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)

Three Wolf Moon (2008)

Three Wolf Moon T Shirt
On November 10, 2008, Rutgers University law student Brian Govern was searching Amazon.com for a book he needed for class, when the site suggested he might also like a Three Wolf Moon T-shirt. Feeling snarky, he posted a review: “This item has wolves on it which makes it intrinsically sweet and worth 5 starts by itself, but once I tried it on, that’s when the magic happened.” He spun a tale about how the shirt had an uncanny ability to attract women. Once Collegehumor.com and the content-sharing site Digg picked up the review six months later, it spawned commentary so creative (example: “You don’t put this shirt on your torso, you put it on your soul”) that the New York Times called it “a new shared literary art form.” Govern’s review inspired video parodies, one by a Brooklyn comedy troupe that sung the Amazon.com comments to the tune of “Colors of the Wind,” the theme song of Disney’s Pocahontas, and another that bills “Three Wolf Moon” as the next movie in the Twilight series. Dwight Schrute of the show “The Office” wore it in an episode, and, thanks to the wonders of Photoshop, so did Barack Obama and Steve Jobs. Let us not forget the satire’s “magical” selling power too. In May 2009, the shirt’s New Hampshire-based manufacturer, the Mountain, was selling more than 100 of the shirts an hour, up from a previous two to three a day, making it the number one seller on Amazon.com’s clothing section. It continues to rank in the top 100. -- MG

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