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Meme: Loss

A joke with almost a decade of history continues to raise questions among users of social networks.

Some memes, like “Harold hiding pain,” live for a very long time, some, like “The most ambitious crossover,” end on a flash mob on Twitter. However, there are memes that, ten years later, remain a mystery, even for those who have long been involved in memorials.

In 2018, on VKontakte , Twitter and The Question , there were again references and questions about the meme called Loss (or | || || | _), which is much more popular on Reddit and in English-speaking social networks. Judging by the trends of Google , users are really interested again in what “Loss” is.

retells the story of the origin of Loss and explains why many call it the greatest meme in history.

The history of “Ctrl + Alt + Del”

In 2002, American comedian and artist Tim Buckley created the web comic “Ctrl + Alt + Del”, which is still being published. The main characters of all the stories are Ethan, Laila and Lucas: they are addicted to video games, discuss current events, mass and geek culture. Most often, the plots are executed in four frames, as in other web comics, but there are exceptions.

By the end of the 2000s, “Ctrl + Alt + Del” gained viral popularity on social networks and on Reddit, despite simple plots and panache. The comic book creator even tried to make an animated series of him, but the fans took this attempt negatively.

In 2008, we learned about Ctrl + Alt + Del outside the fan community: on June 2, Tim Buckley published a new issue in which there were no dialogues for the first time. In the story, girl Ethana Layla is pregnant, and they discussed this in several series and were preparing to become parents. However, here Ethan comes to the hospital and learns that his beloved suffered a miscarriage. All this the reader should have guessed.

Fans perceived what happened negatively, as they did not expect the comic web comic to turn into a serious drama. According to the author of New York Magazine, even though “Ctrl + Alt + Del” had a story about the love line of Ethan and Lyla, fans did not want to see such a sad ending.

Due to the reaction of fans, Tim Buckley had to further explain the plot in a personal blog. He deleted the post along with fan comments. According to retelling, the artist said that he had experienced the experience of miscarriage of one of the former girls.

A miscarriage is definitely not a joke, but I’m not going to talk about it. Speaking of personal experience, this can be a serious test for a couple. And I understand that a woman is often much harder than a man. However, this does not mean that you will definitely become a passive bag full of tears for the rest of your life. People can heal and move on.

Tim Buckley
creator of the web comic “Ctrl + Alt + Del”

The birth of a comic meme

Along with the popularity of “Ctrl + Alt + Del” on 4Chan and on the Something Awful forums, people who did not like the comic and its creator began to appear. Users of imageboards accused Buckley of being arrogant, began to talk rudely with fans and often insulted other artists.

Soon, the accusations against Buckley turned into a mockery of the most famous release of the comic strip – “Loss”. At 4Chan, they opened new branches for mocking the comic book and its creator: all sorts of plot variations appeared, some of which were particularly tough and used popular images from the movie, cartoons and anime. The moderators had to impose temporary restrictions on the creation of branches with memorial jokes. A few of his examples have been preserved on Tumblr.

One example from tumblr
One example from tumblr

Despite the attempts of fans of “Ctrl + Alt + Del” to stop the spread of the meme outside the community, he quickly dispersed on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. In 2012-2015, hundreds of variations of the same design appeared in the English-language Internet, where they used absolutely any plots and characters.

Wide popularity meme

After 2016, the meme continued to be heard because of its mystery: users knew that this was not just a drawing, but a joke with a long history. However, Reddit figured out how to simplify understanding of the meme, and made a pattern – | || || | _. He repeated the position of the comic book heroes: Ethan enters the hospital, Ethan stands with the doctor, Ethan stands with the doctor and learns about the miscarriage, Ethan stands, Laila lies on her bed.

How to make your own “Loss” meme:

  • take a pattern of four comic squares;
  • arrange people / objects according to lines | || || | _;
  • remember where this joke came from.

The parody of the comic “Ctrl + Alt + Del” began to live separately, intermingling with other memes and intruding into real life. Because of this, many users have seen the meme scheme even where it was not there. For this, at Know Your Meme, it is called “the greatest meme of all time.”

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