Ten Unforgettable Web Memes

Cats and failures highlight this list of the memes that have gone mainstream. Which ones did we miss?

Chuck Norris became an Internet sensation when late night host Conan O'Brien featured clips from "Walker, Texas Ranger" on his show. (© Cannon / courtesy Everett Collection)

FAIL (2003)

When you screw up on the Internet, there’s nothing quite like the entire world mocking you for it. As with many other memes, “fail”, or the recent derivative “#fail” designating its popularity on Twitter, comes from a poor translation of a Japanese video game. In this case, the 1998 Neo Geo video game Blazing Star read “YOU FAIL IT” when the game was over. From there, the meme took off as a Photoshop activity with enthusiasts pasting the word over any example of someone, anyone, doing something incorrectly. (Also see: UR DOING IT WRONG). For an instance where the mishaps have reached severe circumstances, there is the “epic fail.” The ubiquitous use of “fail” as a noun or one-word declarative statement is yet more proof that the Internet is the perfect home for schadenfreude, having enjoyment out of other people’s misfortune. -- BW

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