SUNDAY JUNE 25, 2017
 
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6 MEME AFTERLIVES
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Memes are pervasive, but very temporary. After the hottest new internet video clears the talk show circuit, gets its requisite Saturday Night Live spoof and receives an awkward reference from a politician desperately trying to appear relevant, there isn’t a whole lot more recognition to be soaked up.

But it turns out the people who make those videos don’t just vanish after everyone stops caring. So behold, some brief “Where are they now?” notices for meme-makers of yore.

6. PSY, “Gangnam Style” (2012)

Meme: A pudgy, 35-year-old Asian pop singer became the international musical phenom of the month with a video that seemed like a Weird Al-style parody of something no one outside South Korea understood.

Afterlife: At last check PSY was preparing to release PSY 6 Part 2, his second EP in a year. You can check out his latest video, a surreal approximation of the “Harlem Shake” that involves a lot of strained kicking, below. Be on the lookout for PSY’s next single when it is released on April 13, just in time to capitalize on all his success.  





5. “Harlem Shake” (2013)

Meme: An Australian comedy troupe called The Sunny Coast Skate uploaded a video of interpretive dance set to a bass-heavy house track by Baauer called “Harlem Shake.” Baauer is not from Harlem (West Philadelphia, born and raised) and Harlem citizens took umbrage with his appropriation of their blessed herky-jerky dance move.

Afterlife: Baauer is currently being sued by reggaeton artist Héctor Delgado, whose voice is sampled in the song. As for the phenomenon itself, you can watch it die a short death at the hands of people who have no idea what they’re doing:  





4. Antoine Dodson, “Bed Intruder Song” (2010)

Meme: After foiling a would-be rapist, the Dodson siblings were interviewed by a local news station. Older brother Antoine flamboyantly threatened and insulted the intruder. Later his monologue was auto-tuned and remixed by the also long-forgotten YouTube team The Gregory Brothers.

Afterlife: The “Bed Intruder Song” was enough of a commercial hit to pull the Dodson family out of the hood. Dodson’s music career has failed to evolve from there. Enjoy his comparatively downbeat 2012 single “Lovesick Lullaby”:  



3. “Grumpy Cat” (2012)

Meme: A picture of a cat named Tardar Sauce with a permanent frown (apparently the result of feline dwarfism) was uploaded to reddit. Since the internet is fueled by both seething rage and a love of everything cute and cuddly, Tardar Sauce became an online celeb overnight. She’s gone from being a meme, to a tattoo, missile and a feline avatar of Tommy Lee Jones.

Afterlife: Tardar Sauce just got back from SXSW 2013, and agreed that it’s become way too damn corporate. She will co-star with fellow internet cat celebrity Lil’ Bub in the documentary Lil’ Bub & Friendz, premiering at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

2. “Double Rainbow Guy” (2010)

Meme: A man was overcome with emotion after witnessing the phenomenon of a “double rainbow” outside his house; he posted his reaction on YouTube for all the world to see. That man was former MMA fighter Paul “Bear” Vasquez.

Afterlife: In case you mistook Vasquez for a soft-hearted pushover, the last entry on his website, dated December 2012, was a profane diatribe against hurtful YouTube commenters who like to shit on things: “Anybody who wants to shit on my floor gets rejected before they can come in. When somebody asks to be my friend on YouTube I go look at their channel and see if they are somebody who likes to leave piles of shit where ever they go ... Sometimes the piles of shit are so bad that I block them from even getting close to my home or front yard, they are only allowed to see my house from the street ... it's amazing how so many people think it's acceptable to go around shitting where ever they want to.”



1. “Overly Attached Girlfriend” (2012)

Meme: A joking response to a call from Justin Bieber for a video reply to his song “Girlfriend” took on a life of its own; a still of its maker Laina Morris staring wide-eyed at the camera was dubbed the “Overly attached girlfriend” meme and passed around with various related phrases superimposed.

Afterlife: Morris has worked on furthering her career as a comedy star, appearing in skits, commercials and music video parodies. This past month, she reprised her character for a skit on Jimmy Fallon, hopefully for the last damn time. 



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