–Akchayaa R, III B.A. English
After scrolling through the goldmine of memes that I have saved in my mobile, I finally found some divine inspiration to write this article. Do you have trouble initiating a conversation with someone you’re crushing on? Send them memes. Do you want to let your friends know how much you miss them? Tag them in memes. Do you want to – you know where this is going and you understand my point, right? Simply put, the ‘memeverse’ is expanding as you read this line and memes are becoming the universal language of the internet. And mind you, the internet is a cruel place and might label you ‘uncultured’ if you do not have an epiphany when you see a grape on a surgery table or an obese version of the Bugs Bunny whose name rhymes with fungus.
Jokes apart, memes are a serious business. With the gaining popularity of meme pages on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, it is undeniably hard to keep up with the trending memes, their origin and sometimes what they even mean. Memes take up such an important place on the internet that there are websites like knowyourmeme.com that actually explain the meme and its origin. Memes nowadays are more than a funny template with a relatable caption. Today, almost everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) can be an inspiration for memes; from surprised Pokémon to moths. There is absolutely no limit to this creative art. While most memes are funny because they hardly make sense, some memes cater to our intellectual sides as well. Textposts (a type of meme without any pictures) like Oedipus not being able to read this post with ‘his own eyes’ and Instagram stories being compared to Mr. Gatsby’s parties will leave the literature nerds in splits (pardon my bias, for these are the only ‘intellectual’ memes I am able to think of).
Though memes are a very recent concept, the different kinds of memes and jargon associated with them is mind-boggling for a layperson to understand. Sometimes, a meme that looks simple might need references to memes that are five to six months old which is considered a long lifespan for a meme. For those who are not offended easily and enjoy dark humour, I would recommend ‘dank’ memes which might not adhere to any political correctness and make fun of mainstream or ‘normie’ memes. You might want to laugh at those in private while the others laugh at puppies and kittens being silly and classical paintings used as templates to represent current situations. The internet is in no dearth of memes surrounding politics, gender/sexuality and other pressing issues but with just a dash of humour to lighten the mood.
Apart from memes being just witty and entertaining, they seem to serve a deeper purpose for the millennial generation. It helps them cope with stress and actually gives them a sense of belonging. I mean, it is a nice feeling to know that there are people, just like you, who would rather pet the dog/cat at parties than socialise or feel victimised when elderly relatives ridicule your ripped jeans. Nobody today has time for long, hilarious anecdotes or five minute videos of dogs being adorably dumb, memes provide the same without taking much of our time. The internet can be harsh place, sometimes spewing with hatred because of differing opinions but memes definitely unite people and make it a better place. Excuse me before it gets all mushy and sentimental and ‘Heal the World’ starts playing in the background automatically for I have memes to hoard and tag my friends in.