Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Internet memes

CHANNEL SURFING - Althea Lauren Ricardo -

CEBU, Philippines - I used to think it was pronounced "me-me," because my first concept of an Internet meme consisted of those long-ass questionnaires that were digital versions of autograph book questions my grade school classmates and I delighted in in the, er, late 1980s. Every so often, I'd post one of these questionnaires in my blog, answering the questions as detailed as possible, delighting in the small opportunity to bask in my own spotlight. It was time for me and only me! Yes, mainly because it's on MY blog.

I've since found out, of course, that it's pronounced "meem," and it refers to anything, whether an idea, a way of writing or an image, that spreads throughout the Internet. If you've seen people writing "kthnxbai" on their tweets, that's an Internet meme. If you've seen people creating their own funny Twitter hashtags, like #anglabo, that's an Internet meme. My favorite memes, though, are those images shared in Facebook and Tumblr.

Two of the earliest Internet memes I can remember are Bert (as in Bert from Sesame Street) is Evil and The Dancing Baby. If you're too young to remember them, look them up.

One of my favorites is the Sad Keanu meme. A photographer had taken pictures of Keanu Reeves while eating a sandwich in between movie takes, and he looked pretty sad in all the shots. The photos started circulating in forums and social networking sites, and soon, versions of it started appearing. There's the same Sad Keanu eating the bird in the picture instead. There's Sad Keanu a Matrix grab. There's Sad Keanu in outerspace. And there's Sad Keanu with Forrest Gump.

Another one of my favorite memes is the "All the Single Ladies" meme, which had everyone, from celebrities to, um, for lack of a better word, weirdos, creating their own parodies and remixes. Google "Beyonce Clown" to know the reason behind my word choice.

Then there's the Epic Fail blog, which shows photos of, well, funny failures. Like the words "Choose life!" with a baby picture on wire hanger packaging. Or accidental shadows of male sex organs cast by a bridge design fail on a particular hour of the day.

Another favorite of mine is the Chuck Norris meme, which had people posting exaggerated statements about Chuck Norris. Like: Chuck Norris makes onions cry.

One of the best memes is the Lolcats, an Internet phenomenon showcasing the cutest cats evarrr, making us beg for moar moar moar! The images are enough to turn any dog person (ahem!) into a cat one!

And up to know, I still check out Engrish Funny, which shows English grammar fails in signs, packaging and the like all over the world. Especially in Asia.

My all-time favorite, though, is the Old Spice Guy. Yes, it's Old Spice marketing, but wow. Isaiah Mustafa went crazy viral, obliterating even Chuck Norris. I don't know if it translated into sales for Old Spice, though. But ask me if I care! Lolz.

Internet memes are on my mind because a hilarious one that's causing a lot of government people a lot of embarrassment is currently circulating in my social networks. From what I gather, a photographer or the admin of the Department of Public Works and Highways Facebook account posted an allegedly Photoshopped picture of the DPWH's top honchos at the collapsed sea wall of Roxas Boulevard.

One guy noticed it, blogged about it, and voila! An Internet meme is born. There are photos of these three men in Winterfell, with Voldemort, on the rooftop with Cristine Reyes during the height of Ondoy, in the ring with Manny Pacquiao, onstage with The Eraserheads at the reunion concert, with Hayden Kho and Katrina Halili while the two perform "Careless Whisper" to a mirror, among the zombies in a grab from The Walking Dead...

Oh, for now the possibilities for this meme are as endless as the laughs I get over how much it has evolved. But it's not about the DPWH anymore, really. Actually, as with most memes, I don't know what it is about anymore. All I know is that it's really, really, really funny.

Email your comments to alricardo@yahoo.com. You can also visit my personal blog at http://althearicardo.blogspot.com. You can text your comments again to (63)917-9164421.

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