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Week 12: Humor, Internet Memes, and an Equally Hilarious Peer Critique Session

I hope our analysis of several educational/instructional comics has helped you think about your Unit #3 projects, and I hope you’ve been making good progress on your comics. At this point, you should have a solid idea of (1) what you want to teach or explain in your comic, and (2) how you plan to use the genre conventions of comics to accomplish that goal. This weekend is the time to finalize the written script for your comic and collect pictures, take screenshots, generate cartoon characters, etc., to illustrate your comic. (Don’t forget about the long list of helpful websites on the Resources page!) If you have questions about your comic or need help refining your ideas, please come see me during my office hours next week (M 8–11, T 1–4).

Here’s how we’ll spend our time next week:

  • On Monday, your Teaming Inventory results for Unit #4 are due at the beginning of class. (I will use these to form teams that I will announce on Wednesday, so this is your one shot to influence your team assignment.) In addition, please read two short articles in the Social Media Reader: “Phreaks, Hackers, and Trolls,” by E. Gabriella Coleman (pp. 99–119), and “The Language of Internet Memes,” by Patrick Davidson (pp. 120–34). When you’re done, add a comment to this post that links to your favorite internet meme. If you aren’t familiar with memes, you might want to start looking at Know Your Meme, MemeCenter, or Greg Rutter’s “Definitive List of the 99 Things You Should Have Already Experienced on the Internet Unless You’re a Loser or Old or Something.” Oh, and just in case this wasn’t obvious: out of respect for your classmates, please keep it clean.
  • On Wednesday, we will conduct a peer critique session for Unit #3. Please come to class with a complete draft (i.e., 3–4 pages, all panels filled) of your instructional comic in PDF format. When our peer critique session is done, I will introduce Unit #4 and give you a few minutes to brainstorm ideas for that project with your new teammates.

If you have any questions about these plans, just let me know. Otherwise, I’ll look forward to a lively discussion in class on Monday!

Posted in Weekly Updates
38 comments on “Week 12: Humor, Internet Memes, and an Equally Hilarious Peer Critique Session
  1. Jonathan Roberts says:

    Favorite meme ever: http://fyeahenglishmajorarmadillo.tumblr.com/ <– English Major Armadillo! It was really hard to choose. Hopefully this is safe for class… but this is the definitive collection of the best EMA images. 'fyeah' is just how Tumblr does things.

  2. Eli says:

    My favorite meme is http://www.youshouldhaveseenthis.com/ because it has a few YouTube videos I have seen, and a link to http://www.homestarrunner.com/, which I was introduced to 7.5 years ago and have revered ever since. I can’t wait to see what else is on this list!

  3. Augusta says:

    I don’t look at a whole lot of memes, but I think this one has to be one of my favorites: http://cheezburger.com/6730604544

  4. George says:

    I’m not a huge meme person either like Augusta, but when classes were cancelled and then uncancelled last week, my Facebook news feed got flooded with memes, and this one has to be my favorite: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151177249274209&set=a.124914644208.97677.583484208&type=1&theater.

  5. Astleigh says:

    I’m with George and Augusta, I am not big into memes. Only when I am browsing Pinterest or Facebook and see something is when i become aware of them. So one site that make memes about Virginia Tech student life (and is on Facebook often) is HokieHighs at http://hokiehighs.tumblr.com/archive

    *Some content can be questionable for class, but most all of it is fine.

  6. Johva says:

    It’s a tie between “It’s over 9000!!!!!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiMHTK15Pik and “Leeeeeeerrrooooooy Jeeeeenkins!!!!”

  7. Molly says:

    I also don’t typically go on the internet to look at memes but friends will send them to me and If I see one that’s funny I’ll send it back but I don’t have a favorite. Typically just about anyone can find a meme that they can relate to in one way or another on this site – http://whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com/archive

  8. Ashley Seager says:

    When I log on to FB and see a funny meme in my news feed it brightens my day.

    “While genes rely on the physical process of reproduction to replicate, memes rely on the mental processes of observation and learning” (121).

    This meme cracks me up because I made my little sister think she was adopted when we were little. For real though, she don’t look anything like my mom or my dad. JK

  9. Marcus says:

    First world problems. Because people love complaining about how rich they are.


  10. Sarah says:

    I’m definitely a sucker for memes especially when I go onto Pinterest. My sister and I are huge animal lovers, so we tend to send them back-and-forth via email.

    1. http://theberry.com/2012/05/25/take-a-berry-break-40-photos-170/berry-break-27-8-12/

    2. http://pinterest.com/pin/169236898468632678/

    3. http://pinterest.com/pin/169236898468554723/

  11. Brooks says:

    This one has been around for awhile but it still makes laugh whenever it gets used in tandem with a good set up picture (Like the ketchup ripping one in the examples at the bottom)


  12. Eric Avissar says:

    I’m a big fan of the Bad Luck Brian Memes, and I laughed pretty hard at this one…


  13. Erin says:

    Here’s one that usually makes me laugh..

    also I’m a fan of Bill O’Reilly “We’ll do it live” but that contains some dicey language I wasn’t sure was appropriate for class.

  14. Dylan Amick says:

    I am not a huge meme person either like a lot of people are saying; but the first time I saw this one I thought it was hilarious:

    There is a corresponding Twitter account and Facebook page that furthers the joke, and while it has a lot of bad examples-when its good, its really good.

  15. Katie Winand says:

    Hands down my favorite place to find memes would have to be LOL Cats, and I don’t really have a favorite per say, but here is a link to one of the funniest ones I like:

  16. Liana says:

    My boyfriend and I were having a kind of spirited discussion/argument about this last night. He holds that there’s a big difference between something that’s just funny on the internet like an image macro, and something that’s actually a meme, since the traditional definition of a meme is something that changes as it’s duplicated (p. 122 at the top addresses this).

    So while one of my favorite popular image macro series, commonly called a meme, is Successful Black Man (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/successful-black-man), I don’t think it would be quite accurate to call an image like this http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/35ht5j/ a meme alone. However, if you look at the fact that Successful Black Man uses the similar convention of many different image macros with a face on a background of multi-colored triangular sections of a square, as well as the fact that it actually spawned two direct spin-offs, Ordinary Muslim Man and Successful White Man, it can be seen as a part of the greater meme of image macros.

    So, I find it really important to remember in our discussion that a meme is not every weird picture with a funny (or semi-funny) statement on it using the font impact that you can find on the internet. It’s important to think about the origin and malleability of that image to determine if it’s truly a meme or if it’s simply a funny thing on the internet.

  17. Alex says:

    My roommate and I sometimes try and talk like Yoda in casual conversation, so when we saw this we died laughing.


  18. Victoria Zigadlo says:


    Guys, this is actually the best meme ever. One of the few I’ve found that I think is both snarky and non-offensive/abrasive.

  19. Liana says:

    Oh my god, studying the internet in class.

  20. Eric Avissar says:

    Overly Attached Girlfriend http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3rqxkd/

  21. ashley says:

    Not a good one but here ya go:

  22. Brooks says:

    Thought this might be on everyone’s mind…


Where am I?
This is the class website for English 3984: Writing and Digital Media, taught by Quinn Warnick at Virginia Tech in fall 2012.
Worthwhile Reading
The links below are the most recent additions to my collection of bookmarks that are relevant to this course. You can find a complete list of ENGL 3984 bookmarks on Pinboard.

  • Buffy vs Edward Remix Unfairly Removed by Lionsgate
    A long, carefully documented saga about fair use. Great case study.
  • The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook Privacy
    Nice guide from Lifehacker: "First, we'll walk through the basic privacy settings that determine what you share, then look at a few lesser-known settings you'll want to tweak, and finish with a few third-party tools that will help keep your Facebook information private."
  • The enduring mystery of Roberto Clemente's bat
    Great writing by Kevin Guilfoile, but also a beautiful example of multimedia storytelling.
  • tapestry: a new way to write
    John Borthwick explains what tapestry is and collects some examples of great tap essays: "When we started developing tapestry it struck us that there weren’t many native reading experiences on the iPhone or iPad. Our goal is to build such a tool. A space to slow things down and let you create or experience, short, tappable stories in a simple, clean, distraction free reading environment."
  • All You Need Is (Facebook) Love: ‘Compliments’ Accounts Go Viral at Colleges and Universities
    Time magazine reports on an encouraging trend: college students setting up Facebook pages to collect compliments for/from their fellow students.
  • Demand a Plan
    Online effort to improve gun control, started in response to the Newtown school shooting.
  • Causes.com
    "Causes is a free online platform that provides easy-to-use tools for driving change. We help passionate people share ideas, find supporters, raise money, and make an impact."
  • What Ancient Greek Rhetoric Might Teach Us About New Civics
    Ethan Zuckerman: "If we want to prepare people to be effective citizens, we need to think about teaching this new civics as well as older forms of civic participation. Citizens need to do more than watch or read about the issues and then vote. They need to know how to report, to advocate, to coordinate, to propose and test solutions."
  • SPOT Survey - Fall 2012
    Students: If you haven't completed the SPOT evaluation for this course, please do so during class on Wednesday. I take this feedback very seriously, and I use it to revise my classes each semester, so please be specific about the aspects of the course (and my teaching) that you found successful and unsuccessful.
  • Popcorn Maker
    New web-based app from Mozilla: "Popcorn Maker makes it easy to enhance, remix and share web video. Use your web browser to combine video and audio with content from the rest of the web — from text, links and maps to pictures and live feeds."
  • The People's Bailout
    David Rees explains how the Rolling Jubilee works: "OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT. (If you’re a debt broker, once you own someone’s debt you can do whatever you want with it — traditionally, you hound debtors to their grave trying to collect. We’re playing a different game. A MORE AWESOME GAME.)"
  • Understanding Digital Civics
    Ethan Zuckerman: "I’m beginning to think that certain types of civic participation are simply organic to the internet. Once we have the ability to create and share our own information, we create and spread media to promote the causes we care about and raise money to support the causes we value."
  • Google Docs Stories Builder
    Fun little tool to create text-based stories in which various characters interact within a Google Doc. (Sound confusing? Yeah, you kind of have to see it in action.)
  • Twitter Is A Truth Machine
    John Herrman: "Twitter is a fact-processing machine on a grand scale, propagating then destroying rumors at a neck-snapping pace. To dwell on the obnoxiousness of the noise is to miss the result: That we end up with more facts, sooner, with less ambiguity."
  • The Fallacy of Digital Natives
    Amen to this: "Sure, there may be a larger percentage of Millennials that tap into technology first compared to their elders, but oversimplifying the division of generations to suggest one prefers an all-technology learning style whilst the others use it when necessary is preposterous. Learning and technology has nothing to do with generational divides."
  • Click and Drag
    An amazing, endless xkcd comic.
  • Nice piece in Transom explaining Cowbird
    Annie Correal: "Our goal is to build a public library of human experience, so the knowledge and wisdom we accumulate as individuals may live on as part of the commons."
  • Being Online Has Become So Common That Some People No Longer Identify It As Being Online
    Techdirt, quoting a study by Forrester Research: "Our analysis revealed that 'being online' is becoming a fluid concept. Consumers no longer consider some of the online activities they perform to be activities related to 'using the Internet.' In fact, given the various types of connected devices that US consumers own, many people are connected and logged on (automatically) at all times. The Internet has become such a normal part of their lives that consumers don’t register that they are using the Internet when they’re on Facebook, for example. It’s only when they are actively doing a specific task, like search, that they consider this to be time that they’re spending online."
  • Reddit's balance of power: community values are tested as a troll is unmasked
    Links to all of The Verge's coverage of the Violentacrez debacle.