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polandball

Polandball

Polandball, also known as Countryballs, is an art style that is used for historical and political shitposting. The format had initially emerged on Krautchan in September 2009, where it started out as non-political jabs at a certain Polish regular of their community.

History

On August 12, 2009, users of the Polish sports forum Kibice proposed to draw the flag of Poland on the circular “drawball.com” canvas1)2) and quickly rallied support from Nasza Klasa and Wykop.3) It did succeed by August 15, 2009, though there were many counterattacks including a 4chan-led DDoS attack on Wykop and Nasza Klasa4) after they failed to draw a giant swastika over it.5)

In the following month, the event allegedly inspired a British user named “Falco” to draw simple comics that were originally meant to troll a Polish user named “Wojak” (Wojaczek) on Krautchan's “International” (/int/) board. This is why Polandball uses an inverted flag,6) spoke English poorly (e.g. “Poland cannot into space”), and were usually shown crying by the end of the comic.

At some point, the format deviated to poke fun at international relations, exploding in popularity as it spread to 4chan by November 20097) and mainstream websites like Facebook. The format eventually decayed as political tryhards and self-proclaimed history buffs started exploiting it, then people would start to draw bodied “Countryhumans” which eventually led to Hetalia-like fan art and gay porn.

Criticism

The format has a low barrier of entry and tends to oversimplify complex topics, which allows it to become a low-effort propaganda tool as people rarely do their own research and may presume memes are truthful, furthering fears of a post-literate society. Such efforts have been observed on Reddit, where the Chinese anti-establishment faction had an odd interest with /r/polandball.8)

Notes

  • The ominous bird with red robes is called the “Omsk bird” (Омская птица) or “Winged Doom”, which references a Russian copypasta from Sosach. Some boards use this as their “Unknown” flag.
1)
"Re: Humor - dowcipy, śmieszne linki" (August 12, 2009). Kibice.
2)
"malujemy flagę Polski!" (August 12, 2009). Kibice.
4)
"Nasza-Klasa już działa (akt.)" (August 18, 2009). Dziennik Internautów.
6)
An upside-down flag of Poland (🇵🇱) resembles the flags of Monaco (🇲🇨) or Indonesia (🇮🇩) instead. It should be noted that upside-down flags are normally considered a sign of distress or disrespect.
7)
"This thread desperately needs Polandball" (November 15, 2009). 4chan /a/.
polandball.txt · Last modified: 2024-05-07 05:48:30 by namelessrumia