Y’know, for such an asynchronous communication medium, the Internet spawns a surprising number of call-and-response memes, from the O RLY? bird to “I’m not your buddy, guy,” to “Madness? This is Sparta!”

I realize comedy has always had a place for the setup you can get with a good straight man, but it’s still fascinating how much social comedy comes from synchronizing a series of responses in an environment where both call and response are inherently separated by an indeterminate lag.

I suppose a Communications grad student could probably make a really boring paper out of this.

2 Replies to “Memesmerizing”

  1. “Meme” is something sort of like an internet fad, or trend. “Memesmerizing” is no kind of word, so don’t feel bad for not knowing that one.

    Call-and-response is a social communication technique where a speaker utters a phrase and his audience replies with a pre-determined (often ritualistic) response.

    An example of the two together, referenced in passing in my post, is when someone on the internet responds to an extraordinary claim (or sarcastically to an obvious one), “O RLY?” (with that spelling). The response is “YA RLY” and then the response to that is “NO WAI!” You’ll very rarely get one part of that exchange without the full chain.

    It’s done in silliness, but that’s the sort of thing that Communications researchers find fascinating.

Comments are closed.