Thursday, 16 January 2014

"New trend in Portland": A made-up story for ad clicks, Facebook likes, or maybe just the lolz

I'm cautiously excited to write this, catching a potential internet sensation (not quite a meme) at the start.

Here is a picture called "New trend in Portland" telling you to "share if you think this is nuts". It appeared on my Facebook feed this morning after a friend shared it from a page called Power 104.3, who posted it on 11th Jan 2014. It's been shared 62,205 times at the time I'm writing this.

But there's surprisingly little else on the internet for it. Surprising for a "trend", right?

Here is a video by star999radio on Youtube, called "The New Trend In Portland". It features a presenter filming reactions of his office colleagues as he shows them the picture above. This was apparently shared "1 day ago" (very specific, Youtube). On the video page it has 1,597 views, but the search results show just 131 views, which suggests this is being viewed rapidly at the moment. If you search "new trend in portland", it is the only video on the subject. (Update: The video page now shows 1,708 views since I started writing this post.)

However. Here is one of the original images which "new trend OMG" takes from. It was shared in this discussion on Snopes (awesome hoax/myth busting website) back in February 2010, and also in this discussion on website BritishSnoring.co.uk. So the image itself isn't new.

But, the more tell-tale signs are nothing to do with the images. They are the words "Portland" and "new trend".

Portland is well-known for its alternative cultures and lifestyles, having more in common with (glorious Australian city) Melbourne than with the rest of the States. These stereotypes are so established, US comedians Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen lovingly mock them in the sketch show Portlandia.

So, Portland is an easy target for ridiculing things you don't like, don't understand, find "gross", or think are slightly hippy.

"New trend in X" is designed to both scare and excite people. A new trend? Where? What if it comes to my town? Is this what the cool kids are doing these days? OMG so disgusting! *clicks share*

Combining the two, gives you the perfect mix of 1) gross-out and 2) mocking stereotypes of people you don't like (hipsters, metallers, the young and the weird) to send it round the internet and back.

The truth is, there is no evidence to suggest this is a new trend rather than 2 individuals, or that they even live in Portland.

Both the video above and this website (14th Jan) label it the "front porch" piercing. But I wonder if that's something to do with the earliest mention I can find on this discussion site (16th November 2013) in a board coincidentally titled "The Front Porch" - a board designed for random chat, and coincidentally the most popular discussion board, and the first one you see on the website's home page.

It's worth noting the piercings shown are clear glass/perspex stretchers, not an open hole, which many people think (see comments on Power 104.3's post such as "how do they eat??!1") thanks to poor quality JPGs.

This is all assuming the photos are genuine, and haven't been photoshopped somehow, or they're not just awesome badges to wear under your bottom lip.

Edit: a friend has just pointed out that labret stretchings are common - see these image search results - but usually with coloured plugs. Therefore these images might easily just be people swapping their plug for a ring, just for the camera, or for laughs.

You might think that I'm just helping this (potential) internet sensation by writing a blog post about it. Maybe, maybe not. People who've read this are less likely to click share, knowing that it's not a trend and it's not in Portland.

And naturally, one reason I wrote this was an opportunity to get some blog views. If it gets big and people are searching for it, maybe they'll come here to my crappy little blog, right?

The internet is a big ol' place and so fast-moving that even if this does get seen by everyone and their mum, no-one will remember it next week anyway.

Or maybe they will? Because the real irony is this: if it wasn't a trend already, it will be after this.

30 comments:

  1. How can it be a "stretcher" that sees through to the teeth without an "open hole"?

    ReplyDelete
  2. A clear piece of plexiglass would be inside the ring.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would be disturbed and afraid to set foot in my own city- if it were true. Heh, in all seriousness I live about 30 minutes from downtown Portland and I have never once seen a freakshow with a purposely created hole in their face. Maybe it's just a trend we're waiting to start.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I wanna work where he works.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It is true! As a former resident of Portland, I can attest to the veracity of this story. I have seen oit with my own eyes!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No u havent youre just promoting

      Delete
  6. Does it really matter if it's new or not? Or a trend or not? It's still an absurd thing to do, We don't want to see these people's teeth, sorry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi. Firstly, this post is a commentary/investigation on the development and spread of a meme, rather than a judgement on the thing itself. Secondly, who is the "we" you're representing, and what right do you have to stop people expressing themselves? Maybe you don't want to see visible tattoos or suggestive clothing, but that's people's individual choice, not yours.

      Delete
    2. Shut up you moron. Nobody wants to see this crap.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for your constructive, thoughtful reply, troglodyte.

      Delete
    4. It's MISTER troglodyte to you :)

      Delete
    5. "That's people's individual choice, not yours" really? Go take english 101. Ugh. You give a dude a smartphone and this is what happens

      Delete
  7. I have trouble believing this because in the one photo you can see the top teeth - how is that possible from the chin?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because when most people close their mouth, the bottom teeth tuck behind the front ones. Apparently not the case for you, huh.

      Delete
    2. The teeth dont perfectly align with the lips. Your teeth are slightly below you lips

      Delete
  8. nice information tho , i've shared it..

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well if you notice the lip is held up higher then it should be to expose a portion of the lower teeth. So maybe this is legit. Stupid but legit.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The girl's teeth dont line up with her lips... at all. You can see the top row of her teeth through the "piercing" are considerably (at least an inch) lower than her upper lip. Take another look, they dont line up in the least bit. Photoshop at it's best... or worst. Gauged labrets are real but this is not.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Someone posted this pic on my feed today
    So i researched and found this blog. I love the internet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I second that statement, sir or madam. :D

      Delete
    2. I'm just amazed it's still going round the net, 2 months since I posted this!

      Delete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jez Kemp, nice trot line you have set up here. Fishing for hits with popular memes is brilliant. I wish you the best of luck in funneling the mad, meaningless flow of human attention on the interwebs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, the main reason was to explain & de-mystify the stupidness of the meme. This one has accidentally caught on, I think only because no-one else has written about it and Google shoved it to the top of the search results. I wish the same would happen for a blog post I actually cared about!

      Delete
  14. if you are prone to drooling, this would be a bad move....

    ReplyDelete
  15. Just wouldn't want to see them EAT... mmmmf ... *BaaaaaaarF*

    ReplyDelete
  16. You'd have to give up having a soul patch... Doesn't seem worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Still making its way round Facebook - came up on my feed this morning... thought you might like to know

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for mentioning! Crazy it's still going round, also very interesting :)

      Delete