Internet and memes

Press F to pay respects: five years to a meme that has become the Internet’s universal response to death and domestic tragedies

As a strange moment, Call of Duty has gone from jokes and irony to a very serious analogue of the abbreviation RIP.

Every time a celebrity dies, and this is reported on social networks, the Internet is filled with sorrow. Everyone expresses his feelings in different ways: from huge essays to a short and understandable “RIP” (Rest in Peace, “Rest in Peace”).

But for several years already, along with this, identical messages “F” have appeared under posts .. Sometimes the number of mentions of a letter reaches enormous proportions.

on Reddit 
news about Stan Lee’s death

“F” is a short version of the phrase-meme “Press F to pay respects” (“Press F to honor / pay respect”). And on November 4, 2019 she was five years old. TJ recalls the story of a phrase that has gone from irony to the RIP counterpart for the entire Internet.

Press F to learn meme history

This exact date of birth of the meme is not accidental – on November 4, 2014, the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare game was released worldwide. In its beginning, there was a rather serious and gloomy scene: the funeral of Will Iron, the best friend of the protagonist who died during the fighting in South Korea.

To the sad music, the character of Kevin Spacey, who salutes the deceased by touching the coffin, first comes to the coffin. Gradually, the turn reaches the main character, and control passes to the player. “Press F to pay respects” appears (“Press X to pay respects” in the console version). By pressing a button, the hero also touches the coffin and pays tribute to a friend.

The media and the players criticized the scene for their pretense and attempt to tell people exactly what they should feel at a particular moment. “The game literally encourages you to experience the right emotions through the prompts. Instead of creating an atmosphere, letting the scene unfold and letting you create your own feelings, developers are asked to press a button to feel sad. It’s a cheap and funny trick, ” explained on Reddit.

On the day the game was released, a comedian and TV host Conan O’Brien walked through the funeral moment in his show: “Press the button to salute? What does that even mean? This is madness! Okay, I’ll do it, this is an emotional moment for me. ”

Press F to see the development of the joke

The moment of Call of Duty, which was recognized as absurd, could simply be forgotten in a few days, but then the Internet came to the rescue. On YouTube, there were parodies of a scene where it was required to press “F”. On Twitter ironically beat the mechanics of the game. The phrase gradually became a meme.

Today is Veteran’s Day – don’t forget to press F to pay tribute

At first, the joke was spread only in the video game community. For example, when streamers went through a game on Twitch and died, the chat immediately noted failure with a lot of comments. For convenience, users reduced the phrase to simply “F” – it immediately showed that the sender ironically expresses sorrow or regret.

In the comic book VG Cats also beat the mechanics, noting that it can lead too far.

Press X to pay tribute. 
Hold Y to fight grief. 
Press RT for uncontrollable sobs. 
Twist RS to fight internal demons

Gradually, the meme “F” in the context of grief and reaction to failures gained such popularity that it was used by those who had never heard of the scene in Call of Duty. For them, the laconic “F” already existed only as an Internet phenomenon and an ironic analogue of the abbreviation RIP.

Received “F” for the test (analogue of two in the USA). 
I realized that the teacher was just trying to pay tribute

My deepest condolences / RIP / F

Something sad is happening / Reddit

Picasso Dies / Artists:

When a McDonald’s employee dies

When a meteorologist dies

Life (Life) without “F” – a lie (Lie). 

Comments on Pornhub: one like – one day without masturbation / Dude, you’re dead

10 years ago, on that fateful day, Mile Scott fell into a pond with carp. 
Press F to pay respects

It is unbelievable that the most recognizable and long-lived cultural phenomenon of the entire Call of Duty series is Press F to pay respects.

Today, my students designated the meme “Press F to pay respects” as something from a “very old video game”

Press F for FC Slavia Prague (the team ended up in the same group of the Champions League with Inter, Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund)

Over time, the line between the ironic and serious use of “F” has faded. One letter, meaning “Salute,” over the years really began to mean a feeling of sorrow. In 2016, at the E3 game show during the Sony conference, they talked about the massacre at the Orlando gay club the day before. During the broadcast of the exhibition, Twitch chat was filled with “F” comments.

Now “F” can often be found in moments when people, animals and services that are significant for the Internet die: from Stephen Hawking and Stan Lee to the Grumpy Cat and the social network Google+. And in most cases, commentators can no longer be blamed for the fact that they show disrespect in this way.


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