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Dwayne “The Meme” Johnson.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is perhaps America’s most beloved celebrity. If he ran for president, polls and his smile indicate he would win easily. Also, his combination of boring real name and badass pro-wrestling nickname makes it really fun to write out the whole thing in quotes: He’s always Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. And that’s the basis of a popular new meme about him.
Reddit’s me_irl subreddit, an incubator for memes that often spread to the wider internet, was dominated on Monday by visual puns on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Get ready to meet “The Doc,” “The Sock,” “The Stock,” and dozens more.
Some of the earliest examples of the meme include “The Wok,” “The Spock” and “The Bach”:
The joke is simple and kind of dumb, but that’s what makes it fun. The meme is a game and a challenge: come up with a rhyme for “Rock” and throw together some terrible Photoshop. It’s tricky to Rock a rhyme that hasn’t already been done, but me_irl-ers are up to the task. Look at some of these clever takes on the meme:
Fun fact: Chipotle was participating in this meme about a year ago.
Dwayne “The Guac” Johnson is the world’s highest paid avocado.
— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) August 4, 2016
Typically, any association with #brands will kill a meme. But this one is so silly, and so obvious, that there was nothing to appropriate. It’s obviously a case of mutual discovery that “Rock” rhymes with several other words. The sheer simplicity of the joke means it’s instantly accessible to any “normie” on Facebook, and will never been the kind of “dank” property that meme aficionados tend to hoard for themselves.
It’s also unlikely to ever become “edgy.” The format is fairly rigid, and it’s tough to work in suicide, school shootings, misogyny, or racial hatred using only words that rhyme (or near-rhyme) with “rock.” The Rock meme will probably remain wholesome for life.
That doesn’t mean there’s no room for creativity, though. Meta-memes and anti-memes have already popped up in response to the popularity of Rock rhymes.
The Rock puns should run their course in a few days, with the best case scenario for the meme being that The Rock himself discovers and loves them. If that should happen, they’ll probably stick around until the end of the week.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.