​"Space Sushi" Is The New Meme You Never Realized You Were Waiting For

Just when we thought that the raw-fish photoshop genre had peaked with Sushi Cats, our faith in human creativity is restored with Space Sushi — a growing collection of online images that envision a cosmos where California rolls swarm across galaxies and yellowfin tuna orbits distant stars. » 10/29/14 7:40am 10/29/14 7:40am

Chinese Monster Hoax Wasn't Really Gollum, But a Video Game Ad

Earlier this week, a Chinese man was camping with friends in the Huairou region when he seems to have spotted a monster-like creature that somewhat resembled Gollum from Lord of the Rings. The man said he was "terrified." He snapped photos and uploaded them online. They spread like wildfire. » 6/27/14 9:31am 6/27/14 9:31am

Viral Journalism and the Valley of Ambiguity

Once you've worked as a writer and editor in the world of social media for a decade, the way I have, you start to notice patterns. For example, there are some stories that will never go viral, even if they are brilliant in every measurable way. That's because they lie in the "valley of ambiguity," which is sort of… » 11/13/13 2:43pm 11/13/13 2:43pm

Texts from William Blake is our new favorite thing

William Blake was regarded as insane by his contemporaries, due in no small part to the same "cryptic flights of poetic fire" and "marvellous, ineffable pictures" that would later see him labeled a genius. But brilliant though he was*, it's hard to read "Texts from William Blake" and not sympathize with those… » 10/23/13 1:20pm 10/23/13 1:20pm

The "grumpy cat" movie is a harbinger of the apocalypse

The grumpy cat meme is getting a movie. Producers say it will be "Garfield-like." This horrific news should surprise nobody who follows Hollywood dealmaking. What might surprise you is how much this scenario resembles a dystopian scifi story called "The Waldo Moment," about how memes give rise to global fascism. » 6/05/13 3:35pm 6/05/13 3:35pm

The man who created internet memes — before the internet

This video, known only as "The Reagans Speak Out on Drugs," was released on VHS in 1988. It's an almost seamless re-edit of the the famous "Just Say No" speech given by the Reagans in September of 1986 — except in this version, the President and the First Lady are doing their best to get us all hooked on drugs. The… » 3/04/13 8:13pm 3/04/13 8:13pm

We will not change the world with memes alone

Internet political scientist Evgeny Morozov has written a powerful essay in the New Republic about problems with the popular idea that the internet is an inherently democratizing force. The occasion for his ire is Steven Johnson's new book, Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age. Morozov upbraids… » 2/05/13 10:20am 2/05/13 10:20am

Thousands of Australian students are taught that robots led the Russian Revolution

When Australian students took their year 12 history exams this week, they discovered that the Russian Revolution included giant robots. The VCE exam, taken by nearly 6,000 students, had a section devoted to a famous painting by Nikolai Kochergin of the storming of the Winter Palace by revolutionaries in 1917.… » 11/14/12 8:28am 11/14/12 8:28am

This freaky vampire pig is credited as the first meme of the 20th Century

This 1907 film, Le Cochon Danseur (The Dancing Pig), features one of the most nightmarish anthropomorphic moments ever committed to film. At the end of the short film, the floor-pounding pig lips his lips to reveal a set of fangs worthy of a midnight movie monster. Lucky us, that early 20th century moment has lived… » 11/03/12 3:00pm 11/03/12 3:00pm