MEMEopedia: Aki Higashihara, the alleged 'Death Blogger'
March 26th, 2012
06:49 PM ET

MEMEopedia: Aki Higashihara, the alleged 'Death Blogger'

Editor's note: Know Your Meme is a research lab from the Cheezburger Network that documents the history of Internet memes and culture. Occasionally, they invite CNN's Geek Out! to go on a very deep dive with them, into the stories behind the memes they profile. Together, we'll learn how memes become the cultural expression of nerds.

At a first glance, Aki Higashihara may seem like just another pin-up idol in Japan's burgeoning gravure magazine industry (somewhat equivalent to bikini swimsuit models in American magazines).

But if you look up her name on the Internet, you'll soon find an impressive track record of misfortunes that has made her infamous in her own right. From the disastrous reception of Sega’s Dreamcast to the Japanese Judo team's all-time low results in Beijing Olympics, the name "Aki Higashihara" has gained quite a reputation for bringing bad luck to anything she publicly endorses on her blog. (Which, as of publish time, looked like it was down for maintenance.)

Thanks to the comparably doom-centric story line of a popular manga called "Death Note," Higashihara's blog  inevitably became known as the “Death Blog," - and she became the topic of a meme. FULL POST

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MEMEopedia: 'Dinner with waifu'
A little wine with waifu.
February 13th, 2012
04:54 PM ET

MEMEopedia: 'Dinner with waifu'

Editor's note: Know Your Meme is a research lab from the Cheezburger Network that documents the history of Internet memes and culture. Once a week, they invite CNN's Geek Out! to go on a very deep dive with them, into the stories behind the memes they profile. Together, we'll learn how memes become the cultural expression of nerds.

“Dinner with waifu” is a biannual event that takes place on the Japanese textboard site 2channel on Christmas Day and Valentine’s Day, during which self-described otakus share their pictures of romantic dinner dates with favorite anime characters.

Endearingly referred to as a “wife” (more commonly referred to as a "waifu" on the English Web), these dinner dates are typically embodied in the form of two-dimensional computer screen savers and figurines that are carefully staged around a plate of food.

To otaku culture outsiders, this may seem like a sad dinner for a creep. But for many patrons of 2channel who participate in the threads, it's a ritual that brings the lulz and even a sense of relief that comes with knowing that no one is alone in being alone. FULL POST

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MEMEopedia: Supercuts
Know Your Meme's Internet scientist Forest gets ready to deconstruct a meme.
February 3rd, 2012
06:00 PM ET

MEMEopedia: Supercuts

Editor's note: Know Your Meme is a research lab from the Cheezburger Network that documents the history of Internet memes and culture. Once a week they invite CNN's Geek Out! to go on a very deep dive with them, into the stories behind the memes they profile. Together we'll learn how memes become the cultural expression of nerds.

Supercut is a fast-paced video montage centered around a specific element commonly found in films or TV shows. An emerging subgenre within the digital remix culture, the hypnotic repetition of a single-focused imagery or a cliché expression has become a popular aesthetic among mashup artists on YouTube. For a brief introduction, please read our entry or watch our episode starring Internet scientist Forest.

The early history of Supercuts

Although the term was coined in 2008 by blogger Andy Baio (who thoroughly documented the "Star Wars" Kid meme in 2004), Supercut aesthetics isn’t entirely a brand new concept, as film critic Tom McCormack points out in his documentation of proto-Supercuts in the world of art cinema. Some of the earliest works have been attributed to experimental video artist Bruce Conner’s found-footage film "A Movie" (1958) and Dara Birnbaum’s "Wonder Woman" (1978), while Hollywood employed similar techniques for various training sequences in martial arts films and sports dramas like "Rocky" (1976). But the quintessential formula of stitching repetitive, fast cuts didn’t arrive until the turn of the century with experimental shorts like Christian Marclay’s "Telephones" (1995), Jennifer & Kevin McCoy’s "Every Anvil" (2001) and Chuck Jones’ "Buffies" (2002).

From art cinema to pop culture fandom

This all changed in the late 2000s with the advents of YouTube, BitTorrent and affordable editing software, providing the viewers with resources to map out a tried-and-true cliché throughout the history of modern cinema. In addition, contextual resources and reference sites like Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDB) and TV Tropes also fueled the creativity behind the rise of Supercuts.

Most early examples found on YouTube were centered around pop culture fandoms, like the montage of David Carusoe’s cheesy one-liners in "CSI: Miami" (2006) or a back-to-back reel of couples’ kiss scenes (2007). The original example of Supercut put forth by Andy Baio himself was also a fan-made montage of every “what?” said in the TV series "LOST" (2008).

From 2008 to 2011, hundreds of Supercuts were uploaded by various users on YouTube, opening up a new era of multimedia discourse in film criticism. There are genre-specific ones ("mirror scenes" in thrillers, “turn in your badge and gun” in police dramas, “no signal” dillema in horrors), actor-specfic (Brad Pitt eating things in movies, Shia Labeouf’s frantic “no no no”) and even director-specific Supercuts (Michael Bay’s epic spinning shots or Steven Spielberg’s signature face). FULL POST

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Filed under: Brainiac