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A user-generated representation of Poland, known as Polandball.

Polandball, also known as Countryballs, is an internet meme. The meme began on the /int/ board of Krautchan.net in 2009. The meme takes the form of large number of online comics. In the comics, countries flags are drawn as a circle shape. The balls interact in broken English, often referred to as "Engrish", (except for those countries who have English as their main language) and ridicule national stereotypes and international relations.

Polandball has its roots in an August 2009 'cyberwar' between Polish Internet users and the rest of the world on drawball.com. Drawball.com allows Internet users to draw whatever they want. It also allows people to draw over others drawings. On the Polish flag internet, an idea was raised to draw the flag of Poland on the ball. Thousands of Poles managed to take over the drawball. The painting consisted of white on top of red. In the middle, the word "POLSKA" was written. After co-ordination from 4chan, this was then covered over by a giant Nazi swastika.[1][2]

Krautchan.net is a German-language imageboard. Its /int/ board is frequented by Russian-speaking netizens. The beginning of the Polandball meme is credited to Falco. Falco is a British user on /int/. In September 2009 Falco created the meme using MS Paint. The meme was made in an apolitical way to troll Wojak. Wojak is a Pole on the same board and contributes in broken English. Afterwards, Polandball cartoons were enthusiastically drawn by Russians.[1][3][4]

Themes[change | change source]

An example of a user-generated united nationball comic. The comic features Georgia (country) within the context of Wikipedia.

A description of Polandball is found on the subreddit /r/Polandballball, which reads "Wiggly mouse-drawn comics where balls represent different countries. They poke fun at national stereotypes and the "international drama" of their diplomatic relations. Polandball combines history, geography, Engrish, and an inferiority complex. The comic series first became popular on a well known German image board /int/."

The premise of Polandball is it represents the history, relations with other countries, and stereotypes.[3][5] It concentrates on Polish megalomania and national complexes.[2] The meme gained in popularity after the plane crash in Smolensk which killed Polish President Lech Kaczyński.[3][5] Interactions between countryballs are written in broken English and internet slang. This is similar to the Lolcat meme. Poland is purposely drawn as red on top of white. This is the opposite of the united nations flag. By the end of the cartoon, Poland weeps.[1][2]

Some Polandball comics are based on the premise that Russia can fly into space. This premise also includes Poland cannot fly into space. One of the most popular Polandball cartoons begins with the premise that Earth is going to be struck by a giant meteor. All countries with space technology leave Earth and go into orbit around the planet. At the end of the cartoon, Poland is still on earth and is crying. In broken English, Poland says their famous catchphrase "Poland cannot into space".[3] In this humorous way, Russians stop discussion with Poles on which country is superior.[1][3][5] Another Polandball comic delves into historic-political satire. Poland is seen to be boring other countryballs. Poland proclaims "So when we crushed Russia and the turks [sic] were were the biggest country in the world... and..". This leads other countryballs to laugh at it. Poland, by now irritated, utters kurwa. Poland holds up a sign saying "Internet serious business". This is an internet slogan used to deride others who treat subjects with disdain. Then, in Polandball convention, Poland finishes by crying.[1][2][6]

Polandball meme in culture[change | change source]

In 2014, released a game about Polandball for Android. In this game, Poland can into space and the player's goal as long as possible to keep Poland there. There is also the opportunity to play for other countryballs.

Other polandballs[change | change source]

A user-generated representation of Britain in Polandball-style, known as UKball.
Wikimedia Foundation images and Wikimedia products drawn as Polandball

Polandball can also include comics on other countries. By convention these comics are usually still referred to as Polandball.[1] They can also be called countryballs.[4] According to Lurkmore.to, Bavaria has its own ball. Other balls have been created for U.S. states, Brazil, Catalonia and Siberia. Singapore and Bermuda are drawn as a triangle and called Tringapore and Bermudatriangle, respectively. Israel takes the form of a hypercube (in reference to Jewish physics). Kazakhstan takes the form of a brick. Britain is shown wearing a top hat and monocle. The United States is shown wearing sunglasses. Nepal, Ohio, and Tampa are shown as animals with teeth almost like a tiger.

Wikipedia's logo drawn in the form of Polandball

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Orliński, Wojciech (16 January 2010). "Wyniosłe lol zaborców, czyli Polandball" (in Polish). Gazeta Wyborcza. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Zapałowski, Radosław (15 February 2010). "Znowu lecą z nami w... kulki" (in Polish). Cooltura. Archived from the original on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Kapiszewski, Kuba (February 13, 2010). "Fenomem - Polska nie umieć kosmos" (in Polish). Przegląd. Archived from the original on 5 August 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Polandball". Knowyourmeme. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Cegielski, Tomek (12 April 2011). "MEMY. Legendy Internetu" (in Polish). Hiro.pl. Archived from the original on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  6. "Polandball cartoon". Unknown. Archived from the original on 9 January 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2012.

Other websites[change | change source]