The story of You don’t say ?, the expression that turned Nicholas Cage into a meme

The most famous memes on the web: history and curiosity

The “You don’t say” meme became famous also thanks to the stylized face taken from the exaggeratedly incredulous expression of Nicholas Cage; in the scene that gave life to the opera, however, the American actor was not even pronouncing the fateful phrase. So here’s how one of the most popular memes online was born.

Those who often frequent social networks and sharing platforms will have come across the expression “You don’t say?”, Accompanied by a stylized face and familiar features but deformed by an astonished look. Behind that face lies none other than the American actor Nicholas Cage, who has been circulating online for years in the form of a meme to comment sarcastically someone who just said the obvious.

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The most famous memes on the web: history and curiosity

Where does the image come from

The expression “You don’t say” that recurs in Nicholas Cage’s memes with an exaggeratedly amazed look can actually be translated fairly faithfully with our “But don’t tell me”, and equally similarly retains two meanings: the first, literal , used to express astonishment; the second, sarcastic and aligned with the purpose of the meme, which manifests the opposite feeling in front of aextremely obvious statement.

The second characteristic element of the meme is precisely it Cage’s look, taken from a frame of Vampire Stress, a 1984 film that sees the American actor as the protagonist. In the scene Cage is not at all uttering the statement attributed to him in the meme, so much so that the first online diffusion of this still image is simply linked to the character’s gaze: it was 2009, and the scene was used in conjunction with a another expression of the actor.

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The origin of the meme

As often happens in the genesis of these works, the starting materials change shape and hybridize with the imagination of the most creative spectators, giving life to a unique result. It took a couple of years, however, before a user thought of “subtitling” the actor again with an alternative phrase that could fit him. Specifically, in 2011 Cage’s wide eye and grin suggested Reddit user LeechHax to use his face in one of the so-called Rage Comics, stylized comics largely based on memes for their recurring characters.

The operation was a success from the point of view of the virality of the content. The Rage comic that saw him as the protagonist immediately made its meaning clear, which resonated with thousands of users who in turn brought Cage’s stylized face even outside the confines of Reddit and throughout the rest of the online world. The rest is history: “You don’t say” still today is an expression that most Internet users associate with the exaggeratedly incredulous face of Nicholas Cage, to sarcastically describe comments or situations that are easy to predict.


Source: Fanpage by tech.fanpage.it.

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