The Creepy Clowns
Firstly, to describe the environment this stuff happened in, imagine it’s 2016. A new creepy clown movie based off a Stephen King novel is slated for release next year. For some reason, a number of people across the U.S begin dressing in clown costumes and vaguely threatening people, either with some non-projectile weapon or just by standing there. Some people say the clowns started as advertising for the movie, until things got out of hand and non-affiliated people started dressing up and causing problems (meaning the movie producers would never admit they were the reason that happened), but what I think is more likely is that some people saw one guy do it, get on the news, then realize they had a Halloween costume that still fit, and figured they could also get on the news. Creepy clowns were very briefly cool and mysterious – where are they coming from? Who are they?
Of course, this is happening in the USA, so guns start coming out and the people dressing as clowns begin to reconsider how far they’d be willing to go for a few seconds of anonymous fame. A couple very funny and very embarrassing videos of people in clown suits getting wrestled to the ground and then held there to wait for the police pop up on Youtube, and the clown trend is no longer cool to be a part of, much to the relief of real, professionally trained clowns everywhere.
And Then Tumblr
Tumblr was going through some weird stuff in 2018, but one thing’s for sure – people on Tumblr love monsters! It was only a matter of time before the clowns were no longer creepy, but instead some feral animal left in the woods by uncaring humans. Like pets.
The person who started it is apparently the blog Bramblepatch, you can see in this conversation where clowns-are-metaphorically-like-wolves turns into clowns-are-actually-like-wolves-and-domesticated:
Before you knew it, people were forming a sort of generally accepted canon for clown breeds, balloons being eggs, what clowns as pets eat, etc.
There’s way more, and if you search ‘clowns as pets Tumblr’ on Google, you’ll see what I mean. People I followed who weren’t even into clowns at all were reblogging these things!
While kinda fun, clown pets didn’t move past the ironic stage. Around the time people would normally start making art or purchaseable items like stickers for a trend, the clown trend simply vaporized. There’s a meme-maker who says that if they spend more than 30 minutes making an image, then the process of making it becomes unironic and the sheer cringe crashes down all at once, which would kill them. While I still like Tumblr, it’s not hard to see the entire site’s been irony-poisoned ever since DashCon, which prevents anyone from sincerely making something like pet clown stickers (fanzines and things like the InkTober yearly drawing challenge are different because they have history – nothing new will thrive without building off of something that already exists in the larger media ecosystem).
DashCon 2014 was still fresh in people’s minds, a failed convention that gets worse with each new article you read about it. The ball pit. The copypastas. One of the showrunners taking shopping money from a bunch of teenagers ‘because we’re going to get kicked out’, only to discover later that said showrunner had taken a huge amount of money and was siphoning off even more while everyone was stood in a crowd together. The three finger salute from Hunger Games being used unironically. One of the founders, likely the only one who’d gone in with good intentions, was only 15 at the time, and struggling to corral two grown adults into cooperating because they’d volunteered and then either gone radio silent or started doing shady stuff like the money grabbing mentioned above. The entire thing was a mess. Tumblr lost a lot of it’s “We’re young, and we can do anything! I believe in us!” shine after the event, meaning everything trendy to Tumblr exclusively is taken with an ounce of irony.
Clowns were obviously never going to become anything more than a weird phase with very little lasting impact in an environment that used to love legacies and long-lived memes.
The Amogus Babies
Amogus Babies are the second instance of almost-humans becoming pets, and a sign Tumblr as a whole has recovered from the ego crushing and cringe-fear that was Dashcon. It’s still not sincere at all – you’re not going to see Amogus Babies stickers on Etsy – but it’s not actively trying to avoid cringe and put extra effort in for the irony factor like the clown pets trend was.
Spawned from popular online game Among Us, the Amogus Babies are crewmates treated like rabbits, or small dogs. The name is misspelled. Crewmates are called Amogus or Amongus instead of crewmates, after clickbait channels started calling “Among Us Imposter” at “3AM”, implying ‘Among Us’ was part of the name (a longer-lived meme involves using the media a character is from as a character’s missing last name – i.e Sans Undertale). Everything around the meme is poorly drawn and/or poorly colored. Sincere Among Us art is not part of this community unless it’s being used by a faux-pet-care blog as an example of good care or poor care, and even then they’re usually removed if they request to be – everyone making Amogus stuff is not trying to mingle with the sincere artists because they know it’s stupid and they don’t want to insult sincere fans.
Pet care blogs have sprung up for the Amogus just like they did for clown-pets, people make low-effort gifs and comics for them demonstrating behaviors that are obviously meant to emulate domesticated animals instead of people, and the entire thing is absolutely going to blow away like dust in the wind a few weeks from now… but it’s still funny now, and that’s what counts.