Meme culture


Sky Barratt, Copy Editor

A meme; by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a meme is defined as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture” or 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.” It’s undeniable that memes have caught on and is an aspect of what makes up the quintessential qualities of Millennials and Generation Z. Their prominence in youth culture is profound, filling the explore page on Instagram and finding a home in party and spirit day themes throughout the United States.

Senior Hannah Denne describes this meme culture as an inside-joke-mentality spread throughout the vast majority by means of the internet.

“When I visualize meme culture in my head, it’s just these words and phrases that everyone in our generation is understood to know,” Denne said. “It’s kind of like with Vines. You could be like ‘road work ahead?’ and someone would say ‘yeah, I sure it does.’”

Memes are definitely capable of being a unifying force, and a comedic and beloved staple in our generation.

“[At a forensics meet,] one of the teams started singing “Hit or Miss” by Jacob Sartorius,” Denne said.  “I guess it’s something that is a meme because it’s such a hilariously bad song by such a hilariously bad artist, and people will make fun of that at KCC too, and I remember thinking that it was really annoying that that’s something that happens everywhere at different schools. In a weird way, [memes are] something that ties us all together. These seemingly inside jokes that we have on the internet are relatable to everybody and I was thinking about that for the rest of the day. When we were driving back I saw someone in the car next to me on Snapchat and I was just thinking ‘man, we really all live the same life, don’t we?’”

For Denne, this popularization isn’t exactly positive.

“[Memes are] something everybody does and enjoys no matter how basic the person is, but it’s still treated as a niche thing to like memes when in actuality everybody in the world likes them,” Denne said. “Well, maybe not everyone in the world, but everyone in the first-world, heavily-internet-connected world likes them. This is shown by the fact that commercials try to use meme formats, big companies have their Instagram accounts use memes sometimes. It’s just gross. I think that the popularization of meme culture is very disgusting because it’s not just one culture, it’s all cultures so it’s not special anymore.”

For junior Chase Hill, there are other aspects about meme culture that are unappealing.

“It is often cruel towards kind and friendly individuals,” Hill said. “However, Christian memes allow me to gain a deeper understanding and connection to the Bible in a fun and safe environment.”

There are other aspects Hill is less fond of.

“I constantly live in fear of my photo being taken because I am frequently persecuted through the use of memes of me,” Hill said.

While Hill only indulges in memes surrounding his faith, he still has a deep respect for all memes, so long as his image is not involved.

“Meme culture is a deeply meaningful aspect of life to me in my school because it allows me to find humor in a safe and friendly environment. . . I think it has shaped our culture in small ways like what we say and what we laugh at, and in big ways by how we act and treat others,” Hill said.

Denne also recognizes that the societal structure surrounding memes is unifying, although ornery and comically sardonic at times.

“I had so many conversations with so many different types of people about Big Chungus and that’s something that’s absolutely beautiful,” Denne said. “So I guess an image I would paint is all kinds of different people, in high school, coming together to laugh about a heavily distorted picture of Bugs Bunny.”