The Rise of the Ugandan Knuckles

A VRChat Commentary

By: Lucas Henkel | Arts & Entertainment Editors
January 19, 2018

As the clock strikes midnight, a new year begins with a bang. And when I say a bang, I really do mean a bang, or at least for the Internet community. Not only does the year literally start out with the Logan Paul Suicide Forest controversy, but a new meme has already spawned. A meme to surpass all memes. Yes, you read the title right: The Ugandan Knuckles.

If you’ve been checking YouTube, or any social media for that matter, odds are you’ve probably stumbled across one of these buggers, asking yourself, “What in the heck am I looking at?” If not that, you’ve probably discovered the meme after walking into class on the first day of this semester, only to end up hearing half of your classmates clicking their tongues whilst asking with a heavy accent, “Do you know the way?”

Sounds stupid? Well, that’s because it is stupid. I mean, where do I even begin with this: The fact that this meme is so widespread or the fact that this meme originated from a dumb animation that came out literally a year ago? Back in February of 2017, an animator by the name of Gregzilla reviewed a game titled Sonic Lost World. During that video, he there was a brief one-second gag of a goofily drawn Knuckles saying “Oh no!” as a sort of reaction. Now at the time, nothing really drew attention towards that clip. That is until two weeks later when the same animator releases a thirty-second video of the Knuckles singing a song by The Ink Spots.

From then on, the animation of Knuckles was forever immortalized on the web. I’m not quite sure why that video had such a response, but the next thing you know, people started doing their own versions left and right. One personal favorite of mine was where some guy decided to do it the song Ocean Man (cause why not). Of course, though, this isn’t the meme we all know and mostly love. No no no, that all came to fruition about a month ago with a YouTuber by the name of Stanhlsby, who decided it would be funny to upload a video of him and a group of other people to play a game called VRChat and start pestering everyone around them.

Being honest, I’m not particularly sure what prompted Stanhlsby to make this video. I’m not even sure why it was decided that their ethnicity should be Ugandan of all things. From what I’ve heard, it’s supposed to be referencing a weird no-budget Ugandan action movie titled Who Killed Captain Alex (which is truly a spectacle to behold if you haven’t heard of it before). Either way, the meme practically took the gaming world by storm ever since then. Bigger YouTubers such as Jameskii, Pyrocynical, and Mini Ladd started participating in such shenanigans and the next thing you knew, the game has been transformed from a VR version of Second Life to “Uganda Simulator 2018”. Having practically no self-dignity, I actually ended up downloading VRChat a bit back with a couple friends of mine. Needless to say, it was a very stupid session filled with nonstop laughing, spitting, and clicking (It’s a shame I’ve lost the live-stream footage from that night).

On the plus side, I do have this screenshot from that night.

Now anyways, if it isn’t obvious already, the meme didn’t just affect the gaming world, it affected the real world as well. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I can guarantee you that at least one of your friends of classmates referenced the joke the day we all came back to school. It wasn’t even five minutes into second period when a student who sat behind me leaned forward asked me if I “knew the way”. Obviously, I did the most natural thing to do in that situation… I clicked my tongue in response. Next thing I knew, I walked into third period only to discover half the class knew the meme and started doing the exact same thing.

This is where I begin asking myself if I should be concerned that the meme is perhaps a little bit too popular. Now I ask myself this of all questions, mainly because of all the things that could be done with the meme. I mean, let’s face it, there’s a major difference between doing the joke in person and online. One of them allows you to be anonymous and have a good laugh, and the other will basically make you look crazy. But apart from that, this is quickly becoming one of those memes that get applied to literally every situation possible. Now, of course, this is both a good thing and a bad thing.

 

As funny as most of the content I’ve seen, there are a few “iffy” images and posts out there that I’d prefer not to have seen. It’s even gone so far as to turning the Ugandan Knuckles as a hate symbol similar to that of Pepe the Frog–albeit at a much lesser extent as of this time. It always both surprises me and disappoints me how the internet will always find a way to turn anything racist. But with all that said and done, personally, I don’t find the meme inherently racist–despite the stereotypical African accent and everything. Although I do admit I can see why some people may get their panties in a twist over it, I still find it incredibly absurd that people get offended by such a stupid joke that’s about as “hateful” as the Frenchman from Monty Python.

But, I’m not wading any further into that cesspool, after all, that’s Polygon‘s job to tear the meme a new one. As for me, I’m mainly here for the ride. As both a gamer and a connoisseur of memes, I’m going to milk this as much as I can–this article being proof. It’s a shame that eventually, and inevitably, this meme will die. Just like the widespread Crash Bandicoot “Whoa!” meme from a while back, people are soon going to forget about all this, and soon, all that’ll be left are the now irrelevant YouTube videos from that time.

So take my advice, have fun with it while you can.

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Wow, it's funny to realize that this is probably the school's weirdest article to be published yet. But I mean hey, it's at least relevant, right?

So, what do you think of the Ugandan Knuckles meme?

Is it funny?
Is it annoying?
Do you even care about it in general?

Please, take my small poll, rate it in the user reviews section or or even write it in the comments below.
I’m curious to see what responses I’ll get.

And remember: “We must find de wey!”

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