  What THIS boils down to is some guy on 4chan who posts something random OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN UNTIL IT BECOMES A MEME.

Case in Point. Millhouse.

Let me be clear. Millhouse is NOT a meme.  But (and this is where the forced meme comes from…and where it gets a wee bit Inception-y) Millhouse is NOT a meme…IS A MEME. Someone tried so hard to force Millhouse into the internet culture that people continually asserted that Millhouse was not a meme, and, lo and behold…A MEME IS BORN.

But, for the love of god, don’t force memes.  No one likes it when you force memes.

Now, you may be asking me, where do I find out about the wonderful little packages of internet goodness.

http://www.knowyourmeme.com is a great place to start.  You’ll find descriptions of a vast majority of the memes out there and their extended histories on there, and for the most part it’s safe for work and family so you can teach the younguns to set up us the bomb too.

Now lets delve into the seedier parts on the innanets.

http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com  This is a meme wiki…written in a terrible, terrible, sarcacstic and highly offensive manner.  So basically written by the people that start memes in the first place.  Let me reiterate: THIS SITE IS HIGHLY OFFENSIVE.  Now, if you can get past that, and you don’t mind a lot of political incorrectness, it’s kinda funny reading about these memes from the source in a kinda sick and twisted fashion.

Last, but certainly not least: the granddaddy of em all: http://www.4chan.org. This site will either be the MOST offensive site you go on, or rather mild.  You’ll notice that it is divided into imageboards.  It ranges from a board about Pokemon or Anime, to boards about Hardcore Porn.  I think you can use your discretion here a little bit but for the love of god, keep kids off it.  Often times, memes start here.  /vg/ starts quite a few of them, /tg/ has had some in the past, but more than anything is the ever-present “Internet Hate Machine”

/b/. Random. Known in some parts as the A**hole of the internet.  Both terrible and hilarious.  I can recommend this to no one. Yes it is the birthplace of many a meme, but it is a terrible awful place.  I’m not going to lie, for all it’s stigma, the other boards on 4chan (within reason) can actually be a nice community to share your interests and your thoughts anonymously. (/a/ for example has a bustling anime community) But /b/…just…try to stay away from there.

There ya go.  Memetics 101.

tl;dr: Memes start when people say stuff and it catches on.

Move Zig,

Brian Laurence Bishop

PS. PONIES

Recently reached memetic status on 4chan’s /co/ and /b/ boards.  Yes, it’s a show designed for little girls.  But you’ll find that the #1 audience is 18-24 YEAR OLD MALES.  Why.  Because it’s surprisingly funny and well written.  No, it’s not for everyone, and yes, half of you are gonna look at me like I’m crazy for posting it.  But, statistics don’t lie my friends.  Ponies are epic.

Arizona Matsuri: A Miniature Venture Into Japan

Japan and Geeks have a very close relationship.  I mean, after all, this country is the birthplace of Nintendo, Anime, Sony, and crazy things like this

I, for one, have always been enchanted by Japanese culture.  From an early age I have been watching Anime, reading Manga (essentially anime in comic book form) and the Japanese culture in general, be it shrines, or technology.

So when the winds told me of a Japanese Festival in Phoenix, of course I planned on going!  this blog post will take a slightly different turn of events from the norm, I’ll be talking about my findings at Arizona Matsuri.

The first thing I noticed at this festival was the abundance of cosplayers (myself included).  Cosplaying originated in Japan as an art of costume making.  People, especially at anime conventions would make costumes and dress up as their favorite characters from anime.  This, for example is me cosplaying Maes Hughes from the anime Fullmetal Alchemist.

Cosplayers take characters from their favorite video games, manga, anime and basically any other form of media imaginable and make/purchase costumes to wear at cons, or basically any other event that it would be (relatively) socially acceptable.

At this event, for example, cosplayers from around phoenix gathered together to enter the Cosplay competitions around Matsuri.

Also ever present at the Japanese festival to a geek like me was the abundance of booths selling random anime related crap.  When you go to an anime con, there is always something called a “dealers hall.”  the entire point of the dealers hall is to sell unsuspecting geeks like me useless anime related crap like figurines, anime dvds and manga.  For example, I took 40 dollars ot for the festival to buy food and I ended up spending 5 bucks on some udon noodles and blowing the rest on a figurine, 2 issues of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, a FMA Pocket Watch and a phone charm.  A wise man (my best friend MAtt Lew) once told me that to be an anime geek was to live a life of poverty and hunger, as it always came down to buying anime over food.  I definately know where he was coming from .

My favorite apart of the festival, though (aside from my own cosplaying adventures) was the band that played: Kitsune Robot.  Kitsune Robot is a band based out of phoenix that specializes in playing anime opening and closing covers.  And they are damn good (FYI, their facebook fanpage is hyaah http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kitsune-Robot/315247194160)

This Is some video of them doing one of my personal favorite anime, Fullmetal Alchemist from Matsuri last year.

And this was them this year, in top form, I might add!  They played themes from Anime such as 00 Gundam, Darker than Black, Naruto, and the Pokemon Theme song!

Now, aside from the geekly things to be seen, there is a lot to be said for the actual cultural aspect of the festival.  Japan is a country that is rich in it’s cultrual history, from it’s arts, to its martial arts, to badass samurai.

This was from a demonstration of the martial arts that samurai used in actual combat.  This demonstration, as can be seen, involved the actual use of authentic Samurai armor.  Only one word can describe it. Sugoi.  I mean come on, it was samurai attacking each other with katanas and other samurai-ly weapons.  There was a lot of things elsewhere to see too, for example the Japanese art of Bonsai.  Bonsai is amazing when you think about it, just look at this tree.

This tree is 150 years old.  Yeah.  bonsai is done by taking a regular growing, full-size tree and cutting the supporting root off on a regular basis so it cannot grow up, but it can grow to be a miniature version of a full size tree.  Only Japan could come up with something that awesome.  Also present was the musical aspect of Japan.  In one corner of the festival was the Taiko drummers.  If you found yourself in Taylor Place dorms and you heard an incessant banging, that was the Taiko.  It’s a very simple-to-learn but complex-to-master form of music.

It consits of teams of 4-100 people using a vast variety of drums, to make a vast variety of sounds in unison, its a very unique kind of music, and incredibly interesting to watch on many levels.

Overall, the festival was a pleasure to attend.  I went last year too, and it was just as amazing.  More than likely, the festival will remain into next year, so I would highly recommend anyone who finds themselves in the phoenix area to come and check it out.  At the very least, you can come admire the cosplayers.

Oyasuminasai!

Brian Laurence Bishop

PS.  Here some fun videos that are Japan Related that I have come across.

Yeah,  they have anime characters doing live concerts now.  What do we have?  Ke$ha?

Also, this, a favorite dance to do of cosplayers everywhere. Caramelldansen.