Meme

By Jonathan Mapilisan | Artist

If one has come across keyboard-playing cats, honey badgers not caring, “Friday” by Rebecca Black, or posts about “taking arrows to the knee” at some point in one’s lifetime, he or she has witnessed a common phenomenon known as a meme.

Traditionally, memes are characteristics of culture passed down from generation to generation non-genetically. Online, however, the term “meme” describes images, videos, ideas, etc. that are passed on through the internet from one user to another. Internet memes have been around since the late 90s, but began rising in popularity around the early 21st century. According to junior Andrea Malone, memes are a great way to pass the time as well as a way to share some laughs with friends who understand them.

“They can make any situation one hundred times more awesome than it was or would’ve been without a meme and usually bring things to the highest of hilarities on a scale of hilarious,” Malone said. “Also, you can spend a whole afternoon looking at memes with the likelihood of becoming bored being zero to none.”

Memes generally consist of humorous, relatable, controversial or easily understood concepts that allow them to become viral. Although some may find undeniable humor in memes by taking them lightly, junior Noshua Setzer tends to see them in a more literal perspective.

“Well, memes aren’t visually appealing, and sometimes they are straight up stupid,” Setzer said. “But when they happen to hold some truth, then they are funny in a sad sort of way. For instance, there are some ‘Forever Alone’ memes that are funny to see from an alternate point of view, but it’s sad because it sucks and it happens to everyone.”

Memes come in all shapes and sizes, from dark and twisted humor icons such as ‘Pedobear’ and ‘Bachelor Frog,’ to more appropriate or clever humor, such as ‘Cereal Guy’ and ‘Bad Pun Coon.’ Sites such as Quickmeme.com, Reddit.com and Memebase.com consistently house thousands of new and developing memes as well as a few classics. Sites such as 4chan.org and 7chan.org also contain a wide variety of memes, yet when browsing through them there has been known to be forms of child pornography, hentai and other obscene materials.

“When you enter this glorious world, the Internet, you’re bound to come across [memes] them. They are everywhere,” senior Mason Andersen said. “But you need to be careful when you’re exploring memes in a place as large as the Internet; you never know what you might find.”