A lot can be learned about a person from a quick peek at their camera roll, and I’m proud to say mine is full of memes. Old memes. Dank memes. Classic memes. And my own poor attempts at memes. Some of my favorites are the angry “I guess” guy and pretty much anything with Guy Fieri and Flavortown. Memes are one of my favorite forms of humor and communication.
I send a daily meme (or 12) to my squad group chat everyday. I think I have more memes than photos of my family on my phone. And though I don’t think I deserve it because it requires a very high level of meme-knowledge and usage, I’m still proud of that one time a friend named me the “Meme Queen.” I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.
For those of you who don’t know (This is so sad. Alexa, play an ORU-appropriate song.), I should probably explain what a meme is. The word “meme” was coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976, in his book “The Selfish Gene.” I’ve never read it. But I did extensive research in the form of googling and learned that Dawkins created the word to explain the duplication of ideas, much like the duplication of genes. In accordance with Dawkins’ definition, the word “meme” means an idea that can be copied or replicated from person to person within a culture, or more simply, a unit of culture.
These hilarious little photos (or sometimes videos or gifs) edited with text boxes and misspelled words and terrible grammar and an unnecessary amount of saturation (what in saturation!) are small units of culture, shaping our humor, our minds, our world. It’s incredible. They continue to evolve as well, gathering layers and taking on new meanings.
They are a mode of expression, dank memes for when you’re feeling feisty and wholesome memes for when you need to cheer up a friend and political memes for when the news just isn’t cutting it anymore. Side note, and this may not be the best thing to admit, but I often get a lot of my news from memes. Like, did y’all see the memes about the E.U. trying to ban memes? So funny.
What I’m trying to say is, culture is in our hands; well, it’s in the hands of those who take it. With this small but impactful form of communication that I hope never dies, I encourage you to take part. The culture is changing, evolving, growing. And you can be part of it, whether it’s through an ill-timed photo of Nicolas Cage or Kermit sipping tea. But that’s none of my business.