The Origins Of The Michael Jackson Popcorn Meme

The internet is saturated with memes, and perhaps you even use several of them yourself. PBS reported that the word "meme" means "cultural gene," and they are prevalent in the online culture, but archeologists unearthed the first known version from 3 B.C. (albeit, a very different type than we know today) — so they've been around for quite some time. Some memes are so prevalent that you've probably seen the over and over in comment sections and elsewhere. According to Vox, among the most popular of all-time are a GIF of Homer Simpson backing away into shrubbery, former president Barack Obama dropping the mic in 2016 after his last White House Correspondents' Dinner, and Blinking White Guy gamer Drew Scanlon. However, the publication revealed that the greatest meme of all time is a GIF of the late Michael Jackson eating popcorn.

In the short clip, which is sometimes also just a screenshot of the king of pop, he is wearing a red jacket trimmed in black, putting a handful of popcorn in his mouth, and staring up and smiling at something out of the frame. But where did this incredibly popular meme originate? 

Read on to find out the details of the Michael Jackson popcorn meme.

Here's where Michael Jackson ate his popcorn

As it turns out, the ever-popular Michael Jackson popcorn meme you see everywhere came from the star's 1982 insanely successful "Thriller" video. In fact, you might have recognized the scene from the video, which comes in at 3 minutes and 43 seconds. Typically, this meme pops up when somebody posts a controversial topic. Another time people like to use it is when there's a heated debate on social media for whatever reason. Ultimately, the people observing it post it to show that they're eagerly reading the back-and-forth comments. 

Vox recommended using it when somebody is behaving poorly or when something is entertaining online, in addition to the aforementioned debates and controversies. The publication noted that because "Thriller" is one of the world's most recognizable pop songs, it seems fitting that it also produced one of the top memes used every day. 

If you're unsure when you should use this meme, it seems as if you really can't go wrong using it any time you want to. Nearly anything can be entertaining online, and this popular GIF fits.