Who doesn’t like memes, right? A good meme gives us that fleeting moment of distraction when we don’t think about how crappy our lives have become. I believe that memes have become are gaining so much popularity because they’re more than just a funny picture.
Now at this point, some of you might say something along the lines of –
LEAVE. MEMES. ALONE.
I couldn’t agree more. But still, I am not going to.
I am going to dissect memes. Anyone, who won’t like to watch me doing that can turn away right now. You’ve been warned.
Let’s do this.
How did it begin?
Well, I am not going to tell you that memes are more than thousands of years old and even cavemen were drawing the ‘such amaze much wow’ on the cave walls. I am talking about the time when memes became mainstream. Post-2010 is the time when memes got the spotlight. After the recession, there was panic and confusion everywhere. That’s why people started treasuring the laughs for a couple of moments they got from looking at a funny picture on the internet. That marked the rise of the ‘early memes’.
But that wasn’t the reason memes got so popular. I mean there were funny pictures on the internet from the beginning of time. However, after 2008, the economy had to be restored and therefore people were slaving away all their time – a system that still exists today. But people were angry and they also realized blaming the people who were responsible for all the mess was not going to help. They couldn’t fight them if they wanted to. So they started making memes that presented their struggle in a funny and relatable way.
Why are memes so popular now?
Same reasons as above.
Because today, people are busier than ever. Also, they are more connected than ever. People don’t check their social media to check on their friends anymore. They need a distraction. Distraction from the fact they are wasting their lives studying for a degree that they don’t have any interest in because it will get them a job, only to graduate with a mountain of debt in student loans.
Distraction from the fact that they are slaving away for a company that pays them pennies. A company that doesn’t care if they die. A company that will fire them in an instant in the name of ‘cost-cutting’.
Distraction from the fact they even though they have a degree that was supposed to provide them with a work opportunity, while in reality there are no jobs. You have to watch your self-esteem die a slow and painful death after not hearing from dozens of companies you sent their resumes to.
When all this is happening in the life of an average young-adult, and after seeing all their friends boasting about how good their lives are on social media (most of whom are faking it), it’s easy for people to turn to memes as a distraction.
But there is another reason.
Memes are a vent. With so much shit happening in people’s lives, they need a way to take it out. Governments, corporates, and society get away with ruining people’s lives all the time. The common man knows that he is powerless against them, so he does what anyone would do to keep his sanity – laugh it off.
Most of the ‘dank memes’ today aren’t just funny texts on a picture, they are our attempt to call out the shit that’s happening to us. They are a way to call out the authorities that are making our lives miserable without facing any consequences. They are a way for your average person to laugh at his own helplessness.
Things are getting worse. Because memes are so popular, they have become a way to engineer emotions. Memes are being used for advertising. The very vent that was created to take out our frustration is being used by the corporates and authorities to push their agenda.
That’s not all. Today, memes are being made to make and keep us lazy. It may sound like a crazy conspiracy theory but the thing is you, me and everyone else’s emotions are being engineered day-in and day-out.
Memes aren’t this popular just because people like them, but because some people have realized that they can make a profit from them. Making us feel like that there is nothing we can do to change our lives, that you can live only on weekends, that you will waste your weekend like always and then regret doing so, that everything is meaningless so why even bother.
The very tool of our liberation(yeah, yeah, I know) is now becoming the instrument to keep us in control. If you make a person believe that life is full of shit and they can’t do anything to change it, if you push this 24×7 then you’re programming them to believe that they are really helpless. Because then they become easy to manipulate.
I used to believe that working 5 days a week staring at a screen to get 2 days of staring at a screen is all there is to life. Don’t be like me, be better. Laugh at memes all you want, but don’t let them control you with them.
I know memes are supposed to be your distraction, and they still are. But some people are using them to manipulate you.
All I am saying is don’t let them.
Image Sources – KnowYourMeme, Youtube, Reddit, Imgur