Each generation has had their own source of humor. Before the millenials, there was Generation X, and their primary source of humor was movies and both paper and digital cartoons. But for the millenials, in the age of the internet, they have turned to a newer form of humor: internet memes.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines meme as “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.”
A meme is created when someone finds an interesting/funny picture, gif, video, or phrasing that relates to their situation, and then they take this and either add a caption or re-word the phrase. They then share this on their social media, someone else sees it, and the process starts over again.
Most commonly, memes are used to poke fun at a situation or person in a playful or passive-aggressive manner. Memes can range from making absolutely no sense with no caption and no context, to bringing awareness to a political situation.
Memes are not just a source of humor, but a way for the millenials to relate to each other and come together to raise awareness for the issues of today.
- Cash Me Ousside Howbow Dah
Danielle Bregoli made an appearance on Dr. Phil for the segment “I Want To Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried To Frame Me For A Crime” with her mom to discuss her behavior in September of 2016. While on the show, she coined the phrase “Cash Me Ousside Howbow Dah” after getting irritated with the audience. It exploded a few months later, and eventually led to her receiving a place in the world of internet stardom and furthering her rap career. This phrase was used in response to most situations where one person was accusing the other of not being right, or with the intent of giving sass.
- The White Guy Blinking
No one really knows where this one came from or how it came about. But the gif is of a man named Drew Scanlon, who is a video producer for “Giant Bomb,” a gaming website. This meme was used consistently on Twitter for a while with varying captions. Most were highly self degrading, but relatable to the public and used in moments of disbelief. A few days into this, people noticed that his eyes change color every time he blinks, and subsequently blew their own minds.
- Salt Bae
Comprising of a video/gif staring Turkish chef named Nusret Gökçe where he prepares a steak and artfully sprinkles salt on it. This really had nothing to do with other situations. But, the internet took this and created a meme where people sprinkle things like disappointment, love on their friends, or a representation of adding just a little something extra.
- Kermit the Frog
This one is special because it’s not just one picture. Various people all of the internet have taken pictures of their kermit dolls in compromising positions, or used scenes directly from “The Muppets”, and then added captions. These captions are meant to be relatable, such as one where Kermit is sipping tea and implying that it’s “none of my business.” Another popular one is dark Kermit facing good Kermit, which people use to show them vs. their conscience. A few of them are particularly vulgar due to the positions that the kermit dolls are put in.
- The Expanding brain
Particularly used by students, this one is a series meme. Various pictures have been used on the side to illustrate the expanding brain, but the intent is usually the same. The theme is either increasingly worse situations, increasingly better situations, or meant to be “mind blowing” but ironically.
- Pennywise from “IT”
The epitome of making poor decisions, this meme came shortly after the movie “It” premiered for the second time in theaters. The clown, a main character, peeks out of the gutter and tries to lure a kid in. People took this scene, and a series of pictures of a woman going into a street gutter, and used this to symbolize what they would do if someone offered or said something that they wanted. Whether this be something good or bad.
- Distracted Boyfriend
Despite the title, this wasn’t used in a situation with an actual cheating boyfriend. Instead, this was used in the metaphorical sense of a person cheating on their original plan. This was a favorite among the people making political moves, as well as those who are easily distracted by other things.
- First of All
A worded meme, this had no picture involved, but took the twitter world by storm. The theme was where someone accused another person of doing something, and that other person responds with “First of all” and then the rest of the retort. Some of them were degrading, others were genuinely meant to inform, and others were just giving sass.
- Dancing Hotdog from Snapchat
Of all the memes of 2017, this one made the least sense to viewers, but yet it still continued making appearances. Snapchat introduced a new update where there was a filter that put a dancing hotdog in the room. This hotdog would dance around and the user could move him all over the screen. Most of the posts with the hotdog had a caption about idolizing the hotdog. Definitely a low point in the meme world.
- Cracking Open a Cold One with the Boys and Saturdays are for the Boys
A particularly male centered meme, the first was a phrase used with the intent of sitting around drinking beer with male friends on a Saturday, or a can of soda with underage boys. This phrase even crossed over to other meme formats.
The second being specifically used as an excuse to not do something that was asked of them or to attempt to exclude girls. But girls also used this phrase, so it was never an issue. Sometimes it was used with a stock photo. Even though this was popular a few months ago, people still ironically mention this phrase, meaning it will probably live into 2018.
The memes of 2017 will continue to be used, but in the ironic sense, no longer to their full potential. And as we go into 2018, we welcome the new memes with open minds and open hearts.
Written by Giselle Galletti