There were a lot of hot memes in 2017 — "First of all...." "Nothing but respect for MY president," "Retire b*tch," "This is the future that liberals want," and the "Roll safe" head-tapping guy, to name a few — but one of the HOTTEST was "Blinking White Guy," whose rapid fire blinks and blank expression truly encompassed some of this year's more baffling moments. And on Thursday, "Blinking White Guy" spoke his truth, giving a quick interview with Good Morning America re: what it's like to be meme-ified.
Turns out the Man Behind the Blinks is one Drew Scanlon, a video producer at gaming website Giant Bomb. His moment in the sun was actually taken from a clip filmed back in 2013, while he and his colleagues played "Starbound," — his editor said, "I’ve been doing some farming with my hoe here..." and Scanlon blinked. The rest is history.
Scanlon isn't quite sure how he blew up so fast, but he has some thoughts on why memes are so popular. "We don't really have a way of communicating body language over the internet, like with text or anything," he told GMA. "And memes are kind of that." Then, he blinked a bunch. It didn't have quite the same skeptical touch, but lightning rarely strikes twice, as they say.
Scanlon's got a good point. Memes are fun, but they're also a good way to convey emotions that defy definition — in fact, it's difficult to describe when it's appropriate to use Blinking White Guy in a tweet. It all started with this:
And it's good for dating:
Other kinds of ... dates.
It's perfectly self-aware.
And it's been referenced by everyone from Terrell Owens to Stephen Colbert.
Scanlon doesn't seem super fazed by his skyrocket to meme fame, likely because he's not often recognized, even though his face has taken over the internet. "People don't expect memes to be real people. People understand that actors are real people that play in movies. But people don't expect that from me," he told Thrillist in an interview this month. "Memes just come from the internet."
Plus, he added, "That GIF is also so many times removed that when you see the original source it doesn't make any sense." (If you've got two hours to spend with some gamers, you can watch the original video here.)
Scanlon's actually been GIFed quite a few times, but this was the only one that went viral. He's not sure why it took off so long after the initial clip was filmed, but considering how wild this year's been - politically and otherwise - it's possible the blinks just fit the moment. "I think the pervasiveness of it also has to do with the fact that there are so many crazy things happening in 2017," Scanlon told Thrillist. "If it was more of a calmer year maybe we wouldn't see it as much."
Scanlon has a point: If there's one good thing about 2017, it's the memes. Now who's going to interview the Snapchat hot dog?