Anyone who spends time on the internet, especially on social media or somewhere like 4Chan, will know what a meme is. If you would have told me 20 years ago that people around the world would go crazy for the simple combination of an image and catchphrase, I would have just laughed at you. However, some of the more famous examples have become integral parts of modern society. None more so than Pepe the Frog.
Back in 2005, Matt Furie created Pepe the Frog as part of his Boy’s Club comic strip. By the end of the decade the little green dude’s popularity had begin to spread across imageboards and Myspace. By 2015, he’d become one of the most popular memes on the internet. Much to the bemusement of his creator. Then, things took a dark turn and the character was hijacked by the alt-right and even the Trump campaign. The new documentary from Arthur Jones, Feels Good Man, tells this strange story.
Whatever your thoughts on internet culture are, Feels Good Man is an intelligent and thought-provoking film. There’s an important point here about intellectual property and the way that once something enters the online sphere it seems to become fair game. When the creation outgrows the creator, anything can happen. The popularity of Pepe the Frog is a strange phenomenon which Feels Good Man does a great job of explaining.
Feels Good Man screened at Fantasia Festival.