Durant High School Journalism

The History of the ‘Meme’

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We all know what memes are. You know, the funny little pictures and videos? We are like moths as memes are like lamps; memes draw us in.

Over the years, memes have evolved into a massive part of pop culture; they have become engrained in our society and virtual lives. But where did they come from? Let’s start from the beginning.

Earlier this year, a comic from the early 1920s was posted to Twitter, which later stirred controversy if it was possibly the first meme ever.

According to a man by the name of Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, memes are “ideas that spread from brain to brain.” Basically, memes are variations of one original joke or picture, and it pertains to a wide variety of people.

Back to the original meme, many credits this as being the first meme, as it set out the first category of memes: the “Expectations vs. Reality” joke.

Memes are a huge part of pop culture. They tend to revolve around events taking place in society during a specific time. They are ever changing, meaning memes are only relevant for a very short period of time, often a month or two on average. After that month or so, the meme slowly becomes less and less relevant, all the while the emergence of a new meme occurs.

Memes became a huge part of our culture along with the rise of the internet and smart phones. While cell phones have been around since 1973, the rise of “smart phones” began in the early 2000s. Brands like Nokia and Blackberry were among the first smart phones, and were the platform for the emergence of other smart phone companies, including, Samsung, Android, and perhaps most popular of them all, Apple. In 2007, the very first iPhone was introduced to the public, and became known as the “father of all smart phones.” This phone was a computer and a camera in one, all the while being touch screen.

This iPhone revolutionized the way people communicated, and changed pop culture forever. People were able to take photos of themselves, upload them on a social media site, like Facebook and/or Instagram, and share their lives with the world.

The idea of uploading images and words online became easily accessible for everyday people; families can now stay in touch online, friends can share funny pictures and videos to others, and ultimately, the door was opened for everyone to be connected.

While it is hard to track down the very first internet meme, meme trends became prevalent on various social media sites. Some of the most iconic memes of the late 2000s included the Pepe meme, Bad Luck Brian, Doge, and of course, the “But that’s none of my Business” meme.

Over time, variations of memes like these led to the creation of new ones. In the 2010s, memes began to display overlaps in society, as they appear to follow trends and events that are occurring in the world.

Memes may only appear to simply be funny pictures with lots of different captions, however there is a deeper meaning behind memes; they are forms of expression. They are essential to understanding the pop culture of Millennials and Generation Z, as memes are apart of the culture of these generations, and how humor has evolved overtime with the influence of technology and global events. They can be put as inside jokes that relate to everyone, as they connect people together and display the growth of a culture. With that, we can say, “Thank You Memes, Very Cool!”

About the Writer
Photo of Meghan Dulay
Meghan Dulay, Editor-in-Chief of Design

Meghan Dulay is a senior at Durant High School and she is Editor-in-Chief of Design for the PawPrint newspaper. Meghan is part of many other clubs at Durant,...

March’s Spicy Memes

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  1. Evil Patrick: This meme surfaced late February to early March, predominantly on twitter. The “Evil Patrick” meme is a screen grab from an episode of Sponge Bob, and Patrick Star’s eyes are photoshopped upside down, giving him a menacing appearance. Captions for this meme mostly relate to an intentional menacing act that is about to be performed. The spiciness level of this meme is 4/5 habanero peppers for the versatility of the original picture and the wide variety of captions. 
  2. Drake and Josh Door Meme: This meme also popped up in late February on Twitter. The background is from the Nickelodeon show Drake and Josh specifically the episode where  they build a tree house. After completing the main walls for the tree house, Drake forgets to bring a saw to cut a door hole, not realizing this until after they put it up. Josh astonished his step brother could make such a stupid mistake gives him a dumbfounded look. Spiciness level is 3/5 habanero peppers, what counted against this meme is the lack of flexibility of it. 
  3. Double D’s Book of Facts: This meme has actually been around for awhile, but has started picking up popularity like never before recently. It is prominent on Instagram. The show where the screenshot originated from is Cartoon Network’s Ed, Edd, and Eddy. The picture is of Edd, also known as Double D, holding up his “Book of Facts” with a manic look on his face. Spiciness level for this bad boy is 4/5 because of how it can tie into other memes, or just be flat out shocking. 
  4. God’s Plan Starts Playing Meme: This is a screen grab from the music video of rapper Drake’s single God’s Plan. This meme gained popularity over Twitter in the past week, and is used to show extreme gratification over most of the time a small kind act. Spiciness level is 2/5 for low impact uses. 
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