Saturday, February 23, 2008

The OM NOM NOM NOM Phenomenom nom nom


If you work in an office, there's a 97% chance you've been sent email about something odd, something interesting, gross, or funny spread from coworker to coworker, from friend to friend, from blog to friend, from some random person in the world with too much time on his hands to you (who ought to be working now, but hey...) It could be a political cartoon, a woman playing a ukelele cover of Britney Spears, or yet another photo of a cat with odd captions. The best of these memes inspire others to respond with their own versions.

Usually yours truly is a bit behind, riding the meme after it's already gone viral and spread everywhere like some media plague. At work, it's LOLCats and World of Warcraft-anything that have caught on, causing cascades of laughter down the cubicles. But yesterday, my coworker exposed me to a lovely, relatively nascent and contained meme, known by its trademark onomonopoetic label, OM NOM NOM NOM.

What is it exactly, you ask? Take a photo of something that looks like a mouth, preferably with some person or object near it as inevitable victim, draw teeth and menacing eyes, add the label "Om nom nom nom" to it and voilá! Now share it with others through email or posting to a website. (The semi-official Om Nom Nom Nom website though, is not user-friendly about letting you upload your own photos -- and may be inadvertantly keeping the meme from spreading as it should! *baps head*)

Mind you, the visual aspect of Om Nom Nom Nom, the cartoony monsterization of objects, dates at least back to the 1960s & 70s, notably with Jim Henson's Muppets and probably earlier artists before him. (Here's a Muppet example from the late 1970s):


I'm no Art Historian though. Can anyone find earlier examples of adding monster eyes and teeth to inanimate objects?

One of my favorite (and often blogged about) modern examples of this visual motif would be Amy Winfrey's Web (and soon Nickelodeon TV) cartoon, Making Fiends.

The most famous spoken use of "Om nom nom nom" I can find of course is from Cookie Monster, but I suspect earlier, less famous Muppet creatures also emitted that sound during their final feeding frenzies.

So far, I've found only one blog reporting about Om Nom Nom Nom as an Internet phenomenon, written last Fall, though "om nom nom nom" as a word (not a sound effect) seems to have been used on Internet forums and IRC chat channels as early 2003-05*.


So help me, fellow om nom nom-nivores, spread this meme across the globe!

* Apparently, some folks are using it as a slang word for oral sex.

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posted by Brian at 3:58 PM

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