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wojak

Wojak

“that feel when no gf”
– Anonymous1)

Ciepła Twarz (lit. “Warm Face”) is a reaction image that was originally designed as the polar opposite2) of Trollface3) on Vichan in 2009, somehow associating with “>that feeling when” and becoming known as the Feels Guy internationally during its prime years.

Nowadays, the image is called Wojak (lit. “Warrior”) as it spawned many variants and derivatives in the late 2010s that nobody really asked for. Despite most people considering it a dead horse, it continues to linger with an unusual absurdist community upholding its continued use.

History

Wojak.

In the late 2000s, the Vichan community began to mock pathetic demotivational posters that rehashed “to uczucie gdy” (that feeling when) by inventing comically absurd feelings.4) Concurrently, a neutral “chłodna twarz” (cool face), or “trollface”,5) emerged and was named “ciepła twarz” (warm face).6)

By sheer timing, the reaction image would be associated with “>that feeling when”, mistranslated as “>that feel when” and shortened to “>tfw”. It isn't exactly known when it surfaced, but we can estimate that it was after September 20087) and before “I wish I was at home playing video games” appeared in December 2009.8)

From there, the Polish user “Wojak” (Wojaczek),9) the same user that Polandball once made fun of, shared the meme to Krautchan in 2010 with said “feel” mistranslation. This was later adopted by 4chan and users dubbed him the “Feels Guy” with “I know that feel bro” as the most popular variant. It may have influenced fandom culture's use of “the feels” back then10) as well.

The story initially ended there, but the 4chan audience changed after the irredentist “Rare Pepe” trend and users started calling him “Wojak”, gaining similar amounts of derivatives and variants. Some noteworthy examples include: the Soyjak, the Boomer, the Zoomer, the NPC, the Doomer, the Coomer, the Poljak, and so forth. Unlike the Pepe meme, it can be argued that Wojak is starting to age.

Notable derivatives

Soyjak

Soyjak. Soyjak is a variant of Wojak that mocks the stereotypical male hipster look with its beard, glasses, and faux shocked expression11)12) which, surprisingly, wasn't mocked until right-wing communities began targeting non-conforming men, who they pejoratively called a cuck, “nu-male”, or soy boy, around late 2017.13)14)15)

The image was first uploaded to 4chan on December 30, 2017, mocking Nintendo fanboys16)17)18) before a generic form was uploaded,19) yet the concept is much older20) and may have non-4chan origins.21) That aside, the image was solely used for ad hominem attacks, insinuating that the target looks like such.

At some point, an absurdist subculture formed as newer derivatives and variants traced over Markiplier,22) Jacksepticeye,23) James YouNiverse,24) John Oberg,25) Tony Soprano,26) etc. This community is very easily identifiable by their odd vernacular (e.g. gem-coal scale,27) “nas”28)) and incoherent sentences, though their creations will just look like a “rare wojak” or “incomprehensible” to normal people.29)30)31)

Boomer

Boomer with sunglasses. The can of Monster Zero Energy is not present for legal reasons. The Boomer, initially called the 30-Year-Old Boomer, is a variant of Wojak that mocks older millennials for being out of touch. It came from 4chan's “Business & Finance” (/biz/) board on April 22, 2018,32) then it became a forced meme as it was spammed on every 4chan board in the following month.33)34)35)36)37)38)

It somehow managed to stick around long enough to spawn the “-oomer” variants, such as the Zoomer,39) the Doomer,40) the Bloomer,41) the Coomer, and so forth. The most popular variant is Wojak trying to sleep, which is disturbed by the Boomer mowing the lawn at 10:00am or blasting incredibly loud music at 03:00am.

NPC

NPC. The NPC, also known as NPC Wojak, is a variant of Wojak that is used to mock or point out the contradictions in mainstream ideas and opinions. It stems from an egotistical 4chan post suggesting that everyday people are merely pretending to be human, like non-playable characters, from July 7, 2016.42)

While the post is absolutely delusional, the conspiracy-laden political crowd would latch onto it and gave it a form, two years later, on September 7, 2018.43) Many people were warned about the context,44)45) though it actually had an inverse effect by proving its point46) and it even spawned a small $10,000 contest.47)

The most common format is the “Angry NPC Wojak”, a basic four-panel comic where the NPC is refuted and becomes enraged. Obviously, it's a straw man fallacy, yet sits high on the hierarchy of disagreement when compared to the Soyjak. In 2022, it evolved into “I Support The Current Thing” on Twitter48)49) to be picked up by the egotistical oligarch Elon Musk.50)

Coomer

Coomer. The Coomer is a variant of Wojak that mocks porn addicts, as inferred from his disheveled appearance, an unnerving grin, and bloodshot eyes from prolonged screen exposure. It came from 4chan's “Health & Fitness” (/fit/) board on December 22, 2018,51) though it took months for him to be properly weaponized.52)

He was popularized in a joke pledge which asked No Nut November participants to set it as their profile picture if they fail the 2019 event,53) then it was caught in a journalist's critique of the challenge.54) Despite this, the term “coomer” continues to be a popular descriptor or pejorative, replacing “cumbrain”.55)

Poljak

Poljak.Le /pol/ face”, also known as Chudjak56) or Poljak, is a variant of Wojak that is used to mock far-right political takes. It borrow the likeness of two far-right mass shooters who committed the Gilroy shooting and El Paso shooting in 2019 as both perpetrators happen to be bespectacled and chinless (“chinlet”).57)58)

The first iteration surfaced on August 8, 2019,59) though this mostly circulated as “le kohl face” on Kohlchan.60) It was later refined by the Leftypol community on Bunkerchan around August 30, 202061) and weaponized in a grand raid on 4chan's /pol/ board on October 1, 2020 that lasted62) a few days.63)64)

In 2022, people noted that far-right Twitter users would unironically state that “Billions Must Die”,65) which caused a resurgence of the character in mockery of said phrase. Some examples include “millions must live/laugh/love66) and “millions must fry”,67) then somebody had him wear a shirt with said phrase on it.68) At some point, the phrase “The West Has Fallen” was included in the mocked phrases.

2020 Wojak Race War

One example of a black Wojak. In November 2020, a black artist named “Ami” designed a black-skinned Wojak,69) which certainly wasn't the first, but this specific variant would gain a significant amount of traction on social media around December 20, 2020.70)71)72)73) Naturally, this angered the far-right white nationalists that had been infesting 4chan.74)75)

For a brief period of time, people made similar variants, including the Young Black Doomer.76) It's not clear what happened next, but there was an uptick in racial humor77)78)79) that some dubbed a “Wojak Race War”,80) though it's misleading to claim that such humor is a recent development.81)

Notes

  • The actual Polish pronunciation of “wojak” is closer to “voyak” (вояк) or “vojak”, not “woe jack”.
    • For NBA fans, this means that the Woj Bomb would sound like “Voy Bomb” in Polish.
    • The common Anglicized reading of “Wojak” would eventually lead to it being spelled as “Wojack”, which is kinda funny as shit for trolling reasons. Similarly, “Soyjak” becomes “Soyjack”.
  • While it did exist during the late 2000s rage comic fad, these paths never cross since rage comics already had a neutral “Poker Face” and the “Forever Alone” reaction image.

See also

1)
"that feel when no gf" (February 23, 2011). 4chan /a/.
3)
It should be noted that the alternate name for “Trollface” (Troll Face) was “Coolface” (Cool Face) which is intentionally taken from a rage comic and intended to troll people who knew its true name.
4)
For example: “that feeling when you have that feeling”, “that feeling when the grass grows but you don't”, “that feeling when you lick the walls of your room because you think it's the wieliczka salt mine”, “that feeling when you kick a can and it bounces off the wall into your anus”, “that feeling when you take a shit and gravity suddenly reverses so all the shit falls into your mouth”, etc.
5) , 7)
"Comic - Trolls" (September 19, 2008). DeviantArt.
8)
"What do You See in This Picture?" (December 16, 2009). Sad and Useless.
9)
Wojaczek !m.r89cK52.” (Wojak) was an attention-seeking Polish tripcode user who allegedly lives in the Praga district of Warsaw. He was known for his fucked-up views and right-wing political beliefs.
10)
"Feels". Fanlore.
11)
"Faux surprise face is the new duckface" (January 15, 2015). Mashable.
12)
The faux shocked expression was a trend that existed in the early 2010s, but wasn't considered overused as duck face until the mid-2010s. I recall taking a picture with a guy who made this face around 2013.
13)
"The Nu-Male open mouth" (October 24, 2017). 4chan /pol/.
15)
"The NU-MALE/soy boy smile" (December 26, 2017). 4chan /pol/.
16)
">>83655728 >>83655692 >>83655876 >>83655971" (December 30, 2017). 4chan /int/.
17)
">mom and her boyfriend got me a switch!" (December 30, 2017). 4chan /v/.
18)
"Anyone here get any based gifts in christmas?" (December 30, 2017). 4chan /pol/.
20)
There is evidence of less popular attempts at emulating the infamous look, such as the Soylent Wojak whose name is an obvious reference to the 1983 science-fiction film Soylent Green.
21)
Furthermore, it's possible that the image was imported from Krautchan or Ylilauta, considering that it was uploaded to the “International” board and Krautchan had a history with Wojak (e.g. Poljak's origins).
23)
"Smackin balls with the LADS!" (April 12, 2020). YouTube.
27)
In short, “gem” (or “gemerald”) is high effort/quality, while “coal” is low effort/quality. These words tend to stand out since they're the only words that they use when they aren't echoing or quoting what was said.
28)
“NAS” is short for “Not a Soyjak”, often referring to Wojak derivatives with no direct or ironic ties to Soyjak.
31)
"bro what the hell is this wojak" [Archive] (January 11, 2023). Twitter.
32)
">that 30 year old boomer that holds cryptos" (April 22, 2018). 4chan /biz/.
33)
">that 30 year old boomer that goes on /pol/" (April 30, 2018). 4chan /pol/.
40)
"What are some doomer books?" (September 16, 2018). 4chan /lit/.
42)
"Are You an NPC?" (July 7, 2016). 4chan /v/.
43)
"How do we solve the NPC quest?" (September 7, 2018). 4chan /pol/.
48)
"https://t.co/p4jmA9qvik" (March 1, 2022). Twitter.
50)
"https://t.co/CfoJ3qdCRJ" (March 14, 2022). Twitter.
52)
"Any games for 20 year old coomers?" (May 6, 2019). 4chan /v/.
53)
"TAKE THE PLEDGE" [Archive 2] (October 29, 2019). Twitter.
55)
The term “coomer”, a successor to “cumbrain”, describes a person who will dedicate their entire presence to pornography and may act uncomfortably horny towards other people. However, there is some nuance as it can be used incorrectly against normal people who enjoy pornography like a regular person.
56)
“Chudjak” is a semi-ironic name invoking the “chud” pejorative, referencing an acronym popularized by Chapo Trap House as a general pejorative for right-wingers in 2017.
58)
">le /pol/ face" (August 4, 2019). 4chan /int/.
59)
"back to /pol/ incel" (August 8, 2019). 4chan /biz/.
60)
It's known that “nazi” and “pedophile” are terms often used to describe Kohlchan, but it isn't known if the website being accused of the Halle synagogue shooting on October 9, 2019 was ever a factor.
61)
"New version" (August 30, 2020). Bunkerchan /leftypol/.
62)
The /leftypol/ tactic of avoiding pointless debates by posting said image again was surprisingly effective, while /pol/'s response was disheveled as they made weak edits and it took /pol/ two days to raid the right board back. In the end, /pol/ makes a YouTube video with >Star Wars on the thumbnail, then rewrote their own history by claiming that /leftypol/ was “locked” when no such thing happened. It took two days.
63)
"/Pol/ vs. /Leftypol/" (October 4, 2020). YouTube.
67)
"WELCOME TO CHUDBURGER MILLIONS MUST FRY" (September 14, 2022). iFunny.
68)
"No.398473368" (October 5, 2022). 4chan /pol/.
70)
"why she so fine" (December 20, 2020). Twitter.
72)
"https://t.co/rpRdAtHuHw" (December 20, 2020). Twitter.
74)
"No.297830281" (December 21, 2020). 4chan /pol/.
76)
"i made it look better" (December 21, 2020). Twitter.
77)
"🙂" (December 21, 2020). Twitter.
78)
"😂" (December 22, 2020). Twitter.
79)
"https://t.co/uxZGIfh6Zu" (December 23, 2020). Twitter.
81)
It should be noted that “normie” humor pages on Facebook and iFunny often recycle low-brow racist jokes, so it's disingenuous for right-wing commentators to pretend that it's a recent development when it's actually just “normie” culture, on top of 4chan users concurrently fighting with the artist.
wojak.txt · Last modified: 2024-05-26 03:33:32 by namelessrumia