Hello, fellow kids, we’re here to talk about memes; the pinnacle of humanity’s 200,000-year-long journey towards perfecting and refining the arts.
The term ‘meme’ was first coined by atheist writer Richard Dawkins in his 1976 work ‘The Selfish Gene’. He originally intended it to describe the spread of ideas and concepts amongst members of a similar culture. The internet (as with everything if you search far enough), has since corrupted the term. It now almost exclusively used to describe viral internet jokes, a far cry from the original academic linguistics purpose.
Memes are quite simple to understand, but they do have rules. Classic memes follow the same format of set up above the image and punchline below, though other more abstract formats also exist. If you’re looking for examples Reddit is the place to go, with /r/AdviceAnimals catering to the former, and /r/Me_IRL catering for the latter.
But what of the people behind the memes? Those unsung heroes who have lent their faces to some of the web’s most iconic caricatures. After much arduous research, we stumbled upon a plethora of examples of individuals who both align to and defy the images that have proven bigger than their own personalities. Check them out in our infographic below: