Memes come and go into our lives. Some may be fleeting and some stick around for years. But how often do we know their origin story? Where did it start? Why has it become so popular? If there’s a person in the meme, what do they think of becoming an (internet) household face? Well I can help solve the mystery of one meme – this guy:
Here’s White Guy Blinking, a GIF used to express disbelief, and in most cases a well-known fact or relatable situation.
But who exactly is this guy? Well his name is Drew Scanlon and for certain types, he was already a well-known dude on the internet. He’s a video producer at Giant Bomb, a popular gaming website, and stars in multiple videos and podcasts for the site. So Drew was already used to fans clipping out GIFs of himself from the site, but never as fervent as this.
In fact, the blinking GIF is from a 2013 Giant Bomb show called Unprofessional Fridays. In the video, Drew is watching a co-worker Jeff Gerstmann play a game called Starbound, and while he’s playing, Jeff says, “I’ve been doing some farming with my hoe here…”
Drew’s reaction is naturally the one anyone with a dirty/comical mind would have, and if you’re a GIF maker, you know it’s a perfect reaction shot. But Drew told UK’s The Guardian that he doesn’t really remember shooting this particular video.
“I think a lot of our effort in these videos is spent on getting each other to laugh, to provide things for other people to react to or riff off. My reaction was, I think, part of that.”
And of course, he had no idea that this GIF would resurface four years later. “People have passed around gifs of us for as long as I’ve worked at Giant Bomb,” he told the Guardian. “It’s certainly a first for me.”
And it first recirculated earlier this year with a tweet that has nothing to do with video games, but rather biology class:
A fan sent Drew the biology meme to let him know his GIF lives on, and from that point forward, the RTs were endless and he soon became an international meme.
So how does Drew feel about being right-click saved all around the interwebs? He’s totally cool with it. “I like what memes can do for people. They’re such fun, throwaway things I see. These memes have been generally positive. It’s a little scary because there’s always the danger someone could change it to something different. It’s not like I’ve a say in what the internet does with a gif of my face. But I’m pleased to see people are enjoying it.”
Oh, they are.