Memes are a magnificent way to summarize the cultural zeitgeist with a popular image that most everyone recognizes. Thus, in this age where attention spans are so minimal, we have this clever forum which is able to speak volumes about what is rolling around in the collective consciousness of society, all while demanding that we all keep it pithy. Yes, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but for better or worse, when it comes to memes, it is our job to summarize that picture in the most comical and concise manner possible.
1. The Morpheus Conspiracy Theory Meme
Whenever you detect a conspiracy somewhere, it is best to couch that "conspiracy" with the words of Morpheus in the Matrix films. However, there is only one slight problem with doing this, Morpheus never actually said these words. Consequently, here's the most "matrixy" thought of all: who is responsible for implanting this idea into our minds? Because I could swear he did say those words!
2. Sad Keanu on a Park Bench Eating Lunch Meme
3. The Keanu Reeves Bewildered Look from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure Meme
Continuing with Mr. Reeves, we have this great meme-tacular character whose expression invites us to consider an interesting cross-section of ideas. In other words, what do you get when you combine a burn-out with a bunch deep thoughts that really aren't very deep at all? This meme.
4. Stoned Senseless Guy Meme
5. And the Biggest Loser Award Goes to this Guy Meme
You could probably find a guy like this in just about every school district, a guy who smelled like an entire bottle of cheap cologne was dumped indiscriminately on him, a guy whose fashion sense was more than a little perplexing. Was he going for gangsta? Was he going for rich white suburban drug chic? What??? What we did sense was just how slimy and sketchy this guy was- a general consensus which is somehow is embodied in the general message of this meme. The guy in the original photo may be a saint for all we know (mmm… I'm not so sure), but what is certain is that he is representative of something quite unpleasant that lives in our collective consciousness, the type of person that we would just as soon forget, or in this instance, ridicule.
6. The Magnificent and Morbid Sarcasm of Willy Wonka Meme
7. The Most "Interesting Guy in the World", though no one is exactly sure why Meme
Sometimes you simply have to scratch your head and wonder why a commercial and/or idea is so universally appealing, much like the commercial that is associated with the above meme. Perhaps people find his fake accent and tan humorous, or maybe what appeals to them is the popular catchphrase; "I don't always drink beer, but when I do…"? Could it be that he exudes a kind of James Bond air about him? He does, after all, seem to have his fair share of women and adventure. I myself would contend that his appeal all comes down to our general nostalgia surrounding Ricardo Montalban and Fantasy Island.
8. Unimpressed with Anything in the World Olympic Silver Medalist Girl…
Not since Veruca Salt have we seen such an ingrate as the girl who won the Silver Medal in the Olympics and was "not impressed" by her success. Now if her disappointment was on account of her displeasure with her own performance, than we might be a little more sympathetic. Unfortunately, what appears to be the case is something much more akin to sour grapes. True champions, win or lose, carry themselves with dignity, while sour grapes, win or lose, are "ripe" for satire.
9. Boromir and Any Sort of Difficult Undertaking that Is Easier Said than Done Meme
Anybody can speak boldly of things which are difficult (like venturing into Mordor, dropping the ring into Mount Doom, and leaving unscathed). Consequently, this meme exists for the express purpose of calling out those who seem to believe that stating the mission is the same as accomplishing it. And what better example could there be than a circumstance wherein you find yourself in a Mexican restaurant, complaining that you have spoiled your appetite as a result of eating too many Chips and Salsa, only to have some genius point out to you that you should have shown more restraint. Thank you, oh great sage of the salsa!
10. Hippie Hypocrite Superior Dreadlock Girl Meme
We all know this type of person- the one who is supposed to be the embodiment of open-mindedness and tolerance, but is actually something akin to Attila. In fact, so uptight is she that you even fear speaking to her, much in the same way that a soldier fears walking into a minefield of hidden explosives. She cares not a lick about what offends you, but somehow it is your job to burn a hole in your stomach worrying about what gender title she prefers. She would not ever shoot you to death with a gun (for she hates guns), but if you displeased her enough, she may have you sent to a special re-education camp- not to change your mind about something- but rather to help you see things as they really are. Thank you, open-minded girl!
11. Ermahgerd Girl Meme
This meme/photograph is the embodiment of a phase in life that almost of all of us went through at one time or another (except perhaps the coolest kids), the point at which gawkiness, unattractiveness, bad haircuts, poor clothing choices, and bad complexions seemed to team up in a whole maelstrom of awkwardness that can only be described as a kind of divine imperfection. Thank you, "Ermahgerd gerl" for herping mer to remermber mer yerth!
12. "First World Problems" (Part 1) Meme
If you ever start to feel like you have gotten the short end of the stick in life, simply spend a little time considering what you're complaining about, and compare that to the type of problems the rest of the world is enduring. That will generally help cure you of your self-pity. And if that doesn't work, perhaps creating your own meme, using this template and that boys expression, may just be the tonic that we all need.
Perhaps one of the greatest fears I have about the future is not simply the fact that affluence has robbed us of our motivation to strive for excellence, but that affluence and entitlement have rendered us so soft that even the most minor inconveniences are regarded as a crisis (check out all of the news stories surrounding things like "fast food" customers calling "911" because some McDonald's ran out of Chicken Nuggets). If a minor shortfall provokes some (or many) to lose their head in these instances, what will happen when there is a major crisis?
14. First World Problems (Part 3) Meme
Welcome to the male edition of "first world problems" Dawson's Creek style. Women complained in prior generations (or so I've heard) that men were not sensitive enough. Well congratulations ladies, you now have your man... in spades. Unfortunately, instead of having a real man, this little tyke must be bottle fed and cradled in your arms, lest he soil his diaper and curl up in the fetal position.
14. Satire of Nerd Genius and His Fantastic Penchant for Throwing away His Career Potential All in the Name of Escapism and Useless Technological Entertainment Meme
Perhaps at another time in history such an intelligent mind might have been compelled to use his intellect and creativity for more constructive purposes. Alas, in our day and age he is given a free pass and thus permitted to live in his parent's basement well into his thirties. But don't tell him he's not working, for in his minds it takes tremendous dexterity and skill to do what he does. He may not be getting paid for it… but dammit... he should! Sadly, he resides in a world that doesn't appreciate sloth to the level that he does. Level? Did someone say "level"? What "level" were you talking about?
15. Creepy Obsessed Wide-Eyed Excessively Smiley Stalker Girlfriend Meme
Nothing like a good old-fashioned story of the girl next store turned psycho, Big Brother, surveillance, stalker, helicopter, "every breath you take, every move you make", "I'd did without you!!!" And just think, it started out with such potential, didn't it?
16. The Woman's "E-Card" for Every Occasion Meme
Messages like this provide further evidence that men really are in a "lose lose" situation with women. Our biggest mistake is that we think that we can actually solve the problem that so vexes our beloved. A little advice for you men: you can't, you won't, and you're not supposed to! When a woman says (and she will), that you can't possibly understand what she is going through, do not argue with her! Resistance is futile. Simply respond that "you know you can't possibly understand what she's going through, but that you are trying your best", and leave it at that. Thank you, oh women's E-card, for admitting as much.
17. Cloying Teacher Tendencies Meme
Ah, there are so many possibilities for this one, but I decided to go with, what I think, is one of the most annoying "teacherisms" of all time. One of the reasons I am particularly fond of this meme is the fact that the teacher in the picture carries herself in such an affable way, and yet she clearly is a pain in the rear end. Indeed, just because a teacher presents herself/himself in an easy-going manner does not mean that they are genuinely easy-going. In fact, I would argue that every teacher has the "Nazi factor", and it is the student's job (if he/she wishes to excel), to figure out what that is and thus avoid it… no matter how unreasonable it may seem.
18. Bad Luck Brian Meme
"Bad luck Brian" is a guy that is little bit overly earnest and needy to the point of obliviousness. He is the type of young man who is looking to go to whatever lengths necessary to fit in in with the guys. But no matter how hard he tries he just cant's seem to catch a break. Thus, when he gets a pet rock "it runs away". When he finally manages to get a note from the girl that he likes, it's "a restraining order". And when he gets an invitation to a "senior party", he quickly discovers, after his initial enthusiasm, that the party is for "senior citizens." His problem is not that he is too nice for everyone, but rather that he is too naive to realize that all of these unfortunate incidents are not simply the result of misunderstandings or bad luck, they are the result of something far more tragic, the fact that the universe itself rejects him.
19. The "Buddy Jesus" Religious Meme
This image of "Buddy Jesus" was derived from a film called "Dogma", which sought to satirize the Catholic Church and its efforts to "hippify" Jesus. Obviously some of the images of Christ that the "meme world" produces are offensive to Christians (and Buddy Jesus is no exception), while others, like the one above, are a bit milder, and may be more palatable to some.
20. The Pope Francis Meme
Here the pope is being celebrated by those who not only like him because, as they say, he adheres to the Gospel, but because they believe he is the enemy of "conservative Catholics" (i.e. those who support doctrine and authority).
All in all- the memes for Pope Francis are generally on the positive side, the same however cannot be said for Pope Benedict emeritus:
21. The Dwight Schrute Dose of Reality Truth Serum Meme
In a world of excessive sentimentality and unnecessary irony, everyone needs a Dwight Schrute around to provide a little dose of literalism. "All you need is love? WRONG! You need water and rations!"