From Cowgirl To Julia Fox: Goblin Mode Is The Internet’s Favourite New Phrase

Move over trolls, it’s goblin time! 

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Move over trolls, it’s goblin time! If you’ve been on Twitter recently, you’ve probably seen the phrase “goblin mode” doing the rounds.

The trend can be roughly surmised as behaviour where the participant sheds all social inhibitions and indulges in hedonistic whims, such as growling on all fours and breaking long-standing alliances.   

But tricky thing about embracing goblin mode is that it actually bears two distinctly different meanings. One is centred around indulging our repressed, chaotic, and mischievous behaviour — the kind that builds up after long days of working through lunch breaks, or after spending stale and idle weeks with extended family over Christmas. The other meaning, well, it revolves around a particular kind of sex move. 

A Quick History Of Goblin Mode 

According to the meme bible Know Your Meme, the term was first used back in 2009 by twitter user @jenniferdujour, describing someone’s high octane behaviour.

Aside from the odd reference in Urban Dictionary, goblin mode could have been doomed to lurk in the shadows for all eternity. Until, on one faithful day in October 2021, twitter user @housesitter captured the hearts and minds of the internet with a recollection of an ex-lover who used the term to describe a sex position.

Subsequent goblin scholars would theorise that the phrase, when applied to cow sex, evoked the practice of the top-most participant squatting — or as @darth_panic’s put it: goblin mode is knees up.

For the visual learners out there, here’s an illustrated example courtesy of Spider-man‘s Green Goblin. 

As fate would have it, while Twitter’s collective imagination was being captured by the possibilities of goblins and sex, the green hordes would strike another dominion of social media: Reddit. 

A viral post on r/funny was later retweeted by goblin academics to suggest evidence of “proto-goblin mode” behaviour. 

The combination of these two viral images would prove to be the winning formula in elevating goblins from mere fantasy fodder into the big league. 

How Did Julia Fox Get Swept Up In It All?

Goblins are traditionally very mischievous creatures, who make for bad allies and libellous journalists. 

So, of course, it tracks that a doctored headline — created by an impish twitter user @meowmeowmeuw — suggesting that the actor’s split from musician Kanye West was due to Fox’s tendency to go “goblin mode” began circulating last week.

The fake story eventually reached boiling point when Fox was forced to clarify via Instagram that she had actually “never used the term”

This admission was seen by those amongst the goblin hordes as a glorious victory, leading to the evolution of a powerful new tactic. The doctoring of fake headlines about celebrities going full goblin is now a widespread method used to grow the goblin cause. 

Sadly, Goblins Aren’t Forever

All social crazes — from fidget spinning to planking — have a beginning and an end. Even now, at the height of the meme’s popularity, there is evidence for its decline. 

Goblin mode’s proliferation and subsequent shift into the mainstream has drained some of the visceral chaos out of the movement. The font where the green-skins once drew their strength from has been contaminated by weak goblin content that insults their gods.  

Our attraction to goblin mode as an outlet for our menial frustrations and tensions is akin to the strange relationship many of us have made with isolation and quarantine over the last years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps it will fade from this world once we’re all recovered from a collective two years of cabin fever.