Loss.jpg minimalist meme

Pires5Pedro/Wikipedia (Public Domain)

The loss.jpg meme, AKA ‘is this loss?’ explained


Anna Good


Just like losing “the game,” the loss.jpg meme is one of those inexplicable phenomena wherein you recognize a specific pattern in artwork or on a social media post and respond, “Is this loss?”

A Coke drinking vessel version of the is this loss meme.

Loss.jpg meme’s negative reception

The original comic by Tim Buckley for the webcomic Ctrl+Alt+Del (also known as CAD), was meant to evoke his feeling of loss after his fiancée’s miscarriage. The comic strip exploded into a meme format shortly after its publication; however, the comic itself was largely negatively received as a jarring tone shift from CAD’s usual lighthearted gamer style.

In an interview at PAX in 2008, not long after its publication, fellow comic strip creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik from the webcomic Penny Arcade referred to Buckley as an “art criminal”. They said his comic “storyline was the first horseman of the Apocalypse.”

A reference to the is this loss meme in the form of a conversation between a doctor and their patient. 'Doctor: This is a Rorschach test. Tell me what you see. Remember, there are no wrong answers. Me: Is this Loss? Doctor: Okay, there is one wrong answer.'

History of the loss.jpg meme

But true to form for the internet, people took the base format of the four-paneled comic and created everything from minimalist versions to edited references using Pokémon, Simpsons, and other pop icons (and in one case, even literal pop/soda cans!) to refer back to the comic with the simple question of, “Is this loss?”

The minimalist versions of the comic are drawn, photographed, or edited using a single vertical line, two vertical lines with one slightly shorter than the other, another set of two perpendicular lines, and the final panel with a vertical line and a horizontal line.

A minimalist version of the is this loss meme.

The loss.jpg meme has gone through ebbs and flows in popularity, such as a huge surge back in 2017, followed by the creator’s updated iterations of the comic for the tenth anniversary of the comic in 2018.

As is the cyclical nature of the internet, this meme seems to have come into a resurgence once more with the 16th anniversary of the strip’s publication earlier this month, and in a viral post on X, @JoePostingg wrote that, “This was a perfectly fine comic, the insanely hostile reaction to it was some kind of collective psychosis.”

That post has seen 7.5 million views since it was posted on June 23rd.

Examples of the ‘is this loss’ meme

Given that this particular meme has such a longstanding history, it is no wonder that there are so many versions of it that exist on the internet! 

Some minimalist versions of the meme are so subtle, they can be easily missed if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

A minimalist version of the is this loss meme.

Others take everyday objects and turn them into a nod to the meme.

A gummy bear version of the is this loss meme.

Last year, TikToker @rachleahx even tried her hand at trolling her viewers, in a tongue-in-cheek IYKYK way, and after so many people didn’t get the joke, she posted a follow-up video, calling herself “your local internet historian,” to explain the meme to those who may not have been around for its origins.

Some people even referenced other memes within their loss.jpg meme posts, such as @pipbulg who took the “Is this a pigeon” meme and changed the text to read, “Is this loss.jpg?”

An 'is this is pigeon' version of the is this loss meme.
A reference to the is this loss meme in the context of writing a sad story using only 3 words.
A version of the is this loss meme featuring faux text messages between Snoopy and Woodstock.

More memes:

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