Category ArchiveMemes

E-literature – A look at the Creepypasta

Following on from my previous post about Pepe the Frog, I had developed a fascination with user-generate content on the internet. I wished to discover more content created by web users and ,in conjunction with a recent lecture in college about e-literature, I decided to focus on user-created stories written online. E-literature is literature that stems directly from the digital medium. The biggest genre that came to mind was that of the “Creepy-pasta”.

A “Creepypasta” is an internet slang term used to describe a short, gothic, horror-esque story written by generally amateur writers on the internet. Many stories echo similar themes found in gothic writers such as Edgar Allen Poe. “Creepypasta” gets its name from another internet slang term: “copypasta” . These were copy and paste stories that individuals use  to post around the web, often as their own. The Creepypasta is closely tied in origin to memes, with some stories coming from popular meme caricatures. In addition, Creepypastas are often spread in a similar mannar.

One of the first Creepypastas I read was “The Smiling Man” , which was written four years ago. The story is told from the first person view of the storyteller, about a chance encounter they had one evening five years ago. While walking about the city late one evening the writer meets a strange man, who had a unnerving-cartoonish grin. The story was originally written by the Reddit user blue_tidal and was posted to that website. The story received a lot of attention from the internet, beginning with people doing “Spooky” readings of the piece and posting their reading online, eventually going as far as to inspire a group of people to make a short film entitled “2-Am” based on “The Smiling Man”. This Creepypasta managed to capture the imagination of an innumerable amount of people. The creepy, unnerving tone, alongside the possible ring of truth in the story(as purported by the creator) and the relatable scene enticed readers in the myth of “The Smiling Man”.

The Smiling Man from LetsNotMeet

When talking about Creepypasta’s, it is would be impossible to ignore the most famous Creepypasta of them all, “The Slender Man”. The fictitious being known only as The Slender Man is depicted as a thin, faceless and murderous individual dressed in a black suit and tie. His notoriety led to the creation of several video games, as well as a film and more. The are numerous stories and myths about the Slender Man, and each user gives their own spin on the character.

slender

Tragically this Creepypasta (and Creepypasta’s as a whole) made its explosion in fame due to a traumatic event. A young girl American had been viciously stabbed by her two friends in 2014. The girl survived the attack, but the two girls who attacked their friend claimed that their attack it was in the name of the “Slender Man”. The vagueness of Creepypasta verisimilitude can be seen as driving force behind this attack. Since then, the popularities of Creepypasta as a whole declined. It’s a clear example of the power of story telling, as well as the importance of ensuring that children see age appropriate content.

However, Creepypastas allow for diverse and rich storytelling which is unlike any other form of short story, due to their copy-right free nature. It is possible for anyone to write one or to take an already existing one and adapt it. It can be seen as a digital word of mouth camp fire story, which slight changes in each telling.

References:

1 www.reddit.com/r/LetsNotMeet/comments/rvzaq/the_smiling_man/

2 www.reddit.com/r/TheSmilingMan/comments/13szkh/i_wrote_the_original_story_the_smiling_man_just/

3 https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/27/slender-man-stabbing-wisconsin-girls-tried-as-adults-appeals-court

4 http://www.creepypasta.com/frequently-asked-questions/

5 https://www.google.ie/trends/explore?q=creepypasta

Pepe The Frog: Racist Or Comedian

On September 12 2016, one day after the 15 year anniversary of 9/11, the Clinton presidential campaign decided to strike back at those in the world who are intolerant. The moment of mourning had past. On hillaryclinton.com, an article was released. This brought the world’s attention to a horrendous symbol of hate that, unbeknownst to many, had been plaguing the internet for years. This symbol, which represents hate, supremacists, bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism, is known as Pepe. Pepe the Frog.

Who is Pepe? Well unlikely as it is that you are unfamiliar with this now infamous icon, given the current surge of media attention the Frog has been getting, I feel that it would be unprofessional to leave out Pepe’s origin story in this post.

In 2005, 25-year-old student and aspiring artist Matt Furie, created a web comic which he released via his MySpace Profile page. This series featured various anthropomorphic characters, none more famous however then Pepe the Frog. These comic were based on low-brow humour, with a satirical centre on life. When Furie created the character, he could never had anticipated what the internet had in store for his little green friend.

Image result for pepe memes feels badman

Feels Good ManUsers of websites such as 4chan, took an image of Pepe and a caption saying : Feels Good Man. Over the years variations of this image has occurred, most noticeably a sad Pepe with the caption Feels Badman.

Pepe became one of the largest Meme sensations, such as Wojack or the current Harambe memes. A meme is mostly a still image with a humourous caption. The caption is usually out of context with the original intent of the image and the caption be applied to numerous scenarios. Sites like dank memes often times Image result for pepe memesdictate the current trend of memes. Currently crusader memes are very popular. A popular trend of Meme’s are “racist memes”. In reality the majority of these memes are satirical and are not intended to offend. Well not to be hurtful anyways.Image result for crusader memesImage result for crusader memes

It is due to the fact that Pepe’s likeness has been reused in a multitude of different scenarios has led to some individuals believing that the poor frog is a criminal. A symbol of Nazism.

Pepe’s original meaning has been perverted, much like the Swastika before it. Or has it? The anti-defamation league of America certainly has. This is an organisation in America which aims to protect Jews from antisemitic comments. Pepe has been added to a list of hate symbols on their website. While the post admits that it is the context that Pepe is used in is what is racist rather than Pepe himself, the organisation decided to cast a large blanket over the situation and in a vast sweeping decision, any use of the Pepe the Frog meme is a form of hate. The post features images of an altered Pepe made to look like hitler, as well as racial stereotypes. However it is difficult to take the image of Hitler seriously and it is difficult to see how an individual could find this image Racist.

The YouTube channel ETC News goes into more detail about this.

ETC News also mentions a Twitter account which many articles claim is that of a leader of the Alt-Right movement. Jared Taylor Swift 🐸 (@JaredTSwift). In his bio, Swift describes himself as “Prominent white supremacist. Bad memes. Holocaust survivor”. Finally Swift also mentions that, and I quote “*PARODY ACCOUNT*”.

We need to make meme Pepe into a Nazi icon so that SJWs stop using him. This is our greatest task.

ducknaziOnce again this is a satirical post. The idea of a cartoon frog being a symbol of religious hate harkens back to the humourous cartoon of Donald Duck saying “Seig Heil”.

Is Donald Duck a racist? Should we ban Donald? No, this was a parodic cartoon. And in much the same way, most Pepe memes are as such.

Pepe the Frog is just a crudely drawn Microsoft Paint cartoon Image result for donald trump racist memecharacter. And that’s probably giving him too much credit. Pepe is not what people find offensive. Its memes. As I said earlier a meme has a caption. Most of the time it is the caption
which is racist

Other times a meme features an altered image of the original design.Image result for racist gandhi meme
Image result for pepe racist

With enough time and effort any symbol can be shaped into something different.
untitled

An image itself is not racist. It is like saying a gun is evil. It is just a thing. And it is what people do with it determined the character of the person rather than the object. Admittedly there are somethings such as a swastika which is a symbol of pure hate, a meme is not. A meme is a parody. It is not a serious statement. It is not a declaration of war. While it is unfair on those who are offended by such memes, the solution is not to say that Pepe is racist. There are many memes which  are inoffensive and  humorous . Out of all the memes out there, it seems strange that it is Pepe many are rallying behind.

Image result for pepe funny memeA lot of the humour behind the racist Pepe memes is based around the humour image of seeing the usually innocent Pepe in a Racist surrounding. He is not inherently racist, unlike say those crusader memes, which are mentioned above. Nor is he based on an antagonizing figure such as the Troll meme. He is a sad Frog who the world has turned against.Image result for pepe funny meme

 

 

Image result for pepe vs hillary

At the end of the day Pepe is a cartoon Frog. To suggest that he is a symbol of hate seems rather inane. Also given the importance of the position Ms Clinton is running for, it would appear to be a rather unimportant issue, given larger real world problems going on.

References:

Anti defamation League:

http://www.adl.org/combating-hate/hate-on-display/c/pepe-the-frog.html?referrer=https://www.google.ie/#.V_J_8PkrLIU

Who is Pepe

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/pepe-the-frog

http://knowyourmeme.com/blog/interviews/qa-with-matt-furie

Hillary Clinton Vs Pepe

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/feed/donald-trump-pepe-the-frog-and-white-supremacists-an-explainer/

ETC News

https://www.youtube.com/user/MachinimaETC

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