popular culture

The curious afterlife of Skeletor as a meme trolling Trump, Brexit and, of course, He-Man

Skeletor has endured as the everlasting icon of the popular toys and cartoon franchise.

Popular culture has a way of living beyond its expiration date on the internet. The song, film or cartoon that was once popular may disappear from the mainstream, but re-emerges years later and evolves into something else entirely online. The comeback of Skeletor on the internet is a perfect case study.

The muscular blue demon with a skull in place of his head became a household name after the release of the animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in 1983. Based on Mattel’s toy line, the adventures of He-Man centered around the titular hero’s efforts to prevent Skeletor’s evil forces from conquering the planet Eternia. Loosely inspired by Robert E Howard’s Conan the Barbarian stories, the He-Man franchise’s sword-and-sorcery tales and his declaration “I have the power” were very popular throughout the 1980s, including in India, where the series was broadcast on Doordarshan.

The failure of the franchise’s first and only live-action film, Masters of the Universe (1987), spelled doom for Eternia. The toys, comic books, and the spin-offs disappeared, and a new animated series was not produced until 2002.

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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

Cut to 2017: Skeletor continues to run amok on the internet thanks to the Twitter account @GrumpySkeletor. The account draws inspiration from various elements of the character, including his disdain for He-Man, his repeated attempts to fight the bulky hero and his sarcastic quips targeted at his subordinates. Skeletor’s misanthropy is fused them with contemporary pop-culture references to create jokes that he would most likely crack.

Followed by over 87,000 Twitter accounts, @GrumpySkeletor is only the latest incarnation of a Skeletor meme since the 2000s.

In 2005, Skeletor appeared on the internet for the first time as a meme. A parody video, Fabulous Secret Powers, was released on YouTube, which showed He-Man singing 4 Non Blondes’ 1992 hit What’s Up. The video was uploaded on various websites and re-blogged under various titles, most popularly as He-Man Sings.

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Fabulous Secret Powers.

The video featured Skeletor yelling “Myaah” for a split second. The moment was taken out of context and remodelled into memes, fan art and remix videos.

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Skeletor's Myah.

This was followed by “Inspirational Skeletor”, an image macro series consisting of screenshots featuring Skeletor from the ‘80s animated series along with sagely life advice.

In December 2014, Skeletor reappeared in an online campaign by Honda wherein the character “took over” the automobile company’s Twitter account.

Honda’s Twitter account began to tweet quotes by and images of Skeletor who listed the benefits of owning a Honda product. The short-lived campaign was an early teaser for what Skeletor was to become on Twitter thanks to the efforts of @GrumpySkeletor.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.