In the wake of tragedy, loss, and terror, the Arthur?s Fist meme acts as a perfect reaction photo to many of the sorrowful events that took place over 2016.
The screenshot comes from an episode of the PBS Children?s series ?Arthur?, called Arthur?s Big Hit, which aired in Canada January 2000. During the episode, Arthur gets furious at his little sister DW when she crashes his model airplane, thus explaining the reasoning for the fist (skip to 3:04 of the video). Arthur ends up punching DW, which as a chid was a very traumatizing scene to me.
So when was this image first used as a meme? And how did it become so popular?
According to the online meme encyclopedia knowyourmeme.com, the shot of Arthur?s clenched fist was first used as a reaction photo July 27, 2016 by Twitter user @AlmostJt. This was his tweet:
The very next day, Reddit user axedowg captioned the same image of Arthur?s fist to express his anger towards the events that lead up to the death of Harambe the gorilla, where it received more than 4,000 votes and 130 comments in just 5 days.
The reaction photo began to spread like wildfire, as internet users everywhere realized that their favourite childhood cartoon character?s fist was the perfect representation of their fear and frustration to every aspect of life ? from mundane ?first world problems? to the death of British pop stars and acts of racism and intolerance worldwide.
Since then, countless versions of the meme have been created, retweeted, and dispersed throughout the worldwide web. Here are just a few examples?
? Okay, so you get the idea. If I were to go into a deep analysis about the reasoning behind the success of this meme, I would say it probably has something to do with the idea of playing towards our generation?s nostalgia; taking a non-threatening children?s cartoon character many of us know and love and portraying him as angry and frustrated is funny in a way I can?t quite explain.
In fact, Arthur?s fist became so popular that it has even been made in to commercially available products such as tank tops and sweatpants.
Really? Who would wear these????
The Arthur fist is definitely on my top 5 list of best memes that came out of 2016, due to its widespread relevance, nostalgic origin and inoffensive nature. What to you think? Is this meme totally ridiculously overrated, or is it tastefully amusing?