Chances are that just seeing this top image brings back memories of both old and relatively recent memes and internet crazes. Whether it be the rage faces, star wars kid, OVER 9000!, I herd u liek mudkips, it’s a trap, or any of the other memes found in this picture there’s a good chance that you’ve seen or heard of one of these bad boys. Even though they may get old and stale sometimes they nearly all hold a special place in many of our hearts and most certainly in the history of the internet and its many image sharing websites. None of which, are as infamous as the ever present anonymous user site 4chan, which has been a cesspool of both terrible disgusting lows of humanity and amazing creative heights. This community of people have been churning out memes for years, and recently their most famous meme has been attacked and deemed a hate symbol, this meme is the ever classic Pepe the Frog.
Yes, that Pepe. First appearing in 2005 in Matt Furie’s “Boys Club” he was a hit on image sharing sites such as 4chan due to his silly face and original phrase “feels good man,” which he said in reply to someone asking why he peed with the door open. In a relatively short amount of time he passed into the main stream and was a regular part of internet culture, spawning many new drawings and versions of him for different situations and purposes. Some were even called “rare Pepes” and jokingly spread about like they were special even though everyone knew they were the same as every other version of the character, by all rights Pepe had reached internet stardom. However, this has changed for him very recently. While still a well known symbol of the internet his iconic face has been mixed with various messages of hate and racism. While this has certainly happened to many other memes, it become very common for Pepe, who despite having many other positive or just plain neutral versions of himself, has now been deemed a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League.
Images like this one have been spread around by Anti-Semites and other hate groups, ruining the image of our once beloved frog. The fact that he’s even been labeled a hate symbol at all shows that these images have become quite common, ruining the image of both Pepe himself as well as the internet culture that spawned him and spread him around.
However, it isn’t all gloom and doom for this internet icon. Due to the prevalence of Pepe memes the Anti-Defamation League made it a point to mention on their website that not all posts of Pepe should be considered hateful in origin, and that the context of said post must first be examined to determine whether it was truly meant to be harmful or not. So we need not worry about our old posts of Pepe that were shown in good fun and never hurt anyone, and as long as we keep posting our good memes maybe we can beat out the hate and get Pepe off the list of hate symbols. So keep looking for, making, and posting all of those dank memes, the internet would be a lot more boring without them after all.