What To Do If You Become an Internet Meme
A girl who posted pics of her "epic boobs" and inadvertently became an Internet meme lost a lawsuit against the outlet that made her a star. It raises the question: If you become an internet meme, what should you do?
Epic Boobs Girl's lawsuit against the British titty mag Loaded over the use of a photo that originated on her Bebo profile (and was immortalized on comment boards for EPIC BOOBS) has been tossed out, quashing Epic Boobs Girl's latest attempt to end her meme. In an anarchic world of mass, fleeting fame, is there any recourse for the unwitting subjects of internet memes? Here are a few tips on memes' options, featuring advice from a real, live person who went through it and survived.
Epic Boobs Girl may have posed for sassy, boobalicious pics with her friends, but she definitely didn't foresee having her face plastered in masturbatory magazines. Almost instantly, internet users raided her Bebo profile and saved every picture of her glorious rack. If you haven't already taken privacy-protecting precautions, it's probably too late. Besides, hiding is by far the most boring thing you can do once you've become a meme. You'd be far wiser to...
These are your 15 minutes of fame! Ride it like a Dorothy Gale on a gust of wind in a Kansas tornado. Here's what you could get out of it:
• Fame: All the world's a reality TV show, all the people merely fameballs. Smacked in the face with the opportunity to stretch their fifteen minutes as long as possible, few can resist.
Tennessee twink Chris Crocker parlayed his plea to "Leave Britney Alone!" into a full-fledged multimedia career. He now lives in L.A. and earns his keep with appearances, comic books, and his ever-popular YouTube channel.
David After Dentist's dad franchised his kid's visage into tee-shirts and stickers on DavidAfterDentist.com—presumably with rapidly depleting returns on investment.
Even Rick Astley—whose musical career spans far further back than his incessant appearance in rickrolls—managed to ride the zeitgeist with new tour dates and albums.
The risk, of course, is that you turn into an overexposed sell-out. But that's also how we measure success in this world, so do as you must.
• Fortune: Though fame and fortune go hand in hand, if you want is money without stardom, it's doable. Take, for instance, the Numa Numa guy, whose voice most people have never heard, though they've seen him lip syncing in ads for Geico, Vizio, and others. Most people don't know this guy's real name and wouldn't recognize him if his lips weren't moving. Ultimately all we know is that he makes a ridiculous amount of money for licensing a YouTube video that has 35 million views.
• Something Else: Did you know some people use fame for the force of good? The dad from the "You're Not a Single Lady" kept a blog chronicling son Losiah's adoption from South Korea. When Losiah became a meme, Carlos Whittaker took the opportunity to "bring adoption to the forefront of the conversation." And if it helped Carlos' career as an artist, pastor, thinker, [and] experience architect, well, that's fine, too.
3. SUE YOUR MEME INTO SUBMISSION
A major meme has yet to be sued into submission (see: Streisand Effect, the) but meme subjects have certainly tried. Epic Boobs Girl's plight is among the more sympathetic ones. The fact that her suit failed suggests there is little hope for anti-meme legal action.
Likewise, Glenn Beck's plight against "Did Glenn Beck rape and murder a girl in 1990?" illuminates the bottomless pit of failure that awaits those who try to sue their memes into submission. To satirize Glenn Beck's notorious reliance on mistruths, internet users reappropriated a Gilbert Gottfried joke that demonstrates how warning against a rumor can actually start a rumor. They started asking whether Glenn Beck had raped and murdered a young girl and why he had not commented on it. Thus, without ever accusing Glenn Beck of raping and murdering anyone, they successfully wedged the accusation into his Google results and the collective subconscious. Beck tried to sue the owner of DidGlennBeckRapeandMurderaYoungGirlin1990.com into submission. He failed. What Glenn (and almost all other memes) should have done is…
4. SHRUG, LAUGH, AND MOVE ON
The most dignified and rational option for internet memes, shrugging and moving on with your life is probably best. Approval Guy became famous when a photo of him sitting alone, looking nerdy-but-happy at a lingerie party, became a meme.
He pondered what to make of his fame, ultimately deciding to do nothing. We reached Approval Guy by email, and this is what he said:
Being posted all over the internet doesn't bother me at all, in fact, I find it hilarious. I really enjoy seeing the creativity of others and think they should continue to do as they please with my image.
I have not made a profit from "Approval Guy" and nor do I plan to. On the other hand, if the opportunity arose, I wouldn't mind taking advantage of it.
Well played, Approval Guy. If you love your fleeting fame, set it free—it'll be better as a second-date story and wryly cherished memory, anyway. Approval Guy cautions, however, that not all memes are created equal.
Becoming a meme was a positive experience and I do not mind it at all. On the other hand, if I were the Star Wars kid or that guy who sings numa numa, I wouldn't show up in public... EVER.