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The world of words, reading and writing

All Your Memes are Belong to Us

I was going to talk about memes but then I took an arrow to the knee. Ahahahaaahaahaaaa!

But seriously, what is with memes? I just don’t get them. What is their merit? Why are people laughing at them?

I suppose I better stop at this point and maybe define what a meme is for anyone who doesn’t know. Essentially, they are ideas that are spread across the internet. They don’t necessarily have to be ‘jokes’ but these particular memes are what I am focusing on.

Memes can only exist on the internet. Because once they are transplanted into the real world you realise what a ludicrous premise they are. Memes aren’t even jokes, really. Jokes stand on their own and are funny in their own right. Memes need context and an understanding of the origin of the meme. Take ‘Nope, Chuck Testa’ for example. If someone says, ‘Nope, Chuck Testa’ that’s not funny if you don’t know who Chuck Testa is and why he’s saying ‘Nope, Chuck Testa’. Saying something that someone else said isn’t funny. That’s not how humour works. Saying something funny that someone else said might be funny. But not when a person is hearing it for the 1000th time. And that’s what a meme is. It’s just a mass of people repeating the same thing verbatim

Memes are the bane of creativity. Instead of original thought they breed stock responses. Imagine if a comedian got up on stage and proceeded to just repeat the jokes of the previous comedian. Imagine if every comedian after that continued to just repeat the same jokes. That’s essentially what memes are. Perhaps a meme starts off as funny but just like anything else repetition quickly kills its value. They quickly lose all humour, as it becomes about being recognisable rather than funny. It’s basically an internet-wide ‘in’ joke. When you have an ‘in’ joke with friends, those not in on the joke don’t find it funny because they have no idea what you’re talking about. They have no point of reference. To me, memes seem to be ‘in’ jokes but mostly without the jokes. The point seems to be to just reference the meme so everyone can know that you ‘get it’. That you’re in on it. You understand the internet.

Just to clarify, I find some memes humourous. But only the memes that allow variation. Writing ‘First’, ‘Nope. Chuck Testa’ or ‘C-c-c combo breaker’ isn’t funny because they’re the same phrase pigeon-holed into wherever they may vaguely be able to fit. Adapting a meme’s concept to create an original joke can be funny. So, something like the advice dog memes are fine because you take the original idea of the meme and create something new around it. Yay, somewhat originality!!

Oh memes, y u no try harder!

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2 thoughts on “All Your Memes are Belong to Us

  1. Your definition of meme is not quite correct. You are describing just one type of common means of spreading a meme. The term was coined by Richard Dawkins and is defined in dictionary.com as:

    n. a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.

    • You’re right that memes refer to a more general concept than what I described and I should perhaps have given a broader deifinition. Memes can refer to basically anything that is widely proliferated such as pictures, stories, sayings etc. but I was focusing on the joke memes that usually exist on forums and comments. Sorry if there was confusion, but thanks for reading and commenting.

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