Believe it or not, I experienced the conception of the Pepe meme. Not the actual drawing, I wasn’t over the shoulder of artist Matt Furie while he made his comics, but I was in the catacombs of an online forum called 4chan around 2009.
Now, why would a Black person be on such a depraved site, well known for harboring one of the most racist sheltered white-boy roach nests? That’s a topic for another time. But I’ve seen the birth of many memes. I don’t know the day Pepe turned into simply a character to be spread that has a wide emotional range, but he used to represent depressed loner virgin “no gf” males primarily for a long time. I remember when his tagline was “feels bad man” also or “That feeling when X will never happen…”
You see that pinkish background? That’s the main background color 4chan uses on most of its boards.
I don’t really miss this era, I feel like his second evolution into a general personification of sadness was a good path for Pepe. He joined forces with Wojak aka “Feels Guy” aka Voldemort, in their quest to express sadness and failure for us humans. Both of them had some fun adventures together. I remember a distinct storyline where Pepe was having an affair with Wojack’s girlfriend “Feels girl.” I also remember Pepe taking a dump on Wojack a lot too for some reason…
The timeline of Pepe peaks again during the “Rare Pepe” phase. This where I think he became really mainstream. I think I saw Jacksfilms on Youtube talking about Rare Pepes and I was like…yup he’s a “normie” (mainstream) meme now. People actually bought heavily edited pictures of Pepe like some sort of trading game. I even “collected” a few Rare Pepes:
That’s all your getting…I ain’t givin up my stash.
Memes were born spontaneously and quickly on 4chan because really those suburban neck-beards had nothing really else to do. While it was a very racist forum, I didn’t see a lot of racist Pepe memes. Actually I can’t remember any, and there were many versions of Pepe. So for Pepe to be adapted into a racist symbol is perplexing to me. Actually I do remember a racist Pepe, on the board called “/pol/” or “Politically incorrect.” He was outfitted in Nazi uniform probably doing a sig-heil or whatever it’s called. But other than that overtly racist board, it wasn’t widely spread.
My point in all this. My points in making this blog post. Is to show how shortly Pepe was a racist symbol. The /pol/ Pepe was an isolated Pepe. From 2009 until around 2016 Pepe was not a racist symbol, yet he is now officially recognized as one because some “Stormfront” assholes used him like twice for their racist agenda.
REST IN PIECE SWEET PRINCE