Wojak

NPC meme

Wojak (Polish: ‘warrior, soldier’), also known as ‘feels guy,’ is a popular internet meme. Depicting a nondescript white man, it is used to generically express emotions such as melancholy, regret, or loneliness. It is often paired with Pepe the Frog.

A variation of Wojak with a gray face, pointy nose and blank expression became a popular visual representation of the ‘NPC meme,’ which gained online notoriety in late 2018. The meme began as a mockery of individuals who appear to lack an internal monologue, comparing them to non-playable characters in video games. The meme gained media attention due to its later usage parodying the alleged herd mentality of liberal activists. This controversial usage of the meme has been attributed to Donald Trump supporters.

‘Wojak’ was originally the nickname of a Polish user on the English-language ‘International’ section of German image board Krautchan. He started posting the picture which later became known as Wojak somewhere around 2010, often accompanying it with the snowclone (cliché and phrasal template) ‘That feel when X.’ It spread to other international image boards, including 4chan, where by 2011 an image of two Wojaks hugging each other under the caption ‘I know that feel bro’ gained popularity. Wojak’s face was also paired with the phrase ‘that feel’ or ‘that feel when.’

In 2016, Wojaks of ridiculed or reformed nature (also referred to as ‘Brainlets’) emerged as a way to assert or mock opinions on intelligence. During the 2018 cryptocurrency crash, pink Wojaks were used by traders prominently on 4chan’s /biz/ board to express their distress over losses.

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