They're climbing out your computer screens, but they're not snatching anybody up. Memes are pretty nice in real life, it turns out.
That's what the Atlantic's resident video gal, Kasia Cieplak-Mayr Von Baldegg, found out at last weekend's ROFLCon. Described by Von Baldegg as essentially the world's most ironic and sincere homage to internet memes, the annual convention at MIT brings together the men, women and children responsible for our culture's newest canon, viral videos. In this world, you're better read if you know who "Huh guy" is. If your knowledge stops after "David After Dentist," forget it. You're nobody.
To document her IRL adventures, Von Baldegg put together an instructive piece of documentary video. Along with ROFLCon founders Christina Xu and Tim Hwang, the viral stars we know and love are all (or mostly) there, catching some real sun on MIT's grounds as they explain their successes, which often benefited from collaborative meme-ing (see Autotuned "Bed Intruder" and Nyan-Cat), as well as their attempts to extend those successes as long as they possibly can (see David After Dentist t-shirts).
For those of you who've never been on YouTube, because, I don't know, you're scared your computer is watching you, think of this as a useful primer. If you're the type who rolls your eyes the moment you read explanations of ROFLCon, because obviously you know what ROFLCon is, don't worry! Even you will learn a thing or two. Von Baldegg is quite the subtle investigative journalist. Behold, "Huh Guy"s confession about adlibbing (!), Double Rainbow Guy's love of Jennifer Aniston, which trumps even his love of God, and the many "businesses" of Antoine Dodson.
WATCH "The Viral Video Stars Of ROFLCon":