Wojak (Polish: Wojak, lit. 'warrior, soldier') [vɔjak] , also known as feels guy, is a popular internet meme. Typically depicted as a bald, white-colored man, it is used to generically express emotions such as melancholy, regret or loneliness. It is often paired with Pepe the Frog.
"Wojak" was originally the nickname of a Polish user on the English-language "International" section of German image board Krautchan. He started posting the picture which later became known as Wojak somewhere around 2010, often accompanying it with the snowclone phrase "That feel when X". It spread to other international image boards, including 4chan, where by 2011 an image of two Wojaks hugging each other under the caption "I know that feel bro" gained popularity. Wojak's face was also paired with the phrase “that feel” or “that feel when." Later variants often featured an originally unrelated meme known as Pepe the Frog.
In 2016, Wojaks of ridiculed or reformed nature (also referred to as Brainlets) emerged as a way to assert or mock opinions on intelligence. During the 2018 cryptocurrency crash, pink Wojaks were used by traders prominently on 4chan's /biz/ board to express their distress over losses.
In October 2018, a Wojak with a gray face, pointy nose and blank expression became a popular visual representation for non-playable characters, NPCs, or people who can't think for themselves, and gained online notoriety. The meme gained media attention, initially in Kotaku and The New York Times, due to its usage in parodying the alleged herd mentality of American liberals. This controversial usage of the meme has been attributed to Donald Trump supporters, but NPCs in MAGA hats were also used to mock the alleged herd mentality of pro-Trump conservatives. About 1,500 Twitter accounts posing as liberal activists with the NPC meme as a profile picture were suspended for spreading misinformation about the upcoming 2018 United States elections. On January 13, 2019, a conservative art collective known as "The Faction" hijacked a billboard for Real Time with Bill Maher, replacing Maher's image with that of the NPC Wojak.
- Philosophical zombie – a philosophical concept of a being that simulates having a consciousness without having one.
- Polandball – An internet meme with a common origin.
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- Sommerlad, Joe. "What is an NPC? The liberal-bashing meme sweeping social media ahead of the US midterms". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
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- "Twitter suspends accounts for 'coordinated' far-right trolling campaign". New York Post. 2018-10-18. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
- "What Is NPC, the Pro-Trump Internet's New Favorite Insult?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
- Bond, Paul (January 13, 2019). "Bill Maher Labeled "NPC" by Conservative Street Artists". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
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