His name is Drew Scanlon, and the GIF comes from a show on video game news site Giant Bomb. Drew is reacting to someone doing a little “farming, with my hoe here.”
The clip is from 2013, though, and the context doesn’t have much bearing on the meme that’s popping up everywhere this week. Divorced from its context, the White Guy Blinking GIF can be a surprised, stunned, or indignant reaction to just about anything.
The revival of the GIF seems to have been instigated by this tweet, way back on Feb. 5:
It’s now spreading like wildfire on Twitter, where people have found all kinds of diverse uses for it. Many of them have to do with the management (or mismanagement) of personal finances:
(card doesn't decline) pic.twitter.com/yXrO5UEoTH
— sean. (@Seantaneous) February 18, 2017
me: spends $300 on a shirt
me when an app I want costs $0.99: pic.twitter.com/9rJaMRRWes
— Troll PhD (@SNATCHERYDOO) February 17, 2017
me: *buys stuff*
bank account: *deducts the money I spent*
— beto (@AlbertoSauce) February 15, 2017
Or, following on the original tweet, problems at school:
me: this essay is so bad
professor: this essay is bad
— zof (@kitttenqueen) February 18, 2017
But really, it’s universally applicable to anything that surprises you, even if it shouldn’t.
"The leaks are real, the news is fake." pic.twitter.com/xRhx6WUqOl
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) February 16, 2017
me: *unfollows someone*
them: *unfollows me back*
— jackson martin (@ITZJACKMARTIN) February 15, 2017
It even applies to the meme itself:
Me: I know every meme.
Someone: Then what's the name of the one with the blinking white guy?
— memeindex (@memeindex) February 16, 2017
This is a double joke because it’s not much of a pop quiz: Most people are calling the one with the blinking white guy “White Guy Blinking.” You could call it “the Drew GIF,” but nobody outside of the Giant Bomb community would know what you were talking about.
The interesting thing about this meme’s positioning on the viral internet is that it’s completely mainstream and Twitter-based. Unlike a lot of memes that start on Twitter (especially in the Black Twittersphere) and end up co-opted by Reddit and 9gag, “Dank meme” subreddits and meme economy investors don’t seem interested in this one at all.
On Reddit, Salt Bae was adopted but quickly dismissed, Roll Safe was embraced and mutated, and the purple Trash Dove was immediately rejected as “cancer.” Blinking White Guy might be the first big Twitter trend of the year to go completely ignored by people who consider themselves serious about memes.
Only one reaction seems appropriate: