Cats and failures highlight this list of the memes that have gone mainstream. Which ones did we miss?
All the hallmarks of a bad-1980s music video are there: Big hair, synthesized chords, bad dancing and desolate urban settings. But even then, no one really knows for sure why the Rick Astley video for “Never Gonna Give You Up” became such an internet sensation. To “rickroll,” is to send someone a link under the auspices that it is something more interesting, only to fool them into watching the music video. The genesis for the prank came from 4chan, where “duck rolling” was the term meant teasing a provocative headline with an image of a duck on wheels. From there, it evolved to a fake Grand Theft Auto IV trailer that linked to the Astley video. The meme could have “jumped the shark” when Astley was given a spot in 2008’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, perhaps the antithesis of sites like 4chan, but the trick still has its moments. When the cache of Wikileaks documents was dumped in late 2010, a spoof of the official documents appeared with the lyrics to “Never Gonna Give You Up.” -- BW
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions [Randall Munroe] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic.
Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection [Smithsonian Institution, Neil Kagan, Hugh Talman, Michelle Delaney, Jon Meacham] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Smithsonian Civil War is a lavishly illustrated coffee-table book featuring 150 entries in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.