‘Look @ This Fukken Doge’

Internet memes and remix cultures

Authored by: Victoria Esteves , Graham Meikle

The Routledge Companion to Alternative and Community Media

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415644044
eBook ISBN: 9781315717241
Adobe ISBN: 9781317509417

10.4324/9781315717241.Chapter49

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Abstract

On 26 February 2014, the US government’s Department of Health and Human Services posted a new public information campaign message to their Facebook page and Twitter feed. Intended to encourage people to sign up for health insurance, it showed a photo of a Japanese Shiba Inu dog romping in the snow, surrounded by text fragments in a brightly coloured Comic Sans font: So health insurance. Very benefits. Wow. Many coverage. Much affordable. Such HealthCare.gov. This particular breed of dog, this particular font and colour scheme, and this particular grammar – very noun, much adjective, wow – are the elements of the doge internet meme, in which pictures of an identified individual dog are remixed into a more and more elaborate repertoire of references to be shared across social media networks. The use of what was at the time a relatively new internet meme in a government health campaign illustrates how quickly and how widely such practices now circulate. In this case, what began as an in-joke for users of 4Chan, Tumblr and Reddit spread to political campaigning, commercial advertising and a functioning doge-based currency in a matter of months.

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