Although social media trends come and go, it seems that the prominence of presidential memes are here to stay. Whether it is Bernie Sanders "once again asking" you for something, or reading between the lines of Barack Obama and Joe Biden's special Oval office moments, the Internet's obsession with making light of random political moments is unwavering. In perhaps the most surprising Internet flex so far, former president Bill Clinton has regained public attention in the form of a popular quarantine challenge that is quickly going viral online.
The unofficially-dubbed Bill Clinton album challenge involves using an image of Clinton from the 1990s sitting on the ground, smirking, wearing (very vintage) headphones, and holding up a record. On the ground around him are three other records. The meme-maker then photoshops in their top four favourite or recently listened to albums in place of the four that are pictures. The person posting will then tag others who they challenge to do the same and post online (and so it goes).
The challenge originated on a website called “Bill Clinton Swag,” which includes a template for the DIY meme. However, the original image that's being used to photoshop album covers into is also a photoshopped picture of Bill Clinton. In the original depiction, Clinton is sitting cross-legged on a carpeted floor, surrounded by four Joan Jett records. The composite of him was created for an article from The Onion in 1999 titled “Clinton Writes Fan Letter to Joan Jett,” according to Know Your Meme.
It is unclear why this particular faux picture was used as inspiration for Bill Clinton Swag's social media challenge, which has also existed since 2012 and suddenly gained viral popularity. Now, the site exists entirely to help users create their own version of the Bill Clinton album challenge and circulate it online. What we do know is that it's resulted in a pretty random and hilarious quarantine game for the masses — replete with a trending Twitter presence asking users to share their best quarantine playlists.
But the Bill Clinton album challenge also harkens back to a similar music meme still floating around online: Chandler Bing from “Friends,” portrayed by Matthew Perry, sleeping in a leather chair holding onto a high heel and a record while wearing headphones. In the same vein as the Clinton holding albums on the floor, social media users frequently replace the album Chandler is holding with whatever album is currently dominating pop culture or whatever their favourite album happens to be at the moment. The image is so popular, it has its own dedicated Instagram page called “Chandler holding ur fav Album” where users can comment or DM their favourite albums and hope that it's posted.
While President Clinton and the Clinton family hasn’t responded to the onslaught of memes taking over social media, things might change if he is challenged to make his own version of the meme. And, perhaps, we could even get a non-photoshopped present-day composite to feed our quarantine entertainment needs.