Meme Featuring Robert Redford, Certified Midcentury Hottie, Exposes a Generational Divide

On the left, Robert Redford and Patricia Blair in 1964 film The Virginian; on the right, the well-known Nodding Head Meme Guy. They are one in the same! / Images via NBC Universal and YouTube screen capture.

Splinter News writer Nick Martin caused a bit of a commotion yesterday when he asked, in an aptly titled headline, “Did You Know the Nodding Meme Guy Is Robert Freakin’ Redford???”

“Nodding Meme Guy,” formally known as “Nod of Approval” for those not in the know, is a gif used in myriad reaction contexts on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media platforms. The slight grin and zoom-in are some of its key hallmarks. 

Via Giphy

As Know Your Meme explains, the short clip comes from 1972’s Robert Redford-starring film “Jeremiah Johnson,” and the gif has been spreading as a popular meme since at least 2012. Know Your Meme tracks searches for memes contained in its database and, following Martin’s article yesterday afternoon, Google searches containing keywords related to the gif have reached an all-time high. 

Younger social media users and non-cinephiles, though, thought the gif was of the much-younger comic actor and “Baskets” star, Zach Galifinakis. Naturally, intergenerational chaos and a whole lot of snarky commentary ensued on social media.

Cinephiles and pre-millennial social media users: “Well, duh.”

Emily Nussbaum, in an expert move, layered meme upon meme to convey her sarcasm; the kids, though, missed that meme memo.

Others simply were shaken, uncertain what to believe anymore

Is Robert Redford in all our favorite memes? (No.)

At least one Twitter user defended younger Americans being, perhaps understandably, confused by yesterday’s revelation.

Finally, some intrepid social media users took the chance to remind everyone else that Redford is a true Hollywood legend. And a certified hottie. Learn the kids a thing or two.

All respect. However.

Lest we ignore this iconic, peak-Redford moment, here is the actor during the famous “knife fight scene” of 1969 classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid / Image via screen capture

One mystery has been resolved and one of the handsomest classic film era stars has gotten his due. It might be time for a re-watch of Butch Cassidy.

(Source: Splinter News)

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