These days, memes have become mainstream. The biggest indicator of this change (aside from adults constantly sending me strange new memes with Minions) is that the people whose images have been transformed into internet laughingstocks are being vocal about their experiences .
Earlier this year, the girl who inspired the "Ermahgerd" meme offered her experience becoming a global sensation, and she took it in stride. Despite her sunny attitude, her account was still a reminder that there are real people behind these typically hilarious bits of web glory, a fact we tend to ignore.
Now, the man behind "Fedora Guy" has spoken to Buzzfeed about what it's like living life post-meme fame, and you'll be happy to hear that he's doing just fine.
Jerry Messing is actually an actor and I'm pretty surprised most of us didn't recognize him before
I must have seen the *tips fedora* meme circulated around Reddit, Tumblr, and beyond hundreds of times, but I never realized that this is an actor who I've seen in multiple movies and TV shows including Freaks and Geeks, Addams Family Reunion, and Even Stevens.
He was taking headshots when the fedora pic in question was snapped. Jerry had finished taking the more conventional shots and decided to do a funny one where he was tipping his hat. That ended up online, and quickly became a meme.
"Fedora Guy" has become associated with the dregs of the internet: MRA's, neckbeards, and trolls
With the accompanying phrases "tips fedora" and "m'lady," Jerry as Fedora Guy quickly became a sensation across the internet, used to mock men who wear fedoras as a fashion accessory and often sport a neckbeard to boot.
But he isn't fazed by the unwanted attention at all
As Buzzfeed caught up with Jerry, he laid out exactly how being meme-famous made him feel. And, though he's not too fond of neckbeards, he's having a fine time with the development.
I’m certainly not thrilled with the communities the photo has come to represent, but it isn’t something I can really do anything about - so, I don’t let it bother me.
That's the spirit! However, he was quick to point out that he does not align himself with the ideology his meme continues to represent.
Because of the fedora meme, many people seem to be making many assumptions about me, first and foremost, my beliefs. No person should be judged by a measure they aren’t even compliant to; a picture may be worth a thousand words, but it is not ideals.
It's safe to say that Jerry is one sensible and understanding guy.
It helped that he hardly used the internet
Luckily for him, his internet use was devoted much more to gaming than it was to trolling message boards for self-appearances.
For me, internet use has been eighty percent gaming use and twenty percent socializing on a personal basis with long distance friends.
He didn't even know that he was a meme until it had already been popular for a full year. By then, there was nothing left to fight against, and he continues to go on with his life. As internet culture only becomes more prolific, I suppose we should all adopt this mindset, since any of us could be next.