CopOut Teaches People About Tracy Morgan, Dead Memes, et al.
Eagle-eyed, or rather eagle-eared (do eagle’s even hear well?), viewers who have seen Kevin Smith’s latest film CopOut may have heard a passing reference to “All your base”, a tired old Internet meme from the turn of the millennium that was spawned from the poorly translated Sega Megadrive game Zero Wing. If I have to sit here and explain something as ingrained as “All your base” then I really question your knowledge of the Internet and must ask if you’re truly a tech savvy 20-something or a middle aged soccer mom. If you’re the latter I have to ask a follow up question of “what the hell are you doing here” followed by “what the hell are you doing watching Kevin Smith movies”. I mentioned CopOut because it leads into my next observation about the kinds of people who watch Kevin Smith movies. There are two kinds of people who watch his movies and they are either culturally in-tuned young people who will understand the meta humor of his films or quasi-permadrunken “bro” figures who just want to laugh at dick jokes and make obscene gestures to each other.
These “chill out brah” hellspawn are the kind of people who think the Internet consists solely of five websites: Facebook, Break.com, the official UFC website, the Spike TV network website, and YouPorn. If you asked them what the Internet was they’d be the kind of people who responds “it’s like a bunch of wires and computers and cyberspace right” and be dead serious about it, completely oblivious to the “series of tubes” meme. To them the Internet is an outlet for posting pictures from last night’s frat party, looking at bikini models, watching compilations of nut shots, and reading the recap of last night’s homoerotic butt humping olympics. They have absolutely no clue that there is an entire Internet culture and thus are totally unaware of things like memes, how quickly they age, and the threshold of usage they have until they cease to be funny, witty, or culturally relevant. They are a prime example of people who will adopt a meme years (or in this case a decade after it is no longer funny) and treat it like it’s quality entertainment right up there with G4TV’s The International Sexy Ladies Show. After all, we are talking about people here who still watch reruns of MXC and think all of the ball jokes and womanizing humor is to television what The Godfather Part II is to film history.
Recently as I was enjoying lunch I encountered a couple of these incredibly common phenomena watching various techno remixes of “All your base” on YouTube like it was going out of style; though ironically “All your base” did go out of style. Nine years ago. I sat distant from them and simply observed their actions. They weren’t possibly watching these for nostalgic value, no, they were laughing it up at all of the “PWNED” images that blinked on the screen to the beat of the music. They had never seen this before. Ever. How can I deduce that CopOut was directly related to this nonsense? First I began by assessing their clothing; both of them wore pre-bent and pre-rugged hunting caps, both of them had Abercrombie-looking shirts on, and both of them were sporting jorts and flip flops. I shit you not, they were dressed identically. “I would say to them ‘you want ice cream cone’ both of them say yes.”
This is the bro-type “person”, the aforementioned kind who have no sense of intellect when it comes to most things that don’t involve surfing or UFC, clearly aren’t going to be able to tell a tired old Internet meme from a recent fad nor could they tell their ass from a hole in the ground. This leads me to believe that they belong to the second archetype of people who would enjoy Clerks not because the film is brilliant commentary on working class people stuck in a crossroads in their life but because Jay and Silent Bob start singing Jungle Love by Morris Day and the (Motherfucking) Times whenever they’re asked if they sell weed. Likewise these jerkoffs are in the movie theater seeing CopOut not to appreciate the nuances of humor that Kevin Smith laces his movie with but just to hear Tracy Morgan perform stereotypical black jokes and mannerisms. Thus, they picked up the “All your base” reference from the movie and went back to their Bud Light-soaked dormitory and Googled it.
[Editor’s Note: Apparently the movie in question where Morris Day is quoted is actually Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, not Clerks. You get the point I am trying to make though.]
Do you know what the first result for “All your base are belong to us” is on Google? Wikipedia; you know, the website these guys cite as sources in their research papers. Do you know what else shows up on the first page of results? That god awful Know Your Meme web series created by the Sony-owned subsidiary production company Rocketboom. After watching a few corporate sellouts blabber incessantly about memes they know nothing about the bros can browse Wikipedia and see what a bunch of completely mindless drones think about dead memes. The fact that “All your base” went out earlier this century is none of their concern, it’s new to them so they’re going to make your life a living hell by letting you know how current and funny they think this dusty old relic of the Internet is.
With that collective mentality (or lack thereof) I’m surprised they don’t just take it a step further and go to the epicenter of all Internet memes, the “Ate my balls” meme from the late nineties. Testicle-based humor seems like it would be the perfect mixture of kindergarten humor and thoughtlessness that bros would just gobble up gleefully and spam Facebook with. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a resurgence of “Ate my balls” while these jokers try to figure out “what the hell is a web ring brah”.
Internet memes are one of the fundamental bases of humor – catchphrases. There’s no doubt as to why phrases like “All your base are belong to us” or “Mr. T ate my balls” caught on, they were catchy. To many folks like myself who have become so jaded to Internet memes, especially old ones, hearing them brought up out of context by individuals who have absolutely no idea of the reasoning or history behind the joke gets annoying quite fast. It’s one thing to watch an “All your base” remix out of nostalgia but it’s another to be subjected to it because the people in your vicinity have only recently heard of it for the first time and likely assume this is the Internet’s “Next Big Thing”. Perhaps if the group of people discovering new memes weren’t already mind-obliteratingly shallow and socially retarded to begin with their virgin exploration of the Intertubes would be forgivable and cute, but no, when you’re surrounded by people like this all day as they skate to class and jam out to Sublime non-stop you tend to wish the worst for them.
Non-Internet savvy people are the reason why 2 Girls 1 Cup became a famous shock website. At the expense of sounding like a ninety-year-old back in my day a shock website was a still image that was blasted onto your screen and that was it. There was no reasoning behind it. If you were duped into seeing Goatse you were instantly greeted by hello.jpg whereas if you are tricked into 2 Girls 1 Cup you have to actually sit there and watch a video that you can turn away from at any time because unless you are completely mentally incompetent you know what’s about to happen. When someone puts a glass up to someone else’s ass if the first thing you think of isn’t “someone’s about to take a shit in that glass” then by all means you deserve to have your unsuspecting and shallow mind blasted straight out of the water by the Austin Powers steamroller of shock sites.
Let’s just hope they’re stupid enough to fall for Last Measure.