Facebook is a black hole. Between food videos and pictures of the kids you hated in high school that you can’t stop looking at, you can lose hours of your day. One of the newest time-wasting (and slightly contrived) methods of communication trends is tagging your friends in what the kids call “memes.” They’re a facet of internet culture and there isn’t a centralized definition of what it is exactly.
Urban Dictionary provides varying options on how to define the word “meme.” It’s first entry is serious, with several ranked components, referring to memes as, “A pervasive thought or thought pattern that replicates itself via cultural means; a parasitic code, a virus of the mind especially contagious to children and the impressionable.” The second definition follows this pattern of negativity, saying memes fall into three categories, “’Quirky stuff that isn’t funny, pathetic stuff that fills you with vicarious despair, or revolting pictures that could be presented to some alien jury as evidence that humanity is cancer.”
Keeping these ideas in mind, the following are examples of memes that I found on Facebook to be particularly amusing.
Kermit memes are a recent hit, with a different specification that I will display later. This meme uses the method of writing the text first and then using a comical image to support the text. Procrastination is highly relatable and pairing the child association of Kermit the Frog with the struggles of being a student is effective. In the midst of finals, this is particularly jarring as you realize that you, just like Kermit, put off your eight thousand page paper for too long and now are overwhelmed in fetal position.
This is a prime example of what is colloquially known as “Dark Kermit.” Fashionable among creators of memes these days, Dark Kermit memes feature regular kermit and kermit with a black hood on in dialogue. The text above the image uses the pronoun “me” to connect the viewer to the situation, and will give a responsible statement first. The next statement is from “inner me” and is the dark Kermit character proposing a lazier alternative. I love this meme because the trend itself is hilarious and I have definitely listened to this specific inner voice. It allows you to recognize your own bad behavior without feeling too guilty about it.
Tag Your Friend
Another recent meme trend is the one in which it encourages the viewer to tag a friend on the post so that they have to open their phone just to see a picture of a pickle, or in this case a sack of potatoes. I’m not entirely sure what the practical implications are of this type of meme and its level of humor is low, but it’s also the kind of ridiculous that I go the internet for. If you’re looking for high quality, facebook chain posts are not necessarily the place for you. For instance, I could name several people that I would tag in this post, but mostly I’m just a kind of glad it exists. It’s so dumb that it’s awesome.
Unfortunately, I can’t endorse all memes. Almost the exact phrasing of this one appears in several iterations on the internet. With a girl like mine or someone dating a girl like me preface many different memes and are generally some sort of slight toward a crazy girlfriend of sorts. This plays to the idea that girls who are “high maintenance” are funny in their difficulty to get along with. I think this perpetuates strange relationship stereotypes and standards that don’t fully consider what a healthy relationship entails. Being occasionally stressed out by your partner is normal because people are challenging and relationships are hard. However, being a constant stressor on your significant other is not super funny, nor healthy. This is just a meme, sure, but thinking critically about the messages that things on the internet are sending is crucial to start addressing the problems they connect to.
Memes are ridiculous and fantastic, exactly the way I like distractions to be. When I open Facebook to see that one of my best friends has tagged me in something stupid, I giggle for a minute and tag them in something within the hour. It’s a fun way to interact with each other and easily keep the day interesting. I support the memes, even as I find some troubling, and I will continue to tag the people I love in everything from videos of dogs playing with babies to dark Kermit plotting his next rebellion.
All images: Lily Alig