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[[File:Polandball.PNG|thumb|200px|User-generated representation of Polandball.]]
'''Polandball''', also known as '''countryball''', is a [[user-generated]] [[internet meme]] which originated on the /int/ board of German imageboard Krautchan.net in the latter half of 2009. The meme is manifested in a large number of [[online comics]], where [[country|countries]] are presented as spherical [[persona]]s that interact in often [[broken English]], poking fun at national [[stereotypes]] and [[international relations]]. The comics style may be referred to both as Polandball (by convention, even in casecases where there is no Poland among the cartoon characters) and countryball (or, collectively, countryballs).
 
==Background==
Polandball has its roots in an August 2009 'cyberwar' between Polish Internet users and the rest of the world on drawball.com. The website, which offers a virtual canvas, allows Internet users to draw whatever they want, and to draw over others' drawings. On the [[Internet in Poland|Polish Internet]], an idea was raised to draw the [[Flag of Poland|Polish flag]] on the ball, and thousands of Poles together managed to take over the drawball with a painting of white on top of red, with the word "[[Poland|POLSKA]]" written in the middle. After co-ordination from [[4chan]], this was then covered over by a giant [[Nazi swastika|swastika]].<ref name="gazeta">{{cite news|url=http://wyborcza.pl/1,86116,7462232,Wyniosle_lol_zaborcow__czyli_Polandball.html|title=Wyniosłe lol zaborców, czyli Polandball|last=Orliński|first=Wojciech|authorlink=Wojciech Orliński|date=165 August 2014|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20120101071958/http://wyborcza.pl/1,86116,7462232,Wyniosle_lol_zaborcow__czyli_Polandball.html|archivedate=1 January 20102012|publisher=[[Gazeta Wyborcza]]|language=Polish|accessdate=256 MarchAugust 20122014}}</ref><ref name="cooltura">{{cite news|url=http://www.elondyn.co.uk/newsy,wpis,7731|title=Znowu lecą z nami w... kulki|last=Zapałowski|first=Radosław|date=15 February 2010|publisher=[[Cooltura]]|language=Polish|accessdate=226 MarchAugust 20122014|archiveurl=http://www.webcitation.org/6Rat4O7DW|archivedate=5 August 2014}}</ref>
 
Krautchan.net is a German-language [[imageboard]] whose /INTint/ board is frequented by English-speaking [[netizen]]s. The beginning of the Polandball meme is credited to ''Falco'', a Brit on /INTint/, who in September 2009 created the meme using [[MS Paint]] in an apolitical way to [[troll (internet)|troll]] ''Wojak'', a Pole on the same board who contributes in [[wikt:broken English|broken English]], after which Polandball cartoons were enthusiastically drawn by [[Russians]].<ref name="gazeta" /><ref name="przeglad">{{cite news|url=http://www.przeglad-tygodnik.pl/pl/artykul/fenomem|title=Fenomem - Polska nie umieć kosmos|last=Kapiszewski|first=Kuba|date=13/5 April 2010|publisher=[[Przegląd]]|language=Polish|accessdate=265 MarchAugust 20122014|archiveurl=http://www.webcitation.org/6Rasv9f4k|archivedate=5 August 2014}}</ref><ref name="KYM">{{cite web|url=http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/polandball|title=Polandball|publisher=[[Knowyourmeme]]|accessdate=266 August 2014}}</ref><ref name=kurzgeek />
 
March 2012}}</ref>
Polandball comics have no defined authors, and anyone is able to make one.<ref name=vox /> This has culminated in the meme propagating across various sites on the internet, including [[Reddit]].<ref name=kurzgeek /><ref name=businesspost>{{cite news|last1=Ryan|first1=Emmet|title=Polandball is Reddit's answer to Crimea crisis|url=http://www.businesspost.ie/#!story/Home/News/Polandball+is+Reddit's+answer+to+Crimea+crisis/id/87198161-2385-315c-abda-d92435575507|accessdate=8 November 2014|work=[[The Sunday Business Post]]|date=4 March 2014}}</ref>
 
==Themes==
[[File:Estonia cannot into Nordic.jpg|thumb|left|An example of a Polandball comic, featuring Estonia and the [[Nordic countries]].]]
The premise of Polandball, which gained in popularity in the wake of the [[2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash|crash in Smolensk]] which killed [[Polish President]] [[Lech Kaczyński]], is it represents Poland and its [[history of Poland|history]], [[Foreign relations of Poland|relations with other countries]], and [[stereotype]]s,<ref name="przeglad" /><ref name="hiro">{{cite news|url=http://hiro.pl/magazyn/magazyn_zjawiska/memy.html|title=MEMY. Legendy Internetu|last=Cegielski|first=Tomek|date=12 April
2011|publisher=Hiro.pl|language=Polish|accessdate=24 March 2012}}</ref> focussing on Polish [[megalomania]] and [[Complex (psychology)|national complexes]].<ref name="cooltura" /> Interactions between countryballs tend to be written in broken English and [[internet slang]], reminiscent of the [[Lolcat]] meme, and by the end of the cartoon Poland, which is purposely represented as red on top of white (the reverse of the Polish flag), is typically seen weeping.<ref name="gazeta" /><ref name="cooltura" />
 
===Poland===
Some Polandball comics arise from the premise that Russia can fly into space, whilst Poland can not. One of the most popular Polandball cartoons begins with the premise that Earth is going to be struck by a giant meteor, leading to all countries with [[space technology]] leaving Earth and going into [[orbit]] around the planet. At the end of the cartoon, Poland, still on earth, is crying, and in broken English pronounces the canonical Polandball catchphrase "Poland cannot into space".<ref name="przeglad" /> In this [[Polish joke|humorous way]], Russians put a halt to all discussion with Poles on which country is superior.<ref name="gazeta"/><ref name="przeglad" /><ref name="hiro" /> In another Polandball comic which delves into historic-political [[satire]], Poland is seen to be boring other countryballs, with its proclamation of "So when we crushed Russia and the turks [sic] were were the biggest country in the world... and..", leading other countryballs to laugh at it. Poland, by now irritated, utters [[:wikt:kurwa|''kurwa'']], and holds up a sign saying "Internet serious business", which is an internet slogan used to deride others who treat subjects with disdain, and in Polandball convention, finishes by crying.<ref name="gazeta" /><ref name="cooltura" /><ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.webcitation.org/66ROeMOIC|title=Polandball cartoon|date=Unknown|publisher=Unknown|accessdate=26 March 2012}}</ref>
[[File:Poland can into the European Space Agency.png|thumb|upright|An example of a Polandball comic which is an extension of the "Poland cannot into space" catchprase. The comic references Poland joining the [[European Space Agency]] in 2012.]]
The premise of Polandball, which gained in popularity in the wake of the [[2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash|crash in Smolensk]] which killed [[Polish President]] [[Lech Kaczyński]], is it represents Poland and its [[history of Poland|history]], [[Foreign relations of Poland|relations with other countries]], and [[stereotype]]s,<ref name="przeglad" /><ref name="hiro">{{cite news|url=http://hiro.pl/magazyn/magazyn_zjawiska/memy.html|title=MEMY. Legendy Internetu|last=Cegielski|first=Tomek|date=12 April 2011|publisher=Hiro.pl|language=Polish|accessdate=5 August 2014|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20110415014502/http://hiro.pl/magazyn/magazyn_zjawiska/memy.html|archivedate=5 August 2014}}</ref> focussing on Polish [[megalomania]] and [[Complex (psychology)|national complexes]].<ref name="cooltura" /><ref>{{cite news|last1=Kralka|first1=Jakub|title=Polski internet to potęga, po co te kompleksy?|url=http://www.spidersweb.pl/2012/05/polski-internet-to-potega-po-co-te-kompleksy.html|accessdate=5 August 2014|publisher=Spider's Web|date=11 May 2012|archiveurl=http://www.webcitation.org/6RbymTi82|archivedate=5 August 2014|language=Polish}}</ref> Interactions between countryballs tend to be written in broken English and [[internet slang]], reminiscent of the [[Lolcat]] meme, and by the end of the cartoon Poland, which is purposely represented as red on top of white (the reverse of the Polish flag), is typically seen weeping.<ref name="gazeta" /><ref name="cooltura" />
 
Some Polandball comics arise from the premise that Russia can fly into space, whilst Poland can not. One of the most popular Polandball cartoons begins with the premise that Earth is going to be struck by a giant meteor, leading to all countries with [[space technology]] leaving Earth and going into [[orbit]] around the planet. At the end of the cartoon, Poland, still on earth, is crying, and in broken English pronounces the canonical Polandball catchphrase "Poland cannot into space".<ref name="przeglad" /><ref name=infokam /> In this [[Polish joke|humorous way]], Russians put a halt to all discussion with Poles on which country is superior.<ref name="gazeta"/><ref name="przeglad" /><ref name="hiro" /> In another Polandball comic which delves into historic-political [[satire]], Poland is seen to be boring other countryballs, with its proclamation of "So when we crushed Russia and the turks [sic] were were the biggest country in the world... and..", leading other countryballs to laugh at it. Poland, by now irritated, utters [[:wikt:kurwa|''kurwa'']], and holds up a sign saying "Internet serious business", which is an internet slogan used to deride others who treat subjects with disdain, and in Polandball convention, finishes by crying.<ref name="gazeta" /><ref name="cooltura" /><ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.webcitation.org/66ROeMOIC|title=Polandball cartoon|date=Unknown|publisher=Unknown|accessdate=26 March 2012}}</ref>
==Other countryballs==
 
[[File:Britball.png|thumb|right|upright|A user-generated representation of Britain in Polandball-style]] Polandball can also include comics on other countries, but by convention these comics are usually still referred to as Polandball,<ref name="gazeta" /> although they can also be called countryballs.<ref name="KYM" /> According to [[Lurkmore.to]], [[Bavaria]] has its own ball, and other balls have been created for [[U.S. states]], [[Catalonia]] and [[Siberia]], amongst others. [[Singapore]] takes the form of a triangle and is called Tringapore; [[Israel]] takes the form of a [[hypercube]] (in reference to [[Jewish physics]]); [[Kazakhstan]] takes the form of a brick; and [[United Kingdom|Britain]] is shown wearing a [[top hat]] and [[monocle]].<ref>{{cite web|url=http://lurkmore.to/index.php?title=Int&oldid=1561834#Polandball|title=Int|date=26 December 2011|publisher=[[Lurkmore.to]]|language=Russian|accessdate=27 March 2012}}</ref>
===Other countryballscountries===
[[File:Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet.png|thumb|left|A Polandball comic satirising [[Sinterklaas]] and [[Zwarte Piet]], and how the tradition is perceived outside of the Netherlands.]]
[[File:Britball.png|thumb|right|upright|A user-generated representation of Britain in Polandball-style]] Polandball can also include comics on other countries, but by convention these comics are usually still referred to as Polandball,<ref name="gazeta" /> although they can also be called countryballs.<ref name="KYM"kurzgeek /> AccordingCountries toare [[Lurkmore.to]],also [[Bavaria]]represented has its own ball, and otheras balls have been created for [[U.S. states]],<ref [[Catalonia]]name=vox and/> [[Siberia]], amongst others.although [[Singapore]] takes the form of a triangle and is called Tringapore; [[Israel]] takes the form of a [[hypercube]] (in reference to [[Jewish physics]]); [[Kazakhstan]] takes the form of a brick; and [[United Kingdom|Britain]] is shown wearing a [[top hat]] and [[monocle]].<ref name=kurzgeek>{{cite webbook|urllast1=http://lurkmore.to/index.php?titlePlomlompom|first1=IntNils Dagsson Moskopp Erlehmann &oldid=1561834#Polandball Christian Heller|title=IntInternet-Meme : kurz & geek|date=26 December 20112013|publisher=[[Lurkmore.toO'Reilly Media|O'Reilly Verlag]]|languageisbn=Russian9783868998061|pages=86-88|edition=1|url=http://books.google.com.au/books?id=bRywAgAAQBAJ|accessdate=275 MarchAugust 20122014|language=German|chapter=MS-Paint-Comics}}</ref>
 
The simplicity of Polandball, added with it's recognition of world history and a focus on current affairs, makes the meme suited to commenting on international events.<ref name=vox>{{cite news|last1=Fisher|first1=Max|title=Is there a series of irreverent political cartoons summing up the crisis?|url=http://www.vox.com/cards/ukraine-everything-you-need-to-know/is-there-a-series-of-pithy-political-cartoons-summing-up-the-crisis|accessdate=6 August 2014|publisher=[[Vox Media]]|date=25 July 2014|archiveurl=http://www.peeep.us/bd843cb0|archivedate=6 August 2014}}</ref> Amongst events which have been covered by Polandball and have been noted in the media, are the [[Senkaku Islands dispute]],<ref>{{cite news|title=Japon, Chine, vers une nouvelle guerre froide|url=http://www.franceculture.fr/emission-affaires-etrangeres-japon-chine-vers-une-nouvelle-guerre-froide-2013-03-09|accessdate=8 November 2014|work=[[France Culture]]|date=9 March 2013|archiveurl=http://www.webcitation.org/6Tve15wmz|archivedate=8 November 2014|language=French}}</ref> the [[Papal conclave, 2013|2013 papal conclave]] which saw Jorge Mario Bergoglio being elected as the [[Pope Francis|new Pope]],<ref>{{cite news|title=Wybór Franciszka okiem internautów|url=http://wiadomosci.onet.pl/swiat/wybor-franciszka-okiem-internautow/e1j5e|accessdate=6 August 2014|publisher=[[Onet.pl]]|date=14 March 2013|archiveurl=http://www.peeep.us/037878fc|archivedate=6 August 2014|language=Polish}}</ref> the [[2014 Ukrainian crisis]],<ref name=vox /><ref>{{cite news|title=Аниматор из Камышина нарисовал мультфильм о «заболевшей» Украине|url=http://www.vlg.aif.ru/society/details/1311029|accessdate=8 November 2014|work=[[Argumenty i Fakty]]|date=6 August 2014|archiveurl=http://www.webcitation.org/6TvdP3cDW|archivedate=8 November 2014|location=[[Volgograd]]|language=Russian}}</ref><ref name=infokam>{{cite news|title=Камышин «может в кантриболз»|url=http://infokam.su/n16994.html|accessdate=8 November 2014|work=Infokam|date=7 August 2014|archiveurl=http://www.webcitation.org/6TvdlsKwi|archivedate=8 November 2014|language=Russian}}</ref> the [[2014 Crimean crisis]]<ref name=businesspost/> and issues relating to [[Filipinos in Taiwan|Filipino workers in Taiwan]].<ref>{{cite news|title=台灣最美麗的風景是人 真的嗎? (Taiwan is one of the most beautiful landscapes, really?)|url=http://www.appledaily.com.tw/realtimenews/article/life/20140731/443613/%E5%8F%B0%E7%81%A3%E6%9C%80%E7%BE%8E%E9%BA%97%E7%9A%84%E9%A2%A8%E6%99%AF%E6%98%AF%E4%BA%BA%E3%80%80%E7%9C%9F%E7%9A%84%E5%97%8E%EF%BC%9F|accessdate=6 August 2014|publisher=[[Apple Daily|Apple Daily (Taiwanese edition)]]|date=31 July 2014|archiveurl=http://www.webcitation.org/6RcFSMpvN|archivedate=6 August 2014|language=Chinese}}</ref>
 
== Assessment ==
[[File:Poland can into Europa.png|thumb|upright|An example of a Polandball comic which sees Poland playing [[Europa Universalis]]. This comic was used by Wojciech Oleksiak on culture.pl to illustrate the concept of Poles telling stories about their history.<ref name="casestudy"/>]]
A report on [[Vesti FM]] noted a post on [[Livejournal]] which asked readers to list five images that come to mind when thinking of Poland or [[Poles]]. The five pages of responses, illustrating the deep historical ties between Russia and Poland, recalled subjects including [[False Dmitriy I]], ''Tomek in the land of the kangaroos'' by Polish author [[Alfred Szklarski]], [[Czterej pancerni i pies]] (Four tank-men and a dog), [[Russophobia]] and Polandball.<ref>{{cite news|last1=Klava|first1=P.|title=Польша у россиян ассоциируется с Лжедмитрием и Польшаром|url=http://radiovesti.ru/episode/show/episode_id/22667|accessdate=8 November 2014|work=[[Vesti FM]]|date=25 August 2013|archiveurl=http://www.webcitation.org/6Tvc8mT6B|archivedate=8 November 2014|language=Russian}}</ref>
 
Wojciech Oleksiak, writing on culture.pl, a project of the Polish government funded [[Adam Mickiewicz Institute]] which has the aim of promoting Polish language and culture abroad, noted that due to anyone being able to create a Polandball comic, the existence of the meme has created new opportunities for people to express their personal views on race, religion and history. In describing Polandball as an example of ''par excellence'' on the internet, he further stated that comic plots can be "rude, impolite, racist, abusive, or just plain dumb", whilst also noting that the [[political incorrectness|political incorrect]] nature of the comics add to the attractiveness of the meme.<ref name="casestudy">{{cite news|last1=Oleksiak|first1=Wojciech|title=Polandball - A Case Study|url=http://culture.pl/en/article/polandball-a-case-study|accessdate=6 August 2014|work=Culture.pl|publisher=[[Adam Mickiewicz Institute]]|date=9 June 2014|archiveurl=http://www.webcitation.org/6RcFd8k2j|archivedate=6 August 2014}}</ref>
 
At the same time, Oleksiak notes that Polandball comics often employ exaggerated Polish stereotypes, such as Poles not being as proficient in English as other nationalities, and Poland itself being a country full of dull-witted psycho-Catholics. On the other hand, some stereotypes employed in Polandball comics, such as Poles telling stories about the nations glorious history and dwelling on a deep rooted martyrdom is mostly true, whilst the stereotype that Poles hold many national complexes and blames external forces for their own failures is true, but somewhat justified.<ref name=casestudy />
 
Oleksiak further notes, from Polandball Poles can learn to have "a sense of humour about our long-time grudges".<ref name=casestudy />
 
== See also ==
* [[Hetalia: Axis Powers]]
 
== References ==
== External links ==
{{commonscat|Polandball}}
* [http://www.reddit.com/r/polandball Polandball at Reddit]
* [http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/polandball Polandball at Knowyourmeme.com]
* [http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?167916-Polandball-anyone Polandball at militaryphotos.net]
 
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