The Language of Memes: A Brief Explanation
Do you have any idea what this picture means just by looking at it? Yes, it’s some guy claiming there is free real estate to be had, but what does it all mean? This is something that can only be understood by someone well-versed in the language of memes.
There are many memes that can be easily understood by someone who is not a meme-lord, like many of the memes from 2012, back when everyone was just being introduced to them. Example A:
Memes from 2012 were just funny pictures with blocky white text over them, designed to make people smile. They’re easily understandable, oftentimes relatable, and were easy to create. Memes in 2018 are strange. If you didn’t jump on the bandwagon at the beginning stages of a meme, you’ll more than likely not be able to understand the same meme at a later stage of its evolution. For example:
Here we have a beginning stage “Despacito 2” meme.
Here we have the same meme, but it has evolved into something undecipherable unless you have already seen the “Markiplier E/Lord Farquaad” meme. This is also an example of what I refer to as “cross memes”. It is where two memes or more are mashed together to make an image that doesn’t make sense unless you are familiar with all memes involved.
2012 memes were very self-sustaining. They only relied on the picture and the text that went with the picture. Memes that are popular today are usually dependent on people already knowing what something is before seeing it incorporated into the meme. Like this one:
To understand this, you have to know what Дpyг is, and beyond that you have to know that it’s actually a Deathclaw from Fallout. This particular meme is also “deep fried”, which is why the actual image of Дpyг looks so messed up and its eyes are glowing (all deep fried memes people’s eyes glow).
Taking a step back from deep fried memes and cross memes, let’s talk about how there are some phrases from the 80s that many people today would not understand, like, “gag me with a spoon”, or “bag your face”. This can be compared to the recent trend of “oh, worm?”. When I read that, I know exactly what it means, but I had to Google what “bag your face” meant. We are two sides of the same coin, you non-memers and us meme-lords.
There are actually college classes over the art of memes, which may sound kind of silly (it really kind of is), but if you think about it, the language of memes is complex. It has been carefully curated over the years while also adapting to the world around us, both constantly changing. Memes are a reflection of society, and the memes that you as an individual enjoy or laugh at are a reflection of you, as well. So, be careful which memes you find funny. Don’t end up like me, because I literally laugh at things like this every single day:
This is my life now. I’ve accepted it.
Do any of you have a favorite meme? Do you despise memes with a burning passion? Let me know in the comments! And as always, have a great day!