You Were the Man Then, Dog
May 15, 2019 10:10 AM   Subscribe

From humble beginnings as a one-off parody of a goofy Sean Connery line, You're The Man Now Dog (YTMND) grew to become a landmark of mid-00s web culture, with its simple premise of user-generated GIF/image collages paired with text and a looping sound file spawning countless enduring memes and viral fads from the sublime and the mesmerizing to the inane and the ridiculous. While the community declined in the wake of YouTube, Vine, /r/GifSound, and other social media, and creator Max Goldberg grew increasingly ambivalent about its future in the face of medical and moderation problems, the site itself survived as a time capsule of high weirdness from the glory days of web 2.0. But now, one year after shutting down new sign-ups, YTMND has at long last gone offline for good. Punch the "." key, for god's sake, then look inside for an archive of some of the best YTMNDs of all time.

YTMND Archives

Given its pivotal role in web culture, YTMND was archived a number of times before its demise. Most prestigious was the American Folklife Center's Web Culture mirror of the site -- which, despite carrying the imprimatur of the Library of Congress, does a notably poor job of archiving the site's actual content (it's MetaFilter archive fares a little better, though). The intrepid Archive Team also completed a full archive of the site last year with help from Goldberg, available now on the Internet Archive... albeit as a series of multi-gigabyte data files.

The most usable YTMND archive is through Archive.org's Wayback Machine, which has saved a huge swath of pages and even search results for latter-day browsing (just change the word "site" in this URL to an arbitrary keyword to see a list of matching sites). Most of the following archived YTMND sites will play in browser, though no promises for mobile devices; YouTube mirrors provided where possible.

The most-viewed YTMNDs of all time

Comprehensive list of YTMND memes (fads) on the archived wiki; each has a page listing background info and examples

Selections:

Picard Song [YT] — UALUEALUEALEUALE [YT] — 3.141592653589793... [YT] — Arnold shares his deepest feelings [YT]

Paris Hilton Doesn't Change Facial Expressions [YT] — Mom's Spaghetti [YT] — Blue Ball Machine [YT or mirror] — The Future of Our World [YT]

The UnFunny Truth About Scientology [YT] — What is love? [YT remix] — HamsterDance [mirror] — Safety Not Guaranteed [YT; also a movie!]

Hippo [YT] — Cosby Bebop [YT] — Holy f*cking shit, it's a dinosaur! [YT] — What you see when you die [YT]

lol, internet [YT compilation] — Cuppycake Gumdrops [mirror] — Chewbacca's Christmas Carol [YT] — New Talent on 60 Minutes [YT]

Ultimate Bedside Surprise [YT compilation] — OMG secret nazi forestReligion and politics [YT] — We Didn't Start This Website [YT]

And some of my personal favorites:

Free Cow! [YT] — 2001: A Baby OdysseyStupid Sexy Flanders! - Artemis - Final Staring Contest for the Fate of the Internet

Darth Vader gets his Christmas wish [YT] — Stephen Hawking's Time Machine [YT] — Text-to-speech generator fails at life

MacGyver saves the cast of LostFractal Air ForceButtering Obama128 Pianos

MeFi on YTMND (Archive.org versions used where needed so threads with multiple YTMND links work):

2002 post on the original one-shot yourethemannowdog.com
2004 post on the growing platform
2005 dissection of the Vader NOOOOOO! meme
2006 discussion of the epic YTMND vs. eBaumsworld feud
2007 post on one YTMND that led to communal sharing of favorite sites
An excellent round-up post by WCityMike deleted for being a double of the previous discussion
Discussion of a heartbreaking YTMND about Animal Crossing [mirror of the source comic]
MeFites enjoy the purring of a virtual cat
The weird true story behind the original "X never changes facial expressions" meme

Other links of interest:

Know Your Meme on YTMND, including its alternate universes and sub-entries

TVTropes' extensive entry on YTMND

On YouTube, YTMNDsGifCollections makes themed compilations of various meme fads, while YTMND2012 mirrors popular sites for posterity. Also, a site made for web nostalgia RPG Emily Is Away mirrors some of the top sites from circa 2007.

4chan: The Movie showcases a hypnotic stream of GIFs popular on YTMND and other sites at the time

Feel the history crashing through your veins: An audiovisual timeline of the most popular internet memes, 2004-2019.
posted by Rhaomi (57 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
Picard Song and the NOOOOooolller coaster were my go-tos.

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posted by Fleebnork at 10:13 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


RIP groovy mashed potatoes and it's a trap rap.
posted by seraphine at 10:18 AM on May 15


I've never actually seen the scene that "You're the man now, dog" comes from. Holy shit that's some bad writing.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:18 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]


Some of the shortest ones were my favorites, including Oh Snap and the still-hysterical Roll Out (complete with photo of an empty toilet paper tube).

.
posted by stannate at 10:19 AM on May 15


It's not ... the worst line from that movie(?).
posted by seraphine at 10:19 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]


I came here for ualuealuealeuale, and was not disappointed. (I still listen to the whole song every now and then.)
posted by aubilenon at 10:22 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


I'm glad someone made this post, I considered it but really didn't know where to start, it's been ages since I visited the site. Its ads seemed like they were trying to actively pushing users away, which is never a good sign for a site devoted to memes. The format still has a lot of potential, judging by the number of short video clips on Twitter.
posted by JHarris at 10:25 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


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posted by kevinbelt at 10:29 AM on May 15


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posted by mwhybark at 10:31 AM on May 15


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posted by dismas at 10:34 AM on May 15


Came here to post this. HUGE bookend to old-internet. Kids these days will never know their history.

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posted by rhizome at 10:47 AM on May 15


It's amazing that this site and its very odd medium for generating content was as successful as it was. Once YouTube came on the scene, YTMND's days were numbered. (Does anyone else remember "refresh to sync"?) Even as early as 2008, the quality and frequency of submissions had sharply and permanently declined.

I leave a . here for the best of what YTMND was, but I'm glad this desiccated corpse has finally been put to rest.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:47 AM on May 15


. zombocom sends condolences
posted by skippyhacker at 10:49 AM on May 15 [10 favorites]


This is a sad day for fans of "Luke, we're gonna have company!"
posted by steef at 10:50 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


To my chagrin, I scooped myself by posting an early version of this to ResetEra while compiling links last night; waiting till daytime to post means finding Gizmodo, Mashable, and Hacker News cited that quick and dirty post, not this lovingly assembled one. Y'all still get the best links, though. :P

Also, forgot to include this but it's well worth a watch: YouTuber Justin Whang's deep dive into the rise and fall of YTMND, posted just a couple months ago.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:54 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


What is love? [YT remix yt ]

This right here is as good an illustration of the origins of the iterative process we see in twitter (and related) memes. I've been thinking this is actually a new form of comedy, but my thesis is pretty thin so far.
posted by rhizome at 10:55 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


I was today years old when I found out about YTMND.
posted by scruss at 11:06 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


A personal favorite: Bush Dodges EVERYTHING, which makes perfect use of Weird Al's hypnotic and transcendental Hardware Store.
posted by dephlogisticated at 11:08 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]


Perusing YTMND was the very first time I encountered rampant, gleeful online racism; that disturbing revelation was the main reason I signed up for Metafilter fifteen years ago.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:23 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Once you see (or hear) Fudge Jelly, you will never forget it.
posted by 41swans at 11:23 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


I had forgotten that YTMND is definitely the first place I heard The Picard Song. Almost makes up for the horrendous racism.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:46 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Is it down for real real or just down for database maintenance? (Heard both versions now.)
posted by bigendian at 11:56 AM on May 15


One of my proudest moments of earlier internet was getting a top 3 YTMND. It's all been downhill from there...
posted by downtohisturtles at 12:10 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


bigendian: "Is it down for real real or just down for database maintenance? (Heard both versions now.)"

It went offline one year to the day after new user registration was closed, after several years of the founder warning it would shut down in the near future, and the official Twitter account retweeted Archive Team's archival announcement without any other comment. Granted, the site does now show a maintenance message, but that's the standard template it's used for 10+ years, so I assume it's just automated or something.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:19 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I remember I made one with a Barry Manilow track and a picture of a potato kugel (sadly not (yet?) on the Archive link).

Times were simpler then.
posted by Mchelly at 1:05 PM on May 15


Perusing YTMND was the very first time I encountered rampant, gleeful online racism

Yeah, holy shit. Not the first time I came across it on the web, but it certainly wasn't dogwhistles and codewords on YTMND.
posted by ODiV at 1:09 PM on May 15


blue ball machine was my favorite
posted by rebent at 1:10 PM on May 15


You the

.

now, site.
posted by lubujackson at 1:10 PM on May 15 [7 favorites]


I was wrong. It is there. And it was a noodle kugel.
posted by Mchelly at 1:17 PM on May 15


You're the . now dog

[edit]dang beaten to the punch
posted by solotoro at 1:57 PM on May 15


I was always fond of Kirby/Snoop Dogg.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:01 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


.

It's been a while! I remember checking out a bunch of these back in college.

Breakup Letter, Dramatic reading - especially its use of "bastert" - remains a favorite.
posted by rather be jorting at 2:51 PM on May 15


My first true love, the first woman I ever thought I might marry, my first great life-wrecking soul-crushing breakup - that relationship and courtship had "sending ytmnd links to one another" at its heart. It was one of the core mechanics of our courtship and flirtation. I haven't visited even once since that awful Fourth of July in 2006 when she ended it, and god knows I've long moved on - other relationships, other loves, now I'm engaged. Even so, there's a sense in which this is an unmatched final negation of that time. It's like a former home being torn down.

As Thomas Wolfe said, "You can't go home again, but at least you're the man now, dog."
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:23 PM on May 15 [6 favorites]


.

I guess I dodged all the racism.

I think of YTMND as probably the end of the pre-capitalist days of the internet. A lot of YTMNDs aren't trying to be funny, they're essentially just slideshows, but there's a purity to it that it felt like people were making things to have made them, rather than trying to build an audience or a brand.
posted by Merus at 3:41 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


I was definitely aware of YTMND back in the ole internet days but it also was one of those sites that I knew had a gross dark racist side to it, so it went in the bucket with shit like 4chan and ogrish (but much less offensive than those obv). The most well-known memes bubbled up out of YTMND and made it elsewhere so I still saw them.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:48 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


My favorite was always, "History's Greatest Hero: Stanislav Petrov," but sadly the music didn't archive.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:54 PM on May 15


Dang I can't find my fave which was a picture of the dragon's face from Dragonheart with the Sean Connery line "I AM THE LAST ONE!"
posted by k8bot at 4:09 PM on May 15


I guess I dodged all the racism.

I think with occasional browsing it was possible to do that, yeah; at any given time by chance of what was going around and who was posting, the top ten things might have all been on the harmless goofy side of things. I was never a regular but I would dip back in for a few minutes or a half hour every once in a while and managed to come away without wincing a lot of the time.

But boy howdy was it there, yeah. Any time spent sifting through all the riffs on any given nominally non-gross meme would turn up at least a few gross edgelordy variations, and that's for the material that didn't have tangential racist bait in it (e.g. some random otherwise non-shitty riffing about Geordi LaForge) or a starting point that was outright racist to begin with.

It's the sort of thing that wasn't so dominant that it was the immediate public face of the site, but was still present enough that it was hard to avoid with any significant amount of time spent there, enough so that if I was encountering it new now would scuttle any interest in the thing immediately. But some combinations of the internet being newer, me being just younger and dumber, the impact and pervasiveness of racism being less clear to me, and some kind of inclination toward being in muck vs. just noping the fuck out of it made YTMND's shitty parts just seem like a price to be paid instead of a thing to stop and seriously object to.

It feels kind of "other than that, Mrs. Lincoln", to say on the tail of that, but I did get a lot of laughs out of the non-shitty riffing on that site over the years. There was something going on there, something weird and idiosyncratic and very internet, where the medium dictates the work in interesting ways. YTMND and Vine had that in common despite being otherwise utterly unrelated: crowd-sourced, crowd-remixed humor in a highly-constrained context produces some amazing stuff.
posted by cortex at 4:26 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]


For anyone that's intrigued by the Pi one, here's the full song (and video) by the always excellent Hard 'n Phirm.
posted by Bugbread at 4:50 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I loved me some YTMND back in the day but last time I went back in a fit of nostalgia (5? years ago) it was almost all lazy racist memes. I actually have a high tolerance for clever edgy humor but this was just putrid (and worse - unfunny). I closed the tab and never went back.

Moderation in all things is my motto for user generated content.
posted by AndrewStephens at 5:04 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


"The official YTMND thread." (c. 2007)
posted by WCityMike at 5:53 PM on May 15


ytmn.
posted by flabdablet at 6:23 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


My favorite was always, "History's Greatest Hero: Stanislav Petrov," but sadly the music didn't archive.

i think that's how i first learned about him, ytmnd! (music ;)
posted by kliuless at 6:28 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Jesus, that Unfunny Truth About Scientology one. That's one I really didn't need to see tonight. Does it have, like, autopsy photos or some shit in there?

Anyways, fuck that YTMND, let's keep this light and happy. Here's one that's been in my bookmarks for years.
posted by chrominance at 9:53 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


I'll always remember Chunk Addresses Congress fondly.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 10:05 PM on May 15


Plot twist: I happened upon Max Goldberg's Reddit account earlier, and apparently the shutdown was entirely unplanned. As in, he wasn't even aware it was offline until somebody sent him a news article about it several days afterward. He also PM'd me his thinking when asked:
It was unintentional but also maybe it's just time. I haven't worked on it seriously in almost a decade which left it vulnerable. I sort of want to make it a read-only archive and update it to not rely on flash. I haven't made any decisions what to do yet though.
FWIW, I suggested it might be better to keep it offline and rely on the various archives to preserve it, because at this point the only real "community" still active there were alt-right edgelords and mentally unstable people unhealthily obsessed with obscure internal drama. ( I also invited him to check out MeFi, but I suspect it's not his thing.)
posted by Rhaomi at 11:36 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]




🐕
posted by numaner at 8:23 AM on May 16


I am now just realizing that Rob Brown who played Jamal Wallace is Edgar Reade in Blindspot. And that Finding Forrester was his first movie!
posted by numaner at 8:25 AM on May 16


aw man Cosby Bebop did not age well
posted by numaner at 8:40 AM on May 16


How this is not just fifty links to They're Taking the Hobbits to Isengard is beyond me. Anyway, pour out a dot for the fallen.

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posted by PandaMomentum at 9:49 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


The site has now updated with this message:
rip db

YTMND has suffered a catostrophic failure. Whether or not the site will ever be back is still undecided. I am actively working on data recovery, but who really knows what the future holds. Join the chat to reminisce, or if you have concerns about the direction in which your life is heading, feel free to send an email to support @ ytmnd.com (and expect to be ignored).
posted by Rhaomi at 11:12 AM on May 16


PandaMomentum, don't know if you've seen Orlando Bloom actually singing it and this brilliant live cover. (Also, your handle makes me remember Pandamonium.)
posted by WCityMike at 1:00 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


You know, if the Internet Archive archived the whole thing as they say they have, I wonder if they've been hooked up with the maintainer, considering it was a DB loss? Or maybe it's incompatible formats?
posted by WCityMike at 1:03 PM on May 16


Motherboard/Vice reports with more info from Goldberg:

YTMND’s Owner Says the Site’s Database Was Accidentally Deleted
“I had no idea anyone cared about it really,” [Goldberg] said. “But yesterday when I woke up and I see articles in numerous publications and ‘ytmnd’ is trending on twitter, and hundreds of people are contacting me, well it was sort of surreal.”

Goldberg learned the site was down yesterday when he woke up to a text message telling him it was dead. Right now, he’s still not sure what happened.

“Still trying to determine that, but it appears the current database has been completely wiped,” he said. “The hardware is roughly eight years old I believe.” [...]

“I have backups, but frankly not much worth saving has happened on the site in the last five years and rebuilding the whole thing from scratch is a lengthy process,” he said. “Hence why it isn’t back yet.”

According to Goldberg, the site has been on autopilot for years. “I did all the programming and system setup myself, and I did it in such a way that I didn't need to touch it basically ever. Which worked pretty well for the last [seven to eight] years,” he said. “I’d login once every six months, delete a large swath of trolls and then go back into hibernation. But my inattention caused the current situation.”
It also had Google-related money troubles that would be familiar to MeFites:
It costs him $250 out of pocket every month to keep YTMND.com functioning. It used to be a profitable venture, but Google flagged content it called offense sometime in 2012 and asked Goldberg to remove it to keep AdSense, Google’s ad platform. He pulled the URL Google wanted gone, but couldn’t get AdSense back and couldn’t get Google to respond to his emails. At that point, he pulled AdSense from all the user generated content. It made his life easier, but stopped the site from making money.
As for the future:
The community support he got yesterday motivated Goldberg to reconsider opening the site but he’s still not sure if YTMND.com will come back fully functional, or as a memorial. He’s leaning towards a memorial.

“My idea was to make sort of a ‘time machine’ where you could see the front page at any given date/time. See what was popular on some day in 2006 or during major events in world history, etc,” he said. “But it could change depending on a thousand different factors.”

Goldberg said that bringing the site back would be difficult, because of the way it was written.

“It was written 100% by me without any frameworks, in a variety of languages and over a period of nearly 20 years,” he said. “I've wanted to turn it into a more accessible archive with a modern player that doesn't use flash for a while, but every time I sat down to work on it I just couldn't bring myself to be interested in it.”

Goldberg said that no one has used the site in a meaningful way in five years or more, but he wants to preserve its legacy. “I think it fostered creativity in a lot of early internet users but it was also from a time where four corporations didn't run the entire internet so it's much less sanitized than a lot of the internet feels today,” he said.
And a post-mortem:
According to Goldberg, the freedom of the early internet was both good and bad. “Good in that it housed a thriving community of people who were being artistic and having fun and making some amazing stuff,” he said. “It was a community which it seems hard to find these days. On YTMND everyone sort of knew each other despite it being such a large crowd. On sites like reddit or 4chan or whatever, there are still thriving communities but it's rare that there's that same feeling.”

“As for the bad, plenty of shitty people use the internet, upload garbage, illegal or disgusting things, harass people...etc,” he said. “And when a group doesn't have a common enemy, they tend to in-fight. I think some limits help. I don’t want to host the next 4chan or /r/the_donald.”
On that note, it looks like /r/ytmnd is squatted by some deranged Trumpists with a grudge against Goldberg for taking down a "neoYTMND" site they'd set up. Also one of their mods is apparently obsessed with singer Suzanne Vega and is extremely insistent everybody knows about her role in developing the MP3 format. It's all super weird, and I don't blame him for not wanting to deal with it anymore.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:29 PM on May 16 [4 favorites]


Update: Goldberg has now launched a Patreon to fund a modernized YTMND redesign:
YTMND deserves to be preserved for future generations. The site has fallen into disrepair and needs a good amount of programming and system administration. Help us modernize the site, starting with a fully functional HTML5 player. YTMND does not have any advertising so hosting is paid for out-of pocket. This Patreon will help cover those costs and help support effort to modernize secure the site.
First blog post:
We've seen an outpouring of support of the last week and people have shown they want YTMND to stick around for a bit longer. While I'm diligently working to get a new database online with a backup, we should discuss how to proceed from there.

The first step would be to update and secure all the servers. It has been a long time since any real maintenance has been done and YTMND still lacks SSL and other modern necessities. After that, I think the main focus should be writing an open-source player using native browser technology so that all YTMNDs can be properly viewed in modern browsers without requiring Flash. This is a big undertaking in itself, but will allow YTMNDs to be viewed across a wider range of devices, and will make archiving them much simpler.

I will write more here later, but if you are interested, I urge you join the discord and participate by providing suggestions and comments.

Discord: https://discordapp.com/invite/QwAWz65
And in other good news, the deranged Trumpists have been kicked out of /r/ytmnd and it is now under new management, including Goldberg himself.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:39 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Hey now, that is good news all around! Thanks for keeping us up-to-date on this important matter.
posted by JHarris at 3:52 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


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