The Ordinary, the Artistic and the Idiotic (Putong, Wenyi and Erbi) – the hottest Internet meme happening now in China

November 2, 2011Chiafu Chen 陳家福13 Comments, , , , , , ,

It all started just like any other Internet memes. Some folks on the internets posted a series of composite photos, each consisting of three images of some young people. From left to right, or top to bottom, the three images would respectively represent

  • An ordinary youth (putong qingnian, 普通青年),
  • An artistic youth (wenyi qingnian, 文艺青年, a young person of artistic and cultural sensibility, or rather, of quasi-hipster quality)
  • And finally, (much to a humorously dramatic effect) an idiotic youth (erbi qingnian, 二逼青年), who would perform some funny, non-sequester or socially awkward deeds.

The meme got so popular that not only has it gained its own Chinese acronym 普文二 (pu-wen-er), it soon evolved into a more concise form: a simple sequence of three items (photos or phrases) under the same category put together would suffice to deliver a joke of the same nature and immediately be understood by friends within your online social circle.

As a result, the past few days saw an explosive creation of wu-wen-er trios spreading across major Chinese social network websites such as Sina Weibo and Renren.com.

So without further ado, below is a collection of many cleverly devised pu-wen-er photos for your entertainment. (Sources:gouleide.com, shangdu.com, Baidu Tieba)

From left to right: the ordinary youth, the artistic youth and the idiotic young cellist

The ordinary, artistic and idiotic Captain Sparrow

Jack Ma, in his ordinary, artistic and idiotic forms.

Three different ways of parking your car


Pu-wen-er WoW


Translate: (after love making ends prematurely): The ordinary boyfriend: sorry honey…
The artistic (sensitive) boyfriend: Sorry. I can hardly control myself with you.
The idiotic boyfriend: That felt darn good huh?

Pu-wen-er Zhu Bajie

Now, can you come up with an ordinary-artistic-idiotic combination of your own?

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13 comments to “The Ordinary, the Artistic and the Idiotic (Putong, Wenyi and Erbi) – the hottest Internet meme happening now in China”

  1. col | November 2, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    the first cellist is my friend at renda~~~ he’s funny LOL

  2. [...] posts a collection of funny pictures which reflect the three stereotype images of Chinese youth – the ordinary, the artistic and the idiotic. [...]

  3. Tanner Campbell | November 4, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    These are all fantastic. :)

  4. Augis | November 8, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Some of them look idiotic in all three pictures…

  5. anil khanna | November 13, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    shift from classification of virtuous,produtive person,lazy parasite to ordinary,artistic and idiot.

  6. [...] التي تعكس الثلاث صور النمطية  للشباب الصينيين – العادي، الفنان، والأحمق. [...]

  7. Olof | November 14, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Wow these are awesome! Love the noodles one and the apple-taped-to-the-computer.

  8. [...] For this highly popular meme, three photos are cobbled together — one representing the “ordinary youth,” another representing the “artistic youth” and finally the “idiotic youth.” The meme became so popular so quickly that gained a Chinese acronym, 普文二. [Ministry of Tofu]. [...]

  9. [...] For this highly popular meme, three photos are cobbled together — one representing the “ordinary youth,” another representing the “artistic youth” and finally the “idiotic youth.” The meme became so popular so quickly that gained a Chinese acronym, 普文二. [Ministry of Tofu] [...]

  10. [...] youth.” The meme became so popular so quickly that gained a Chinese acronym, 普文二. [Ministry of Tofu] Comments Are [...]

  11. [...] youth.” The meme became so popular so quickly that gained a Chinese acronym, 普文二. [Ministry of Tofu] Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInRedditStumbleUponDiggTumblrPinterestEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe [...]

  12. [...] China Central Television inspired this hilarious meme when they aired a broadcast about an exhibit at the National Museum of China … and blurred the genitals on Michaelangelo’s famous David. Ever since, internet users have poked fun at the “anti-vulgarism campaign” by putting clothes on famous nude works of art. [Ministry of Tofu]Singing SchoolchildrenThe song “Shang Bu Qi” has become something of an anthem of the Chinese internet. So when this video appeared on Youku — the Chinese version of YouTube — featuring a bus full of schoolchildren singing the song, it instantly went viral. [China Smack]Dark Glasses PortraitsAnother show of support for Chen Guangcheng, Chinese internet users snapped photos of themselves wearing the blind activist’s signature sunglasses. [Christian Science Monitor]The Salt Panic IncidentIn 2011, China was very fearful of radiation following the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan. When chatter began that salt could fight the effects, thanks to its iodine content, people began buying stores out of salt. And images of empty salt shelves became all the rage on the internet. [China Whisper]Grass Mud HorseThese alpacas might look cute and fuzzy, but they are an example of a highly political meme in China. Grass mud horse, or Cao Ni Ma, first appeared in January 2009 as a symbol of anti-censorship sentiment in this video. Earlier this month, the alpaca symbol was seen on many signs in a protest in Hong Kong as Chinese President Hu Jintao celebrated the 15th anniversary of the city’s handover to China. On the internet, July 1 was officially dubbed “Grass Mud Horse Day,” as high numbers of people posted alpaca images. [Tea Leaf Nation, NY Times]Sunflower seedsSimilarly, the sunflower seed has become an online symbol for artist Ai Weiwei, whose name and likeness where quickly scrubbed from the Chinese internet when he was detained in 2011. (Watch the talk Ai Weiwei made for TED2011, just weeks before he was put under arrest in China and his studio destroyed.) As supporters realized that Weiwei’s nicknames, and even puns related to him, were also being blocked, they channeled his famous sunflower fields installation at the Tate Modern as a form of protest. [Fast Company]Pu-Wen-ErFor this highly popular meme, three photos are cobbled together — one representing the “ordinary youth,” another representing the “artistic youth” and finally the “idiotic youth.” The meme became so popular so quickly that gained a Chinese acronym, 普文二. [Ministry of Tofu] [...]

  13. [...] For this highly popular meme, three photos are cobbled together — one representing the “ordinary youth,” another representing the “artistic youth” and finally the “idiotic youth.” The meme became so popular so quickly that gained a Chinese acronym, 普文二. [Ministry of Tofu] [...]

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