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The Daily Shaft: The Birth of a Meme

Say what you will about the cultural times in which we live, but I think there’s something to be said for witnessing the birth of a new internet meme.  The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been on the market for around a month and a half and in that time its various quarks and foibles have been infiltrating their way into gamer and internet culture.  Though I have nothing other than anecdotal information to back this up, I think Skyrim’s footprint has reached a turning point of exponential growth.

I first noticed this on Monday when director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) tweeted about wanting to rewrite a script so that a character could boast about an arrow to the knee injury.  It continued when a Kotaku reader uploaded an arrow to the knee tattoo that she had designed.  My favourite creation has to be the Skyrim/Benny Hinn mashup.

A note for the uninitiated.  In the fantasy world of Skyrim, players assume the role of a “Dragon Born” character.  In short, the Dragon Born (think an X-Men style mutant) can steal the soul of a dragon upon the moment of its death and also make use of a special power called “Thu’um”.  The Thu’um is a bit like a cross between The Force and The Voice ala Dune. In the below trailer, which features the voice of Christopher Plummer, the Dragon Born uses a Thu’um called “Fus Ro Dah”.  The aforementioned syllabic construction fires out a powerful shockwave.  Presumably since the release of the trailer, the internet has been having no end of fun with Fus Ro Dah.

The official trailer

Benny Hinn

Science nerd

Hacking other games

Footy Ro Dah

The obligatory one featuring a cat

And of course, rapid fire falling down.

So, what’s the point of all this? First: I spent all day dealing with exams, so I didn’t have time to finish the short story review that I wanted to post today.  Second: Lewis Black’s short lived The Root of All Evil once posited that the internet had turned us into a society full of Caligulas.  Where only emperors and pharaohs could demand to see a half dozen transvestites pelt a midget with turnips, the internet and YouTube has empowered us all to that end.  Is it a sign of a decadent society?  Or is it the net result of when the Hoi Palloi goes from consumer of culture to wholesale producer?  All I can say for certain is that future sociologists and anthropologists are going to have no shortage of material when studying the early twenty-first century.