The Selfless Man

By Jesse Elias Spafford

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Hey Girl, I had a dream about you last night, we went antiquing and got your mom a really nice gift — it was pretty intense.

They were going to hurt you … I just thought you could get out of here if you wanted to, I could come with you, I could look out for you.

I’m going to help you rediscover your manhood: You’re sitting there with a Supercuts haircut, you’re getting drunk on watered-down vodka-cranberries like a 14-year-old girl, why don’t you take that straw out of your mouth?

These are among the memes and catchphrases deemed significant enough to require assignment to a vehicle capable of distributing them to the masses, to a body that lures audiences and Rachel McAdams alike, to a mouth that almost never shows its teeth when it smiles: the mouth of Ryan Gosling.

It was a shrewd choice. That Gosling has come to personify the present moment is evident not only in his Hollywood fame — he has starred in three blockbusters in the past six months and is set to appear in another three in the coming year — but also his internet fame, where he is discussed endlessly in blogs, fan sites, and countless Tumblrs devoted to Gosling-centric memes.

We should not take Gosling lightly: He has clearly struck a cultural nerve, and his performances have proven themselves to resonate deeply with the American psyche . Gosling has become the man people want to reenact their social world, the lens through which people want their experiences filtered, whether it be their romantic fantasies, their theoretical leanings, their hobbies, their entertainment, or their pancakes.

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