A trip down meme-ry lane
Self-deprecation, nihilism, sarcasm, and memes. If you had to describe humor these days I feel like if you used any or all of those four of those terms you’d hit the nail right on the head. I don’t want to go in on why humor has gotten so negative these days (or maybe it’s just me and the people I surround myself with. So many people are sad. I blame the binary system.), that’s for another blog post. I’m here to talk about memes.
The first conscious introduction of memes into popular culture, or at least when people started calling them memes, popped up in the form of rage comics. Remember these guys?
If you don’t, they were characters that were used throughout all of the rage comics. They’d have specific phrases that they’d be associated with and they’d represent specific emotions.
But before then there were other internet things that are now called memes but at the time were just called jokes. Here are a few:
If you used any of those in anything you made, you would have been considered funny. Now, you would just be that person.
After rage comics appeared image macros. An image macro is defined by an image and a caption typically on the top and bottom of the image. People would have personal image macros within their friend groups but there were many that became characters in pop culture. You might know grumpy cat. The little fella who released a book, made an appearance on the Bachelorette, and had a Lifetime TV movie entitled Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.
There were also other like:
|Socially Awkward Penguin|
And then came Vine. Vine is a weird thing because six second videos are very easy to replicate and since everyone and their grandmother has a smartphone they all became comedians. I haven’t talked about viral videos but they’re the foundation of Vine recreations.
Now we’re in a meme limbo that sits between Vine and a new form of meme that is a hybrid of image macros and short videos. Personally I don’t like them because they endorse freebooting (reuploading a content creator's work to be your own). These are the images and videos you see on social media that have a white background and black text on the top or bottom of the meme.
There aren't any video examples because they're all freeboots
I’ve definitely skipped a few generations of memes, but I’d be here all day and this post is getting quite long. I’ll leave you with one of my favorites, kazoo kid: