(This is part of an occasional series in which we explain what’s behind a popular meme. We like to call it memesplaining; you might call it meme-ruining. Regardless, if you just chanced upon a joke, tweet, image, app or GIF you don’t understand, we have the answers — insofar as answers can be had.)

The meme: “American Chopper”

Two white men yelling over each other on the Internet is so commonplace that most wouldn’t give it a second glance.

But what if those very angry men were having a very nuanced discussion about the gender pay gap? Or Garfield? Or a metacommentary on the rhetorical structure of jokes?

Enter the “American Chopper” meme, which employs a very specific joke form to win arguments against the straw men in your head, using screenshots from the mid-2000s TV show “American Chopper.”

Below, we’ve explained pretty much everything you need to know about it in the only correct way: with more “American Chopper” memes.

How does this meme work?


(Meme by Ric Sanchez/The Washington Post)

Can you give me an example?

Why do people like it?

Did that many people watch “American Chopper”?


Please retweet and like. (Meme by Ric Sanchez/The Washington Post)

Is this meme too dang tall?

Has this meme already crossed over with other memes?

More reading: