The Booba Philosophy
The Booba Philosophy
Do you like Booba? A meme so simple people probably don’t think it matters, but they should! Because it’s not just a meme indicating the presence of breasts online, it’s also a symbolic statement about eroticism itself. Hey analysts! (screaming)
Booba is on the surface a very superficial meme. A suited pepe is staring at boobs. Case closed, memes matter. But, what significance lays in the hidden depths of this meme?
To start let’s clarify what exactly we’re seeing in Booba, sight based arousal, something Freud considered a distinctly masculine form of eroticism, what he called Scopophilia, literally the pleasure of looking.
The scopohilic trait is heavily exaggerated in this meme, as it is drawn directly from old cartoons. The cartoonish reaction is in fact the origin of this meme expression, the “Awooga” meme came first, an example of another way we justify old cartoons through the creation of memes (See my videos on Clone High and Me and the Boys for more on this)
This reaction, and the booba meme itself are essentially used as reaction images and phrases, to of course, pictures of women. This seems simple enough. The meme is an exaggerated expression of an innate masculine feeling.
That’s the exoteric truth. But as with other memes, I’m sure you’re here for the esoteric truth. To get into that, we have to delve into the symbolism at play. Don’t be distracted the simple expression alone, we have to remember who is saying it.
Pepe. But not just a normal Pepe, it is a Pepe in a suit.
In my very earliest video I examined the archetypal nature of Pepe memes. I revealed Pepe as a modern incarnation of the Greek God of wine and madness, Dionysus. This is why numerous Pepe memes are violent and sexual, bordering on horrific even. Such are those bacchante. But the suited Pepe is different. He isn’t just a base beast. He has been refined, distilled. In short, he has integrated Apollonian civility.
Just as when natives from other cultures were forced to don the Western wardrobe to be accepted as civil, Pepe has repressed his base instincts to become civil.
This is perhaps best seen in the first suited Pepe meme, the smug tuxedoed pepe, and later that same pepe drinking champagne. Gone are the days when Pepe expressed his dominance over Wojak through violence, he is now powerful even in polite society. Even the god of drunkenness is now practicing a bit of temperance, sipping at champagne rather than gorging on Arcadian wine out of a goat’s gut.
Let’s briefly take a look at what I mean by Dionysian and Apollonian. In Nietzsche’s brilliant work, The Birth of Tragedy, he establishes a dialectic in art and psychology, that of the Apollonian, the drive identified with Apollo, the God of wisdom. And the Dinoysian, the drive identified with Dinoysus, the God of Drunkeness. He viewed these as essentially the static and the active, Apollonian art was sculpture and architecture, things that stuck around and were solid. Dionysian art was music and dance, impermanent and ephemeral, but extremely physical.
These aren’t perfect fits for Freud’s libido and Thanatos, but they map approximately to the repetitive, mechanical death drive as the Apollonian, and the creative, flowing libido as the Dionysian. Apollo as civilization, rationality and morals, Dionysus as mad crowds, irrationality and instinct.
I noticed these corresponded with the character of Wojak, a suffering, rational and pale individual, and Pepe, a joyous, chaotic green man.
But in this meme, Pepe has been Civilized.
And so with this civilized repression, Pepe had to find a way to express sexuality without being monstrous, and thus, like all civilized men, he became scopophilic. This is one of the essential concepts expressed by Camille Paglia in Sexual Personae, the Western Eye.
“Man, the sexual conceptualizer and projector, has ruled art because art is his Apollonian response toward and away from woman. A sex object is something to aim at. The eye is Apollo’s arrow following the arc of transcendance I saw in male urination and ejaculation. The western eye is a projectile into the beyond, that wilderness of the male condition”
The aggressive nature of the gaze and the power of the eye is on display in clear symbolic brilliance in the Booba meme. Synchronistically, Pepe appears in Ancient Egypt was well:
“Egypt, the first totalitarian régime, made a mystique out of one-man rule. And in that mystique was the birth of the western eye.”“ The western eye is open and alert. It has forced objects into their frozen frame. But the liberation of the eye has its price. Taut, still, and truncated, Nefertiti is western ego under glass. The radiant glamour of this supreme sexual persona comes to us from a palace-prison, the overdeveloped brain. “
The Western Eye’s origin in ancient Egypt is perfectly shown through this archaic Pepe. This ability to objectify with our gaze is not a simple sexual impulse, to Camille Paglia, it is identical to the creative impulse itself.
“Objectification is conceptualization, the highest human faculty. Turning people into sex objects is one of the specialties of our species. It will never disappear, since it is intertwined with the art impulse and may be identical to it. A sex-object is ritual form imposed on nature. It is a totem of our perverse imagination. Apollonian thing-making is the main line of western civilization, extending from ancient Egypt to the present. Every attempt to repress this aspect of our culture has ultimately been defeated.”
To conclude this analysis, let us return to Freud’s scopophilia, the psychological explanation of Paglia’s Western Eye is evolutionary.
When man walked on all fours, his sexuality was more like a dogs, based in scent, not on sight. And when he became bipedal, he grew into his eyes, and gained Promethean power. The Booba meme encapsulates the sexual evolution of man and art in a single, simple image. As always, Remember, memes matter.