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Steve Barker

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About

“I Can Count to Potato” is a catchphrase that is meant to indicate a lack of intelligence, typically in photographs of people with learning disabilities or pictures of celebrities that appear to be mentally handicapped. It is sometimes used in image boards and web forums as a reaction image to comments that are deemed unintelligent. Due to the insensitive nature of the meme, the expression is often associated with ableism[7], a type of discrimination against people with disabilities.

Origin

The phrase “I can count to potato” was first used in the 2005 comedy film The Ringer in which con man Steve Barker (played by Johnny Knoxville) pretends to be mentally disabled in order to compete in the Special Olympics. The phrase can be heard at 1:14 in the following clip where Barker rehearses his performance in the mirror:

A “count to potato” t-shirt was submitted to CafePress[8] on January 10th, 2006. The earliest known image macro featuring a photo of reality television star Heidi Montag was posted on the celebrity meme blog ROFL Razzi[1] on November 8th, 2008.

Spread

An image macro of a young boy with down syndrome was submitted to The Chive[15] on February 24th, 2009. On September 20th, a photo featuring a young girl with down syndrome with an Advice Dog color wheel background was submitted to FunnyJunk.[3] Redditor Hipll[2] claimed that the photo of the girl spread across the Internet after her parents published it in the book Surprise Package: When God Turns Your Life Upside Down’s.[4]

On February 9th, 2010, a post titled “Ching Chong Potato” was submitted to FunnyJunk with a photo of an asian male with down-syndrome appearing to be conducting an orchestra accompanied by the caption “and-a one and-a four and a ching chong potato.” The image was subsequently posted on Tumblr[11], deviantArt[12] and inspired the creation of a Facebook[10] page.

On 4chan, “count to potato” images are often used as a combo breaker in “count to X” threads, as seen in an archived thread[17] from May 28th, 2010.

On December 19th, 2011, a Scumbag Steve derivative was submitted to the /r/adviceanimals subreddit and reached the front page accumulating over 8,500 upvotes within a month. The post was subsequently criticized for being ableist in the /r/ShitRedditSays[6] subreddit the same day.

As of February 15th, 2011, an “I can count to potato” Facebook[14] page has 459 likes, a Quickmeme[16] page for “U are so potato” has 29 submissions and there are 30 Yahoo Answers[13] questions mentioning “count to potato”.

Examples


Search Interest

External References

[1]ROFL Razzi – i can count to potato…

[2] Reddit – Hipll

[3] FunnyJunk – I can count to potato

[4] Parable – Surprise Package – When God Turns Your Life Upside Down’s#

[5] Reddit – I’m going to hell for this

[6] Reddit – (on a picture of a kid with Down’s syndrome) I can count to potato! Only counts to firetruck. [+955]

[7] Wikipedia – Ableism

[8] Cafe Press – I can count to potato black shirt

[9] FunnyJunk – ching chong potato

[10] Facebook – Ching Chong Potato

[11] Tumblr – #ching chong potato

[12] deviantArt – he can count to potato

[13] Yahoo Answers – count to potato

[14] Facebook – I Can Count to Potato

[15] The Chive – this is not funny

[16] Quickmeme – U are so potato

[17] Chanarchive – Count to 99

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