FIRST PERSON: Memes and Trends, the Post-Post Modern Folktales

The internet comes at you fast take a journey with Mitch and learn why he thinks memes and folklore have more in common than you think.
Sep 29, 2018
First Person is a new series focusing on our personal experiences and thoughts on video games.

I've always found internet trends fascinating. From Gangnam style to the Harlem Shake, and from planking to that strange business with the ponies from 2010.

I can't get enough of how people latch onto ideas on the internet and the way they take the source material and morph it into their own organic entity.

If you’ve been anywhere on the internet in the last week, you’re sure to have seen the latest “meme”:Bowsette.

It all started with a fan comic depicting what would happen if a certain koopa was transformed into a busty, bodacious, princess-y version of his former self using an item that transforms Toadette into Peachette in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.

The artistic communities of Twitter, DeviantArt and Pixiv are absolutely transfixed by the fan design and it has been emulated across the board by artists of all platforms.

Similarly to myths and urban legends, where it is spread from person to person with slight variations as time goes by, internet trends work the same way.

Each contributor adds their own flavour to the tale either by mixing it up or tearing it down to fit their personal desires, the only difference being the speed of which technology allows for such remixing. Usually very rapidly and at lightning fast pace.

The sense of obligation to get in on the joke before it dies is something even I feel now as I write this. Which leads us to our current situation: Bowsette has taken over our social media feeds - and I want in on this train.

Though, with an explosive rise also comes a rapid fall. Just like all popular ideas on the net, audiences tend to get bored with it once the market becomes super-saturated with its content.

It seems that the velocity at which a meme picks up can also be matched by the velocity at which it slows down.

The quicker something rises, the quicker something will be to replace it once we get bored.

There are usually a number of reasons for this - some may take the joke a bit too far, others might use it in a way the tone of the original meme did not intend, potentially ruining it for everyone else.

We see this all the time, notably for example, how the Kony 2012 movement devolved into a shambles almost overnight when the leaders of the moment got enthralled in a controversy of their own.

But more often than not, it is due to the approach of a new challenger. Last I heard Booette might be a thing now which is nice, but I’m still mad the Bongo Cat didn’t really get its time to shine…