“Deal with it” as a colloquial phrase has unknown origins. The Idioms and Expressions online database entry for “deal with it” defines it as a means of promoting acceptance.
In mid-late 2005, Matt Furie, creator of Feels Good Man, posted a webcomic (shown left) on MySpace using the phrase. On SomethingAwful, the catchphrase is often used in the web forums and is where the “smug dog” animated GIF (shown right) originated but the date it was added is currently unknown.
In June of 2010, animated GIFs with dropping sunglasses were popularized on the media sharing website Dump.fm, which promoted a “deal with it” GIF contest one month prior. Ryder Ripps, dump.fm site producer, cited the Something Awful dog image as the inspiration for the GIF series in an interview with Know Your Meme:
That Something Awful duck hunt dog had been around for a while and myself and jertronic and some others started making our down versions of it to be funny, and then it just sort of took off. I put the photoshop template I made online and people were making them with that I think.
On Tumblr, the meme began spreading when Dump.fm admin jertronic posted a GIF to his personal blog on June 4th. It was amplified when Tumblr users Greg Rutter and Brad O’Farrell reblogged the post.
The web culture blog Urlesque posted an article on the GIF trend, citing Dump.fm as a source of the GIFs, on July 25th. The same day, the single serving site DealWithIt.net was created, which features a variation of the “smug dog” animated GIF. On August 3rd, 2010, photographer Chris Clanton posted a photoset of real life Deal With It GIFs, complete with falling sunglasses.
On October 6th, a definition was submitted to the SAClodpedia dictionary by user Dr Tran which referenced the image macros and animated GIFs.
Trending Hashtag: #DealWithIt
On March 7th, 2011, Twitter hashtag #DealWithIt became a trending topic, in reference to Ohio State University students who displayed their support for the basketball team with 1,400 red embroidered towels that read “DEAL WITH IT.”
According to Cleveland Sports News, the drama behind the “Deal With It” towel originates from a basketball match between OSU and Wisconsin University in February 2011, during which Ohio State freshman star Jared Sullinger was spat on by a Wisconsin fan as he left the court. In responding to allegations of unruly Wisconsin fans in the crowd, Wisconsin team coach Bo Ryan dismissed them by saying “all I know is, we won the game. Deal with it.”
As shown in the Trendistic graph for #DealWithIt, the hashtag began gaining momentum early in the morning circa 6 am on March 7th, 2011:
Though Google Insights’ search queries reveal a noticeable spike in mid-2007, this can be largely attributed to the High School Musical singer Corbin Bleu’s song “Deal With It,” which was released in May 2007.