Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What is Polandball?

There are very few things on the Internet where knowledge of history and geopolitics are required to get the joke, but Polandball is one of them. It is technically classified as a "meme", but a better description is to call it a crowd sourced webcomic.

Polandball, or Countryballs, are short comics where balls colored to look like national flags interact with each other. Countryballs have no limbs, pupils, eyebrows or mouth and cannot into proper English (see what I did there). They personify many of the national stereotypes of the country they represent. For example, the United States (or USAball) is portrayed wearing sunglasses, is ignorant of many countries (confuses Austria with Australia) and more conservative than its fellow Countryballs (who he inevitably calls communist whenever they disagree).

Other countries, both past and present, are represented as well. The Netherlands is usually pictured stoned, Russia is obsessed with combating "homosex" and Austria-Hungary appears to have a split personality. There is, of course, Poland, the star of the series. Despite the numerous other Countryballs, he appears the most often, usually to be bullied by the other countries or chased by the UK for not cleaning his toilet properly.

Although it got its start on a German-language site as a way of making fun of a Polish user who spoke poor English, the concept has spread across the Internet in recent years. I primarily follow new creations on Reddit, but you can find them posted in many other places. They even have a Wiki, but no page on Wikipedia yet unless you use the Simple English Wikipedia.

The strip at the top right is one of my favorites, since my own job was effected by the shutdown when OFAC stopped updating their list of people not to do business with. While current events play a big role in the various stories contributors create, history isn't ignored either. I could go on and on, but I think you should just take a look and enjoy this smart and humorous meme yourself.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. Check out his short fiction. When not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

2 comments:

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  2. I scripted a Polandball comic in which Israel uses "Jew Physics" to bring alternative history countries like the CSA, the modern Ottoman Empire, and the modern Third Reich into our own reality. I haven't had time to draw the actual comic, though.

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