Polandball, also known as Countryball, is an Internet meme that was created on the German imageboard krautchan.net sometime in the second half of 2009. The memes have the form of web cartoons (often converted to animation) in which individual countries are displayed as ball-shaped characters, who often use broken English and make fun of national stereotypes or international relations. Despite its satirical nature, the hashtag #polandball is considered to be neutral.
One of the characteristics that define Polandball cartoons is the way their eyes are presented. The spherical characters do not have any pupils, eyebrows, or mouths, nor do they have arms or legs. The way the eyes are drawn is the main way of expressing emotions.
The beginnings of Polandball can be traced back to a UK forum user who used the nickname Falco. In September 2009, Falco created the first Polandball meme, using Microsoft Paint. A way to provoke Polish forum users was to write posts in broken English. According to Wojciech Orlinski, an editor who analyzed the Polandball phenomenon for Gazeta Wyborcza, users from Russia also took part in the graphic’s creation.
Some other sources also suggest that Polandball has its origins in a war between Polish Internet users and „the rest of the world” on drawball.com. This site allows users to draw in a circle displayed on the site. Polish Internet users decided to draw a Polish flag with the word „POLAND” in the middle. Please read my other article where I explain why Poland’s flag is Whire and Red. Hundreds of thousands of Poles joined the campaign. Then, however, a swastika appeared in the drawings. It was a response received from „the rest of the world”. That event is considered to be the beginning of the Polandball meme.
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The Genesis of Polandball
As mentioned above, Polandball was born on the German imageboard krautchan.net in the second half of 2009. However, over the years the meme has evolved and grown, leaving its original home in order to reach a wider audience.
One of the ways Polandball has evolved is by creating Countryhumans, a spin-off version of the original meme. Countryhumans presents countries as being human figures rather than spherical balls, and often features more detailed as well as realistic drawings. Polandball and countryhumans are related but not the same thing. In fact, they developed somewhat independently of each other.
Another way Polandball evolved is through its presence on social media and various social platforms. The meme has become very popular on platforms such as Reddit and Facebook, and that inspired the development of various fan sites and social communities around it.
Despite its popularity, Polandball sparked some debate. Some criticize the meme for perpetuating negative stereotypes, while others defend it as a form of satire. Like with any meme or other form of media, it is important to think about the potential consequences of sharing them.
Artistic Aspects of Polandball
Polandball cartoons are known for their distinct drawing style and use of colors. Characters are usually drawn in one color, except for the eyes and any symbols or flags that may be included.
There are national symbols and flags often included in Polandball comics in order to demonstrate which country is being featured. These symbols can be controversial, as they can promote nationalism. It is important to consider the context in which these symbols are used.
Polandball cartoons usually use only a few basic colors, such as red, blue, green, and yellow. These colors are used to represent different countries as well as add visual interest to the comic. By using a limited number of colors, the art style is both simple and fun.
Why Is The Polish Flag Upside Down?
There are many characters in the Polandball series, but Poland is the main one in most episodes. We can see the highlight of Poland’s history in those. Comic shows the problems and difficulties Poland has had in the past and how much the country likes to remember all the good things that occurred in its history. The memes in the series show Polandball as a character that people sympathize with.
In Polandball the colors of the Polish flag are intentionally swapped. The ball is red and white, not white and red. The official statement on the Polandball Subreddit says that in Poland „everything is upside down. People, cars and even whole cities. That’s why Poland is drawn upside down””.Upside down” can also mean „the wrong way,” which gives the other meaning to the color swap. Everything is not the way it should be in Poland, so even the ball representing the country has the wrong colors.
Broken English Language
An important aspect of these cartoons is how the language is used. Many of the characters are shown as speaking broken English, which is a way of making fun of national stereotypes and cultural differences.
Broken English is a term that refers to the usage of English by non-native speakers. In the context of Polandball, broken English is often used to represent countries with limited knowledge of English or a strong accent when speaking the language.
The use of broken English in the Polandball cartoon can be seen as a way to satirize the linguistic differences. It can also be seen as a way to make fun of how certain countries or nationalities are perceived.
However, it is important to remember that the broken English in the Polandball comic should not be taken seriously. The characters are not meant to be actual representatives of real people or countries, but rather humorous exaggerations of stereotypes.
Stereotypes and Satirical View of Nationalities
One of the main subjects of Polandball’s comic stories is the usage of national stereotypes for humorous purposes. Such characters are often exaggerated versions of certain attributes or characteristics associated with particular countries.
For example, a cartoon may present a Germany as extremely organized and efficient, while a character representing France may be shown as relaxed and romantic. Those features should not be taken literally.
However, it should be remembered that the use of national stereotypes in Polandball comics should not be taken seriously. The characters are not meant to be accurate representations of real people or countries, but rather humorous exaggerations for the purpose of satire.