A few weeks ago, an undergraduate I know at Loyola University Chicago suggested that I check out 2048, a seemingly simple puzzle game. When I searched for it on my phone, I found a few results beyond the basic version of this game that I had hoped to find. One of these, which immediately caught my attention, was a similar version of this original game, called “Doge 2048.”
For those unfamiliar with the latest meme to sweep the Internet, “Doge” is based on a picture of a dog (a Shiba Inu, to be precise), surrounded by phrases of dubious grammatical propriety written in some stupid font Comic Sans. Go-to phrases are “wow,” “such X,” many Y,” “very Z,” etc., depending on the topic that any given Doge image is addressing. I’ve taken the liberty of creating an Ignatian-themed Doge, for collective education and edification.
I know, it sounds ridiculous. But something about Doge has really captured people’s imagination. In fact, some people are so taken with this whole thing that Doge isn’t stopping at some small time iPhone game.
In 2013, Doge enthusiasts decided to develop an online digital currency (similar to Bitcoin, if that is at all familiar) based around their canine friend. Many of these same fans used this currency to finance the Jamaican bobsled team at the Sochi Olympics and are now sponsoring a NASCAR car and driver. Most recently, Team Doge has voted its sponsored driver into the Sprint All-Star Race, much to the chagrin of the mainstream NASCAR community.
So what’s actually going on here? How has a picture of a dog surrounded by random phrases caused the invention of a new currency, a hugely popular iPhone app, the funding of an Olympic team, and a NASCAR scandal? Is there something I’m missing?
Honestly, I think that the harder one tries to understand this thing, the more confused one is going to be. Perhaps the beauty of Doge is its simplicity when considered exactly at its furry face value.
The most commonly used image of the Shiba Inu has a wide-eyed, mildly surprised look on its face. Seeing this goofy expression on a dog can — ought? — to be taken as an opportunity to just laugh at a silly, light-hearted moment. Even the phrases that surround the various pictures of Doge suggest levity – moderate levels of surprise and grammatical semi-coherence included. Maybe it’s best to try not to take it too seriously. Instead, maybe all of these pictures are just a chance, not to over-think what’s going on, but instead to appreciate the fun and playful moments that they create.
Wow. Such happy. Very Doge.