Archive | Sociology RSS feed for this section

Featured Meme: Rage Comic Memes

18 May

As stated in an earlier article, a meme (pronounced MEEM) is a concept (image or phrase) that becomes popular on the Internet.  Memes can reflect a person’s attitude, predicaments, and just about anything else.  Thanks to Rage Guy, Forever Alone, Troll Face, and other Rage Comic Memes, personal moments of failure, win-itude, and everything within the spectrum can be humorously documented. Continue reading


How to Be Cool in 10+ Steps

4 May

Are you cool?  Check out our checklists and see how you fare.  Keep reading, and you will learn how to achieve this elusive trait.  If you’re already there, congratulations.  I’m not.

Iceman, the Marvel comics superhero, as shown on the website

I need to be more “cool.”  I am decidedly un-cool.  Does that make me warm?  No, it makes me embarrassing.  People can take one look at me and tell exactly how I feel.  And that can be a terrible handicap.  For example, when I lose my temper, I can’t hide it, which makes me look like a toddler in mid-tantrum instead of the paragon of virtue that I pretend to be.  Also, I tend to gush about things I like, which is fine unless the other people aren’t rabid fans of Techno.

 Just in case you, too, need to be more cool, let’s look up a definition for the word.  After that, we can give you some rock-solid advice on how achieve coolness.

 Our good friend Wikipedia has the answer.  It always does, even though most of the information you read there isn’t expert.  (And most of what you read on the Internet isn’t interesting.) 

 “Something regarded as cool is an admired aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style, influenced by and a product of the Zeitgeist.”  Okay…what?  (Preparing to menu-dive into a maze of links…)

Zeitgeist (pronounced TSITE GUYST) is a German word meaning “the spirit of the times” or “the spirit of the age.” It can be traced to philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder in the mid-1700s.  He was associated with the artistic movement known as “Sturm und Drang,” which is mentioned here because it has such a cool-sounding name, especially when you say it with a German accent (SCHTOORM OONDRANG.)  That was a time “in which individual subjectivity and, in particular, extremes of emotion were given free expression in reaction to the perceived constraints of rationalism imposed by the Enlightenment.”

Hey, wait a minute…  Extremes of emotion?  That’s not cool.  The name of the movement translates to “storm and urge,” which describes the way I act now.  I’m afraid we will have to abandon this tangent.  I guess it used to be trendy to rage about things in Germany.  The Nazis certainly thought so.  In contrast, today’s Germans are among the coolest, most under-reacting people on Earth.  (Maybe that’s why they’re good at Techno.)

 The Merriam Webster dictionary says cool is “marked by steady dispassionate calmness and self-control,” which is what I thought it should mean. It also defines cool as “very good,” which is the most unenlightening definition ever.   It offers one final definition as “fashionable or hip,” but it fails to define “hip” correctly.  All it says is (noun) “part of the human body,” or “fruit of the rosebush rose,” or (verb) “to sprain or dislocate,” or (interjection) “exclamation used in cheers.”  This is wrong.  You know as well as I do that hip is an adjective meaning cool.

We’ve come full circle:  Cool means hip.  Hip mean cool.  It’s time to look for other answers.  A Google search yield mostly minor websites and joke videos.  A website does exist named “,” but it offers lame links such as “find friends” and “depression support” that cool people don’t need.  (Apparently I’m not the only person having trouble with this concept.)

The website advises:  Disregard what other people say.  Don’t try to make everyone happy.  Never argue.  Don’t slouch.  Speak confidently.  Walk with a “glide.”  Bend rules, but don’t break them.  Never whine.  Be patient.  Stay focused.  Use few words.   Avoid overused slang.  Speak highly of your friends. Never talk down to anyone.   Have diverse friends.  Don’t join clubs.  Always keep learning. 

Well, that’s not a bad start, but I doubt it will impress the bar crowd–you know, those cool, 20-somethings, the beautiful people, who hang out all night, doing Xtreme fun things.

The website advises:  Have a nice, good-looking girlfriend.  Don’t over-call your friends; have a purpose when you call them.  Dress well.  Be knowledgeable.  Be funny.  Don’t be a downer.

That sounds more like being admirable than cool.

The website advises:  Learn to do with less attention.  Don’t compete with other people for attention.  Say less than is necessary.  Learn to behave well from those who don’t know how.  Do not ‘freeload’ or overstay your welcome.  Never whine.  Appear unhurried.  Be different — but not too different. Appear not to want things you cannot have.  Exercise courtesy and tact at all times.

That sounds more like being polite than cool

A more practical approach comes from   In short:  Remember that you can’t please everyone.  Present yourself well in public.  Be calm and confident.  Stand up for yourself but avoid arguing.  Speak briefly and clearly.  Converse well.  Use humor and laugh at yourself.  Develop your goals and talents.  Find real friends.  Be friendly but not overly eager.  Dress in your own style.  Be yourself.  Do the right thing.  Don’t brag.  Don’t do drugs.

Good advice, especially appropriate for the preppy floating through life.

A humorous perspective comes from the website  He writes:  Have a killer pickup line.  Don’t do what your parents want you to do.  Imitate the appearance of someone you think is cool.  Have an enigmatic nickname.  Reference Fonzie.  Have an enviable job.  Know your coffee drinks.  Be prepared for any situation.  Parallel park well.  Be in a band.

According to the above advice, I already fit the definition of cool.  And since I know that isn’t true, the advice must be off-target.

Back to Wiki’s original definition–if cool means in “the spirit of the times,” that makes it close to the meaning of “trendy.”  Therefore, it may approximate the term “hipster.”  Those people make a point of knowing what is cool before it’s cool.  Once it becomes mainstream, it’s over for the hipsters.  So, are hipsters the definition of cool?  Maybe, for some people, they are.  For most people, hipsters are laughably presumptuous.  How can anyone be cool when they are trying too hard?

Perhaps it is time to look back to ancient Eastern philosophy for the answer.  Ninja is cool.  Chuck Norris is… well, he used to be cool until people started telling all of those jokes. The creed of Tae Kwon Do, Korean martial arts, sums it up nicely:  Respect.  Courtesy.  Goodness.  Trustworthiness.  Loyalty. Humility.  Courage.  Patience.  Integrity.  Perseverance.  Self-control.  Indomitable Spirit.  Does anyone care to argue with a martial arts master?  No?  Good move.

People seem to agree that coolness goes deeper than surface actions and appearances.  “How to Be Cool” turned into a list of actual character traits that comprise a psychologically well-adjusted personality!

What’s more, a distinct difference emerged between “popular people” and “cool people.”  Popular people are often too social and outspoken to be truly cool. Popular people follow the crowd, but cool people find their own way.  Popular people can be snarky, but cool people rise above base behavior.   On the other hand, cool people can end up being popular, but the catch is, they don’t care.

In short, cool is a good way to be.  I’d rather be cool than popular because cool people have integrity.  Based on the best suggestions so far, plus a few suggestions of our own, here is a list of 10+ ways to achieve cooldom:

 Traits of a Cool Person:

1.  Calm – Don’t overreact to anything–good or bad.  Let it go, and move on.

2.  Dignified – Have pride in yourself without arrogance.  Don’t hero-worship.

3.  Respectful – Be courteous to people.  Be considerate of nature.

4.  Understated – Speak your mind sparingly and effectively.

5.  Confident – Know your abilities, and be sure of what you do.

6.  Satisfied – Be comfortable with who you are.  Be content with what you have.

7.  Well-centered – Know your own feelings and values.  Be true to yourself.

8.  Low maintenance – Don’t seek attention.  Don’t be emotionally needy.

9.  Self-directed – Make your own decisions.  Find your own happiness.

10.  Original – Express yourself in a unique way.  Be creative and inventive.

11.  Stylish – Care about your appearance.  Present yourself well in public.

12.  Clever – Be alert, aware, and resourceful.

13.  Witty – Maintain your sense of humor.  Direct laughs at yourself.

14.  Talented – Develop your skills and knowledge.  Do something admirable.

If that list is too serious, or you don’t want to go through the difficult job of actually becoming a better person, all that is left is to become pseudo-cool–in other words, a Cool Poser.  An unfortunate number of people choose this easy but pathetic route.

 How to Pose as a Cool Person:

1.  Buy overpriced clothing and accessories.

2.  Own the newest and latest electronics.

3.  Go into debt for a hot car.

4.  Learn how to swagger.

5.  Imitate gang hand signs.

6.  Overuse catchy phrases.

7.  Curse in every sentence.

8.  Drop obscure references.

9.  Constantly text.

10.  Become a self-proclaimed expert.

11.  Show no emotion.

12   Be nice only to other cool people.

13.  Ignore inferior people.

14.  Remember:  It’s all about you.


Featured Meme: Advice Dog

4 Apr

Upon reading this title, one may think, “what does Hunter mean when he says ‘meme?’ Is it a new kind of pastry? A brand of scented candles? Maybe it’s a image, trend, or phrase propagated across the Internet.” If you honestly thought that third one, I must applaud you. That’s really what it is. From a complex YouTube Video to a simple picture, anything can pick up popularity and reach meme status. Any Internet-goer can see it then change it around any way he wants to add to its popularity.

Memes (pronounced “meems”) are, if you think about it, legal plagiarism because they are meant to be copied and recreated.  Anything can be a meme, really, not just stuff on the Internet.  If your dad teaches you how to, oh, I don’t know, swallow a live goldfish, you’d probably want to show off to your friends.  An epidemic begins, and local pet stores are hit with a fish shortage.  Despite this fishy tragedy, laughs grow and socialization is given a new tool that is capable of spreading like wildfire. This is truly an… interesting example of how culture evolves and shapes itself with the help of communication. (There are better, less ASPCA-angering examples, too.) The Internet lets those cultural tidbits spread across the globe in the blink of an eye.

This first article covers many memes at once. (This particular meme has a lot of subcategories.)  Behold the Advice Dog trend.

According to, the Advice Dog phenomenon started in a Mario fansite forum thread when a user named “TEM” uploaded a picture of his dog (named Boba Fett) with a rainbow background. People were fawning over that puppy like you wouldn’t believe! Since the image was so simple, anyone could easily goof around with it on Photoshop. Someone decided to add captions promoting bad, stupid, or just plain weird advice. The following image is actually one of the better pieces of advice. The others involve offensive things we probably shouldn’t/couldn’t publish. (Lots of these do.)

But just one philosophical pooch wasn’t enough. There’s also the Courage Wolf! Courage Wolf occasionally gives pretty good advice, though oftentimes it’s quite violent. (Wait until you see Insanity Wolf! He’s too sadistic to be covered here!) The swap from Advice Dog to Courage Wolf could be explained because some people have edgier personalities and aren’t particularly fond of cuteness.

As you have noticed, lots of these memes are presented as animals (though I have seen The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Christina Aguilera, Bill O’Reilly, and an Asian father as memes). Keeping with this animal theme, our next spotlight is on the Philosoraptor. As the name suggests, he poses sage questions that make quite a bit of sense–most of the time.

While the makers of Phliosoraptor most likely wanted to bring the art of intellectuality into these memes, the creators of the Lame Pun Coon wanted to do the opposite: remove the concept of logical thinking. If you have ever heard a joke so bad you wanted to throw up, the Lame Pun Coon has said it–probably. He once submitted ten puns to a pun contest hoping at least one would win, but “no pun in ten did.” See what I mean?

With the focus still on things that make you roll your eyes in disgust, the Foul Bachelor Frog is a classic stereotype of dudes with their own place: ridiculous eating habits, unhygienic behavior, and just plain immaturity. No napkins? Use a tortilla! This very popular meme even has a female counterpart: the Foul Bachelorette Frog, which proves females can be just as gross as males, if not grosser. (No offense, ladies.)

The next meme is much cleaner, thank goodness. He makes us observe and think about our own ineptitude and shows us some extreme examples, too. He is the Technologically Impaired Duck.

Think of how much computers have advanced from years past. It is quite easy to get lost in all this techno mumbo jumbo. (If you are lost, don’t use a GPS.) The duck offers a sarcastic way of whining to Bill Gates or Steve Jobs about their plagues on mankind. Wait! I just minimized my browser! I wonder where it went…

Next up is another bird who has serious issues. The Paranoid Parrot is a blue macaw that always imagines the worst possible scenario for every situation. Those of you who are reading this in your concrete bunker/panic room defending against the apocalypse can probably relate to this guy. A favorite of mine: “Get sick, look up symptoms on Google. HOLY COW, I’M GOING TO DIE!” A harmless airplane flying above makes his life flash before his eyes, and even the softest of noises convinces him that Insanity Wolf is outside waiting to strike. (Told you Insanity Wolf was hardcore.) An interesting thing to note about the Paranoid Parrot is that he often acknowledges the fact that he is a meme. (Read Paranoid Parrot… He’s right.) Paranoia springs eternal.

Keeping with our bird theme, this feathered friend is very popular as a meme. It is another good way of letting us look at our flaws and laugh, but the laughter comes not necessarily from who we are but what we do. This is the Socially Awkward Penguin. Have you ever held the door open for someone, but they were just slightly too far away? The Penguin’s been there. Ever seen someone waving and wave back only to realize they were waving to someone else? The penguin’s done that. The Socially Awkward Penguin is the patron saint of Murphy’s Law: “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

So, after I’ve spent all this time looking at funny pictures on the Internet, what have I learned? Information spreads faster than ever now with the help of technology. Laughs are a great way to prove how quickly trends catch on. With all of this sharing of intellectual property without copyrights in the way, all people can take a simple picture of a puppy and make their own versions, perhaps reflecting their own habits or quirks. Isn’t it just amazing how we don’t have to worry about getting our pants sued off, for memes were intended to be stolen?

I suppose this is as good a place as any to say that on, new memes such as Advice Dog can be created with the push of a button.  These include:

  • Success Kid
  • Success Nun
  • Scene Wolf
  • Bear Grylls (From the TV show Man Vs. Wild.)
  • Charlie Sheen (From… well, I think you know who he is.)
  • Bad Pickup Line Panda
  • Hipster Kitty
  • Business Cat
  • Random Fact Elephant

…and more, some of which will get their own featured meme articles. The Internet is a powerful place. Why waste it with this garbage? BECAUSE WE CAN.


Am I In the Mob?

13 Dec
There comes a time when everyone must make a stand. Whether it is in defiance of unfair rules or in defense of the weak, it helps to be bold. Sometimes courage is hard to find, especially if those around us are opting out of the fight. Why risk being punished or ostracized for no reward? Isn’t it easier to go along with the crowd? Yes, but how would that make you feel about yourself?
When there is no public admiration for leadership, the reward resides within. Tapping into that wellspring of bravado can be tricky. Here is an inspiring essay on standing up for what you believe in. — Chris
Originally uploaded by audriearlean at

Feeling sheepish about not standing out from the crowd?

Countdown: “10, 9, 8…”

Many people waited in anticipation for the arrival of the year 2000; this date was once considered, by some, to be an impossibility because of the widely-held, strange belief that disaster would occur when the clock struck 12 in the year often referred to as Y2K.

“7, 6, 5…”

Y2K spread the rumor that the world would somehow disintegrate in the year 2000. Many people waited in fear of imminent death on midnight December 31, 1999.\

“4, 3, 2…”

People who believed in this strange phenomenon did not, for one moment, consider the fact that there was no explanation as to why the world would spontaneously disintegrate.

“1… Ball drop, moment of truth, and — nothing.” As you know, the world did not spontaneously disappear, combust, implode, or even miss a beat. The computers did not fail, and the human race did not come to an untimely end.

It is this sort of mob mentality that leads to political, social, and religious disagreements. Many people are, mentally, sheep. These people would sit and watch a herd walk into the doors of a slaughter house and (since sheep cannot read) they, themselves, would walk in, never to exit alive. If these “sheep” would stop and consider things before they jumped to conclusions, they would be better off. The real problem is not that they are followers; some people are not leaders and need someone to follow. But, the potent problem in this situation is that there are no leaders. The “herd” is only led by followers; it is sheep mindlessly following sheep, who are mindlessly following sheep, who are only moving forward because there are too many people behind them to turn around. The sheep are committing mental suicide, and they know it. They elect to close their minds to any other thoughts.

These sheep’s only care is to not be “left out.” I have to admit that I have been a sheep before. I have walked into the slaughter, so to speak, so that I would not be “left behind.” This is a disappointing fact that I must admit. I believe that almost all of us, at one time or another, have been sheep. In fact it is one of the hardest things not to do. It is incredibly difficult to fight your way through a crowd running at you, ignorant to the truth, pushing you toward the open doors of the cerebral slaughterhouse. I do not like the odds.

How can we sit by while the world is slowly enveloped by ignorant automaton invaders? We are not such narcisitic egotists that we can watch this happen. We cannot allow our children, our friends, or even our nemeses to succumb to such a fate. While we cannot make choices for them, we can strongly object. We can suggest, inform, explain, and teach them of their fate. We can do our best, prepare for the worst, and hope that we impress our best judgements upon them.

But we must not impose; we must walk a thin line, careful to never stray an inch from it. If we forget this, our important message will be corrupted, vilified, and lost. We must not be overbearing or pushy. And, armed with this knowledge, we must bravely embark upon our journey, prepared to be drawn off of our straight and narrow trail, and we must know the way back. We must never forget the saddening story of our friends who were drawn in by the peer pressure and could not find their way back to the trail, who were corrupted beyond repair.

With these words, I charge you to go forth and do your best to gather the sheep from the herd and turn them around, to shut the beckoning doors of intellectual death, and to return the wayward back onto the straight and narrow. — James

Brainstorm Umbrella

Poems and Articles about Current Events