On Monday (July 16), the hashtag term #voightkampff caused a flurry of excitement on Twitter. It turns out that it has nothing to do with Angelina Jolie’s dad — Jon Voight — or Adolph Hitler’s autobiography, “Mein Kampf.” Whew. Instead, Voight Kampff is probably the most intellectually-inspired meme to hit big on the Internet in — well, maybe ever.
What is Voight Kampff: A reference to “Blade Runner,” the 1982 Harrison Ford science fiction movie based on the Philip K. Dick novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” In the movie the Voight Kampff is a kind of lie detector used by Blade Runners to figure out if a suspect is truly human or a replicant. Per Urban Dictionary, it measures contractions of the iris and the presence of invisible airborne particles emitted from the body when subjects are asked a series of questions or statements meant to provoke a human reaction.
Questions like “It’s your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet. How do you react?” or the more unsettling “You’ve got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar. What do you do?”
On Monday, several primo Voight Kampff questions were tweeted — questions that would make Philip K. Dick or any self-respecting blade runner proud. Here are a few of our faves:
>> A dog that looks like Nicolas Cage is following you and nibbling at your shoelaces. You cough up milk. Who is the animal? #VoightKampff
>> An old Asian man falls down the stairs while eating a big pickle. You hear a crunch. Do you check the man or the pickle first? #VoightKampff
>> You turn a corner and find Marshall McLuhan wearing a party hat. Your shoes are filled with cake. You’ve never had a birthday. #VoightKampff
>> You find a zipper on the television screen. Unzipping it lets you reach right into ‘True Blood’ and slap their stuff around. #VoightKampff
>> A comedian tells a Paris Hilton joke. It is 2012. You laugh. Why are you laughing, Leon? #VoightKampff
>> At a Goodwill store, the clerk sneezes on an INXS shirt you bought ironically, then demands payment. #VoightKampff
>> You open Twitter and see lots of Voight Kampff jokes. You see people asking “What’s Voight Kampff?” #voightkampff
>> Weird, abstract jokes are being made on the Internet. You don’t really get them, but you chuckle anyway to play along. #VoightKampff
Thank you, Internet.