I was scrolling through the internet this week and saw a funny thing. Here it is:
The thing I like the most about this request is its efficiency. Instead of something like “Professor X, may we see your cat?” this student has opted for a more direct approach. Syntactically, it calls to mind the ancient trend of Put Shoe On Head.
Way back in the middle of the second George W. Bush administration*, Put Shoe On Head became a popular request that people made of livestreamers. By their own account, the trend began with a group of YTMND users raiding camgirl sessions on Live Jasmin, making pointless, silly demands. The most famous of these demands was “put shoe on head,” immortalized in YTMND form.
Eventually, the trend spread outwards from harassing sex workers to a more friendly, communal form of trolling. Around 2006 or 2007, you might hop onto Ustream, or a Stickam chat session, and demand that others put their shoe on their head, which is how I encountered it. The trend became so popular that it got the dedicated-site treatment, as elaborate configurations of shoes on heads were cataloged on the now-defunct
Back in 2016, when Facebook was heavily pushing its awful Live product, I proposed bringing back “put shoe on head.” Now, with remote learning, I am proposing it again. The explosive growth of remote learning over the past six months (due to… something, idk what) has led to endless possibilities for putting shoes on heads.
Teachers, listen to your students and put shoe on head. Students, put shoe on head to confuse your teacher. What’s your teacher going to do? Suspend you? From zoom school? In your own house? Because you requested “put shoe on head” in the chat? Who cares! You only do zoom school once.
* I worry that BNet regularly doing callbacks to old memes from the aughts might get kind of tiresome, but part of my problem with pretty much all of the internet-culture coverage I read these days is a complete lack of acknowledgement that the trends and user behaviors we’re experiencing now stretch back much further than people think or recall. Part of this is because archiving and chronicling the internet effectively is next-to-impossible and few were doing it until like 3 years ago, and part of it is because trend reporting incentivizes positioning a trend as new and unique and a departure rather than more accurately framing it as a result of what has come before. (Or maybe I’m a cranky old man clinging to relevancy. You make the call.)
let’s check in on the plant memes
here’s the video described below