Thursday, December 07, 2006

Birth of a Meme: "Tears of Awesome"

One of the more memorable items in last week's Wonkette entry about condom breakage and closed social douchebag networking site Late Night Shots (see my previous entry) came in a Dec. 3 comment from user Josette:
"The brutality of this exchange brought tears to my eyes. Tears of AWESOME."
That's a great turn of phrase and I was curious as to its origin. There just aren't very many occurrences of the phrase "tears of awesome." (Google only finds 23 right now.)

The earliest online work listed in Google is from October, 1998, where in the Tell Us Your Story discussion forum, poster Bobby Greer uses it as a partial phrase in a very sincere and snark-free paragraph:
"He lived in a barren shack in West Texas, outside of Abilene. My eyes still fill with tears of awesome inspiration when I think of him."
DC's own Virgle Kent has a similar usage from November 2005 (he seems to be having blog issues right now):
"...with my hard on, The Flurry is crying tears of awesome joy, Pretty Ricky is still in traumatic shock."
However, in its purest form, the earliest online sighting is pretty recent:

* A Jan 27, 2006 post to the Words of the Mind forum (focused on anime, video games, etc.) by user BlademasterNick:
"You should see the top of my desk. You will cry tears of awesome, for the awesome will spread on to you."
Later sightings:

* This Oct. 2, 2006 post by user OctopusPrime in the AllSpark forums (a Transformers fan board):
"I am crying tears of awesome right now."
* An Oct. 26, 2006 entry by LiveJournaler Koreagle:
"The first time Goku and Vegeta Fight, when Goku goes Kayoken x3 and shoots his Kamehameha at Vegeta's Beam, I just about bust a nut in tears of awesome."
* A Nov 16, 2006 comment by blogger Stacie Ponder in this Genre Girls entry:
[previous comment] "...It can only end in tears."

"Tears of awesome, Brian!"
I e-mailed the people to find out if they came up with the phrase on their own, or if they got it from somewhere else -- Stacie has been the only one to respond to date, and she says it just kind of came together as a synthesis of "tears of rage" and "awesome."

So, while it's possible there was some cross-pollination between the anime/transformer/video game forum aficionados, it's also possible that people just came up with it independently, perhaps in response to some linguistic trigger event.

There have been a few other appearances of "tears of awesome" since the Wonkette mention, but as the philosopher Sammy Hagar said, "Only time will tell if we stand the test of time."

Anyway, I registered the domain, just to keep from the (other) domain squatters, and to try out GoDaddy; I have no idea what I would use it for, if anything, other than to redirect it here.

If anyone has any other insights as to the origins of the phrase, please let me know.

No comments: