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Instagram’s Tommy Swan Is The Only Food Reviewer Not Buying Food: How @tommyjswan Is Revolutionizing Wholesome Food Review Content One Finger Heart At A Time
October 2023
Placed in the top percentile of brain-dead content, food reviewers hold a strong lead. The various thresholds that a person’s worldview and personality need to pass through to make that final “I’ll just review food in my car” decision is already evident in the objectively strange and simple-minded people who’ve already gone viral for it...



Is Reed Harrington On Instagram Going To Thailand? How @reed_harrington23 Went From ‘Lil N’ To Potential UFC Protégé
October 2023
There’s a lesson to be learned when it comes to 13-year-old Reed Harrington’s rise to Instagram eminence. Through wholesome “day in the life” videos, the middle schooler portrays himself as a motivated and self-sufficient little football player. He’s the kind of kid who wakes up at 4 a.m. to “hit the gym” and then ends the day washing the dishes before his dad comes home. There are not many like him...


Nass Vs. Patia: The Art Of The Face Reveal

September 2023
I have a deep-seeded philosophy that every great meme page dies when its admin posts face. It usually happens when they reach that critical 10,000-follower milestone. They think, “I need to captilize on this,” and then they think that we’ll be impressed that they’re a 7...


The “Dog Whistle” Manifestation Pipeline Of “Seasoning Police”

August 2023
The video is deleted now. Scrubbed from the internet. Zoe Barrie wanted to make a point about seasoning. She does that, when she’s cooking, but not in the way that a commenter thought was enough. For Barrie, powdered seasoning just doesn't do it. Instead, she uses “fresh” seasoning...


An Insanely Evil Interview With Absolutenutcase162
On Instagram
July 2023
On one fateful night in 2022, an Instagram user spawned from Hell and dubbed himself @absolutenutcase162. He started uploading a series of chaotically created comics, using obtuse SpongeBob screenshots, tracing them together in a way that, disturbingly, made a lot of sense...


Thug Shaker, Ambatukam, Brandon The Barber, And The Covertly Racist History Of Thugposting

June 2023
There’s a barber in Atlanta named Brandon who cuts men’s hair while completely nude and business is booming. “The Erotic Barber” is his moniker and he’s no small business man. In fact, he’s been hustling online for years, starting on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, where he...


“Gamblecore” And “Casino Irony” Are A Post-Post-Ironic TikTok Masterpiece
April 2023
Although it’s not often conceptualized, ironic memes serve a purpose: to label a cliché as stupid and then make fun of it. For over a decade now, ironic memes have flooded social media, so much so that many consider the modern state of memes as post-ironic. This means that irony...


Peter Griffin Is Insane And So Are You: ‘Family Guy’ Is Creepy, Or At Least, That’s What The Internet Wants You To Think
February 2023
In the modern age (if you don’t consider the start of "Family Guy" as the modern age) making memes about "Family Guy" isn’t about screenshotting a funny cut-away gag and captioning it anymore. Instead, it’s become about subverting the mundanity and corporate influence of the...


An Interview With Instagram’s Rajshahi Indian Restaurant
November 2022

Located in Gosford, New South Wales, half-way up the Central Coast of Australia, lies a strip mall with an important restaurant—Rajshahi Indian Restaurant. Its yellow sign is against the backdrop, housing curries, chutneys and busy staffers, milling about the kitchen and taking calls...


There’s No Place Like Ohio: The State That Represents The Modern American Absurd in Memes
October 2022
About a month ago, an Ohio man named Sean went to Las Vegas and found his doppelgänger swimming next to him in a casino pool, wearing the same glasses, hat and neckbeard. Being a Redditor, Sean decided to exploit the once-in-a-lifetime moment for content, taking a picture...


Can You Record A Video For Me? An Opinion Piece About TikTok’s Biggest Prank And Its Algorithm

June 2022
Handing your phone to a stranger, unlocked, is one of the worst places to keep it, however, if you’re recording a video at the same time, what are they going to do? They’re on tape. The knowledge of this physical documentation in their hands puts structure on the situation that...


The “Blovad Effect,” Camouflage-Core And What It Means For Post-Corny Fashion

May 2022
Picture this: a professional skater ditching it all to wiggle in boys clothes online for likes. Watching him strut in slow-motion to nightcore remixes on TikTok highlights how fashion and online persona have melded into the need to be a walking thumbnail. The cyclical nature of nostalgia in fashion...


Where is ‘Joe Byron’ Now? How 'Bing Bong' Is Haunting Sidetalk NYC
March 2022
As chanting “Joe Byron” replaced T-posing in middle schools everywhere, the simulation we live in became a lot more peaceful. Internet-using kids and adults everywhere, on any platform (not just on TikTok), were familiar with the sound, and likely, the man saying it too. Most were repeating “Joe Byron” in...


The Sickly, Skinny Kings Of Meme Prom: A Deep Dive Into The Sexual Preferences Of A Generation
December 2021
Whether it’s always been there or slowly developed … that’s up for interpretation, but there’s no doubt that as human beings evolved into the early 2020s, some piece of our evolutionary urges clicked into the need for sickly, skinny white boys to breed over others. These vampire boys who...


The Instagram Incellectuals Interview: Sitting Down With The Admins Of The @incellectuals Page

November 2021
Within the discourse of Instagram meme accounts, few have carved a deeper niche than Incellectuals. If you were on the platform throughout the pandemic, the visual of “I ♥ Jokes” might have been burned into your retinas. There seemed to be so many of these accounts at...


Death Of Fleets: Why Is Twitter So Self-Conscious?
September 2021
Aaaand it's gone, just like that. Did you ever even click on a Twitter Fleet? Did you ever even try to make one? And does their passing make you happy? For some reason, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey thinks you might be happy. From their start, Fleets were controversial...



TikTok Knows Your Little Secret: Why The Platform Sometimes Feels Like The Deepest Part Of The Internet

August 2021
There’s an evil algorithm out there. It’s one that might know you more than you do. It can tap into that void – your subconscious – and leak its contents as the content that it recommends. With each scroll, there’s the possibility of something out-of-pocket. What led TikTok to show you that? Was...


Exploring The Enigmatic MindofJson: An Interview

June 2021
From banned account to banned account, from getting lit to sobering up, Jason Stevens, aka Mind of J-son, has had his selfies carved into the Mount Rushmore of the post-irony movement. The man himself, currently a New Yorker, leads an army of followers dedicated to his content...


Whispers: “They Get Louder As The 2010’s Live On”
 
March 2021
The text post: when the words aren’t enough and you need a picture of them. Whether it’s Impact font with SpongeBob screencaps or a botched-up Facebook status with laughing emojis, all memes are essentially text posts. Words first, images second and the person behind...


Fleets Vs. Reels: And Other Ways Formats Get Passed Around
February 2021
Do you remember using Snapchat before Instagram stories  replaced it? On Snapchat, you’d post a story of your friend eating a sandwich, and it’d be gone in 24 hours. The app is meant for that type of posting. Over the years, various forms of social media posts have been invented...


Philosophical Meme Pages And How They Subvert Themselves

December 2020
Philosophy and memes are two peas in a pod, or at least in recent months you’d think that. What was originally popular in only small circles on Instagram, pages have grown in the past couple of months that, at first glance, seem incoherent and sloppy. Image after image on the...


From The “Summer of White Claw” To Summer 2020

September 2020
It's summer 2018, and someone approaches you at the party. "Hahaha, you're drinking a White Claw?" You look down, and you are, in fact, drinking a White Claw. "Bro, did you not see the memes, the warnings?" It's summer 2018, and you're drinking a White Claw. Oh my god, how...



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April 2023
TikTok’s ‘Gamblecore’ And ‘Casino Irony’ Are A Post-Ironic Masterpiece
‘Keep Gambling’ and You’ll Wind Up in the Depths of Post Irony



Although it’s not often conceptualized, ironic memes serve a purpose: to label a cliché as stupid and then make fun of it. For over a decade now, ironic memes have flooded social media, so much so that many consider the modern state of memes as post-ironic. This means that irony can be expressed through abstract, visual signifiers because irony is implied and expected when viewing any meme. Through this reliance on the presence of irony, the most absurd and taboo of concepts are also fair game for post-irony exploitation. Mix these two factors together and the imagery of “casino irony” and “gamblecore” begins to take shape.

Back in 2012, 2013, or any time that the average Zoomer was in middle school, children across the world watched YouTubers like Pewdiepie play video games that their parents wouldn’t let them buy. It was like watching an older brother play Xbox minus all of the sibling rivalry. Through the progression of watching “let’s play” videos, one kid could learn a lot about a video game despite never touching a controller themself. Of course, the same scenario still exists today. It’s even amplified by the virality and accessibility of new video content hubs like TikTok and Twitch. However, with the new territory comes new and more abundant subcultures that finally get to extend themselves to a new, impressionable and voyeuristic audience. Namely, subcultures like gambling have finally shifted into their pseudo “let’s play” video arc.

Casino content comes in a couple of video styles. First off, there’s the average Twitch gambler, who plays entirely online in online casinos, spinning slot machines while they’re  green screened in front of it all. Other gambling streamers are actually present inside the casino, walking around with a selfie stick and, again, spinning nameless slot machines. The gambling side of Twitch is filled with hungry-for-jackpots viewers. To add onto that, clips of the streams land elsewhere, on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, for a different audience to consume.

For a while, gambling streams on Twitch went largely unchecked as many of Twitch’s biggest names tapped into the growing market. Names like xQc and Trainwreckstv became widely known for their gambling streams, however, it wasn’t their money that they were playing with. Instead, the casino websites were handing them money to gamble freely, basically acting as free promotion. This wasn’t a great look for the websites or the streamers. It read as manipulation on the behalf of every audience demographic. 

Gambling addiction is a detrimental condition and like any addiction, it consumes a life. However, like any addiction, many already know that it’s bad. The funny thing about the gambling streams, is that before a bunch of news outlets put the spotlight on Twitch gambling, a lot of people were already thinking, This is obviously bad and probably propaganda.

Enter the meme called “keep gambling.” It seems like a simple request: if you’re already gambling your life away, keep doing it. It follows a satirical inner monologue that goes: Does your daughter really need that $20,000 for her college funds? You need that money for another freakin’ jackpot! Come on baby! Gabagogillion buckaroos!

The “keep gambling” meme specifically centers on one image that shows two men mining underground. One man is seen stopping in his digging, slinging his pickaxe over his shoulder and walking solemnly out of the tunnel he’s already dug. Little does he know, that just inches away from where he stopped is an ungodly amount of diamonds; an ungodly amount of diamonds that the man above him (who’s still digging) is going to reach in a second. Below the image, written in all caps, are the words “KEEP GAMBLING” which highlights how he was so close to that jackpot.

For people who aren’t gambling addicts, this image is hilarious. It highlights the deep, inherent absurdity of gambling addiction, like, Why would you “keep gambling” when the jackpot is never that close?

In terms of post-irony, it’s a meme that’s just barely not post-ironic; it still remains at the horizon of plain irony. This is because it only satirizes the cliché; the cliché of nonsensically indulgent gambling. It doesn’t also satirize the expectation of irony in memes. With this being said, it still exists at “the edge” of plain irony, mostly because its subject matter, gambling addiction, is rather taboo; it makes fun of a detrimental and almost unstoppable, mental condition.

“Keep gambling” has a twin meme trend called “ironic drunk driving memes.” In the same vein, driving drunk is an objectively bad thing to do. It obviously endangers the life of everyone involved. No right-minded person would champion drunk driving, therefore, making memes that champion it is the perfect ironic meme that also teeters at the edge of plain irony. Just like “keep gambling” it doesn’t fully cross over into post-irony, but it’s close.

As TikTok has become the main hub of internet memes in the early 2020s, It’s therefore become the main hub of post-ironic memes too by law of elimination. It passes the eye test as well, in that, when scrolling a curated “For You” page, one is bound to come across some obscure, post-ironic content that’s visuals make it look like your screen is putting a hex on you.

Enter modern “hood irony” content. It’s a subset of memes that satirize “hood” comedy, Black Twitter and the mass adoption of AAVE. The meme genre predominantly manifested on Instagram in the late 2010s. Nowadays, TikTok has become commonplace with the genre, where creators perpetuate a weird concoction of visual signifiers, ranging from silhouettes walking to the most tertiary of Vine sound effects. With all of its moldy, glitzy and deep-fried visuals, the “hood irony” video style has cemented itself as a post-irony staple, in that, to a viewer expecting irony in the video, they’re met with many nonsensical visuals that they can learn to establish as ironic, building a pathway in their own head to an abstract, inside-joke-of-a conclusion.

Within the first few months of 2023, the “hood irony” video style has become very well-known, so much so that its encapsulation of post-ironic aesthetics has seeped into other ironic meme concepts that require an extra evolution to enter post-irony completely. Ironic gambling memes are ripe for that extra step.

Through these associations, meme creators on TikTok have started making post-ironic gambling videos that read like hood irony. The videos compile multiple “jackpot!” sounds, horny slot machine mascots and clips of Twitch streamers freaking out over big wins. When mashed together in a cryptic, 15-second video, the signifiers make gamblecore, also referred to as casino irony.

Through many free associations traversed by the meme hivemind, casino irony evolved from “keep gambling” and cemented itself as a poignant and inventive way to satirize modern, online gambling and the corporations that are pumping it into Twitch and elsewhere. These Zoomer meme creators, who are supposed to be impressionable, are seeing right through the facade of gambling propaganda. Out of the dust, comes a video artform that their parents would likely never understand.

click here to read this article in the April 2023 Meme Insider issue.




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