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If It Exists, There’s Porn Of It: The Origins Of Internet ‘Rule #34’

Internet Rule 34Illustration by Daniella Urdinlaiz

Although the rule’s origins are disputed, Internet Rule #34 emerged sometime around the dawn of the millennium as a result of the fact that there was nothing so freaky—or even scarier, nothing so boringly normal—that you couldn’t find porn about it somewhere online.

Although the rule exists in different phrasings, this is the most concise and understandable version:



Would you like to see a dinosaur fucking a car or a spaceship fucking a planet? Have you ever wondered what it would look like to see continents fucking? OK, how about gummy bears fucking—from behind, too? There’s even CD/lollipop porn if that’s the kind of thing that floats your boat. Internet Rule #34 covers it all. A 2013 article from Cracked about Rule 34 also lists American Dad porn, A Panda’s Lullaby porn, Pterodactyl Dinosaur Spermo Plasmoid porn, claymation porn, Mr. Peanut porn, and spider porn.

The concept of Rule #34 is thought to have first emerged in the notoriously mischievous backwaters of 4Chan, whose pranksters have had relentless fun with the theme ever since around 2000. (A single thread from 2008 logged over 365 user-submitted variations on Rule 34 before the thread was finally closed.)

The first known instance of Rule #34 appearing as a meme was in a 2004 webcomic drawn by Peter Morely-Souter after he was startled to see that someone had drawn the characters in the cartoon strip Calvin and Hobbes performing hardcore porn acts. The cartoon showed a male staring in shock at a computer screen and saying “CALVIN AND HOBBES?” It also listed Rule #34 itself as well as the subhead, “THE INTERNET, RAPING YOUR CHILDHOOD SINCE 1996.” It finally appeared as entries on Urban Dictionary and Encyclopedia Dramatica in 2006.

Technology researchers Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam explain that wherever there is the internet, there is not only porn, but there is also the meme of Rule 34:

“Today, Rule 34 thrives as sacred lore on blogs, YouTube videos, Twitter feeds and social networking sites. It’s frequently used as a verb, as in ‘I Rule 34’ed Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell on the judging table’.”

Like Godwin’s Law (online conversations will always turn to Hitler and Nazis eventually) and Poe’s Law (basically, it’s impossible to do satire without someone taking it seriously), Rule #34 is one of those Internet Laws that seems destined to never be broken. Just like the rule of gravity can never be broken in our universe, there may never come a time in world history where someone imagines a new form of pornography that they will ultimately be unable to find has already been done online…

…although, of course, there may be some exceptions.

This is why online pranksters have written several amendments of Rule 34—and even a Rule 35—just to cover all possible pornographic bases:

34. There is porn of it, no exceptions. 
34.2. There are ponies of it, no exceptions.
34.3. If it exists, there’s an app for it.
34.4. If it exists, there is a YouTube of it.
34.4×2. If it exists, there is a Lego of it.
34.5. If it isn’t in Minecraft, there is a crafting idea video of it.
34.6. If it exists, there is a parody of it on YouTube.
34.7. If it exists, there is a Pokemon based on it.
34.8. There is dubstep of it, no exceptions.
34.34. Everything IRL is on the internet.
34.99. There is a mario paint composer version of it.
35. If no porn is found of it, it will be made. rule 35 of the internet
35.2. If no pony is found of it, it will be made.
35.3. If there is no app for it, it will be made.
35.4. If no poop is found, it will be pooped.
35.4×2. If there is no Lego of it, then make one.
35.5. If it is in Minecraft, the crafting idea video will be shoved into the farthest corners of YouTube.
35.6. If there is no parody of it, make one.
35.7. If there is no Pokemon based on it, there is/will be a Anymon based on it.
35.8. If no dubstep is found of it, it will be made.
35.35. If it is not on the internet it must be by midnight.
35.99. If no mario paint composer version is found of it, it will be made.
35∞. The number of objects and situations yet to be porn-ified spontaneously decreases over time.

Interestingly, some observers say that due to the explosion of online porn, Rule 34 hasn’t been broken—meaning, you can still find anything your sick little mind can imagine—but there’s so <em>much</em> porn these days—and so much of it involving a good-looking heterosexual couple having pretty standard heterosexual sex—that the sheer volume of middle-of-the-road porn may have recalibrated the search engines to the point where finding grainy photos of a man from the early 1900s in a full-length swimsuit from that era mounting a ladder on a beach in order to sexually penetrate a pony just might be a little harder to find.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop looking. It’s out there, believe that. Rule 34 guarantees it. TC mark

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