Embrace your inner meme

Elana Galassi, Photo Editor

What is a meme?

Pronounced “MEEM,” the term was originally coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins as a cultural equivalent of a gene, but current students use it to describe a picture with a caption that likely had its beginning in the underground of popular websites like Reddit or 4chan.

These humble beginnings may leave one dumbfounded as to why they are so popular all of a sudden. The answer? They are hilarious.

When a meme becomes extremely popular within a short period of time, it is said to have “gone viral.” When something goes viral, it can be expected that within the days that follow, the meme will make an appearance on the local news station.

Although some may label memes as mean-spirited, if made correctly, the humor is usually of a higher standard than found anywhere else on the world wide web.

References to obscure television shows, underground music artists, and books tend to go over the head of the average internet-goer.

When someone becomes a meme, he tends to take it in stride. Zeddie Little, otherwise known as “Ridiculously Photogenic Running Guy,” has approached his newfound internet fame with good cheer. He does television interviews, and enjoys the funny tag lines that accompany his picture.

Despite the fact that the memes themselves may appear to be a form of bullying, administrators may be overestimating the mean-spiritedness and seriousness of memes.

For example, on the High School Memes website, students often just poke fun at their friends, as is evident from responses on Facebook.

If a meme is written about you, you should not be offended by it, even if it says something that could be hurtful. The writer is hiding behind a computer, clearly not having the courage to insult you to your face. A meme may even give you an opportunity to laugh at yourself: something that everyone can afford to learn how to do.

Besides, a meme can be a path to newfound fame and fortune. Since becoming a meme, Zeddie Little’s photo has had over 1.5 million web searches.

All serious matters aside, memes tend to be used by those who frequent certain websites as a way to make fun of something in pop culture.

Used to make a mockery of things like middle schoolers’ lack of musical knowledge or a teachers’ faux-pas, memes are just people’s way of expressing themselves on the internet. The memes usually aren’t meant to be mean spirited, and are often pretty comical.

Who knows? Maybe your next clumsy fall will send you on a trip to internet stardom.