Nevertheless the digital sight gags persisted—and as a result, so did we.
What is a meme? Is it a joke that almost worked, told underwater? A digital Post-it from a Nazi who can’t read? A “Hang In There Baby” kitten poster but with a kitten on mephedrone or maybe even … dead? The answer is yes. Meow! Here’s how I meme, am I doing it right?
A meme is a thrice-filtered photo sprinkled with contouring powder, chagrin, and the vapid confetti that spills out of our dull, throbbing, post-internet brains. And in 2017, they provided just the right mix of escape and realism.
Yes, memes are often noxious manifestations of the collective hollowness of a joyless culture BUT sometimes they make you laugh and hope and we really needed to take what we could get this year in the laughter/hope department.
Reclaiming My Time:
Oh, Congresswoman my Congresswoman, I love you. Representative Maxine Waters demonstrates that rare, perfect thing I hunger for in my comedic (*coughs, white bats and dead dreams fly out of my mouth) career. When the character playing the “voice of reason” in a two-person comedic sketch or scene gets all the laughs. The world becomes the reality I long for. The bonkers character, merely a chaise lounge for the grounded, smart character to luxuriously rest her exquisite, hilarious, eternally-correct point of view on. This was the case in the sketch entitled “Reclaiming My Time” also known as “Representative Waters Eats Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for Lunch and Snack.” It was perfectly cast. A “This Christmas” backup singer-less Patti LaBelle type opposite a Eugene Levy/Robert Forster/Carnival Goldfish in a Sandwich Bag type. The plot is Steven won’t answer Maxine’s question about our actual president’s financial ties to Russia. Anyway, she’s a hilarious powerhouse in it and he is legitimately spineless and that really comes across. The real-life sketch inspired countless memes, glorious columns by R. Eric Thomas, and even a gorgeous gospel song by Mykal Kilgore!
— PrestonMitchum (@PrestonMitchum) July 28, 2017
RECLAIMING MY TIME is my new answer for everything.
— R. Eric Thomas (@oureric) July 28, 2017
— Broderick Greer (@BroderickGreer) July 30, 2017
Nevertheless, She Persisted:
Is there anything better than an idiot doing your work for you? Of course there is but it’s 2017 and we’ll take it! 2017 was a great year for trying to shut women up and women saying “Not today Satan, not today.” Which is actually a popular phrase or … meme, if you will, created by loveable insult comedian and drag queen, Bianca Del Rio. At a Senate meeting debating the confirmation of Senator J-elf-f Sessions being appointed Attorney Gen-elf-ral, Senator Elizabeth “Baby I’m a Firework” Warren tried to read a letter written by American civil rights hero, Coretta Scott King, from 1986. The 1986 letter was relevant to 2017 because America sucks. In the letter, Coretta Scott King warns the Senate Judiciary Committee of the dangers of J-elf-f: “… from his politically motivated voting fraud prosecutions to his indifference toward criminal violations of civil rights laws.” Senator Warren tried to read this letter but was interrupted by two separate dillholes, Senator Mitch “Turtle Who Ate a Bunny” McConnell and Senator Steve Daines, Garth Brooks’s other alter-ego.
McConnell gave a recap of the sexist Senate debate and created a rockin’ feminist battlecry anthem. Anth-meme? Haha yeah, get bent Mitch!
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” —Mitch “The Tortoise Who Ate The Hare” McConnell
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 8, 2017
— syd (@sydisshooketh) February 8, 2017
She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted. pic.twitter.com/ebXJRX23Re
— Marc (@MarcSnetiker) February 8, 2017
I Love This Woman and Her Curvy Body:
Remember the guy who wrote a love letter to himself congratulating himself for loving his not-thin wife? There were some great takes from hilarious comedians like Janine Brito and Megan Amram, are those memes? Well if they aren’t, memes the word, I won’t tell!
Sorry this is controversial but I won't apologize for my love of thicc dogs so please worship me for being such a standup hooman. pic.twitter.com/rTPieeOLvD
— Janingle Bellsrito (@janinebrito) August 4, 2017
Daniel Kaluuya’s Face:
Jordan Peele made a brilliant, groundbreaking, breathtaking, culture-shifting, box-office smash hit film called Get Out. Did you know that? I bet you did! Jordan also reposted art inspired by the film on his Instagram page. The art is, well, it’s as stunning as leading man Daniel Kaluuya’s face, so yes it is beautiful and striking. In one re-post, Jordan said, “Daniel Kaluuya’s face has become an artistic movement.” and he was very right.
Had to give this a try! (STAY WOKE) If you haven't seen Get Out yet, SINK! Please tag: @jordanpeele @getoutmovie ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ———————————————————-#getout #getoutmovie #gfx #yosoycreates #art #artist #supportblackart #graphicdesign #losangeles #color #abstract #drawing #wacom #creative #staywoke #adobeillustrator #vector #vectorart #getoutchallenge #getoutart #dopeblackart #artistsoninstagram #artoftheday ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Response Art to the Muslim Ban:
The Statue of Liberty embodies the powerful declaration of rebellious vulnerability we, as a country, inherently fuck up. But damn the idea was a beauty. The idea was filled with humanity, healing, goodness, and yes, freedom. So Lady Liberty urgently laying down her torch and her tablet to hold a Muslim-American and riot her eyes with righteous anger and empathy in response to the inhumane, horrifying Muslim Ban was an essential weapon of compassion and a reminder of what is good about the American Dream. If you are a racist fan of Olive Garden, I beg you to consider Emma Lazarus’s soulful sonnet an eloquent prequel to the Olive Garden slogan you know and love: Here, in America, there are no orphans. When you’re here, you’re family, and there are endless breadsticks.
— Jamie (@quiversarrow) January 29, 2017
— 🎄JENN²🎄 (@TheKeyThief) January 29, 2017
Mike Pence’s Gay Dance Party:
The LGBTQ dance-party protest in front of Vice Skeleton Wearing Yogurt Mike Pence’s house definitely has to be a meme. Mother, please can it be a meme? I found some GIFs, is a GIF a meme? Who can say??
Whatever, Just Wash Your Hands:
Love this meme because it really hits home just how easy it is to treat people like human beings. We all do gross, natural things in the bathroom called pooping and farting and even beautiful, thin, rich, heterosexual, ableist, Christian people partake, know what I mean? Betsy DeVos farts like a chimney. Betsy, sing it with me (to the tune of “Love Train, Betsy”): People all over the world, join hands, just wash them, wash them.
Beyonce’s and Serena Williams’s Pregnancies and Carrie Fisher’s Eternal Flame:
I guess sometimes a meme isn’t mean or dumb at all. I guess sometimes a meme can make you weep and want to be a better woman. On February 1st, 2017, when we were just beginning the fresh, brutal hell of 2017, Beyonce mercifully posted her pregnancy announcement.
Now, I am not a religious woman or an Illuminati conspiracy theorist but if Beyoncé started a goddess cult I would join it and hand out the pamphlets. Maybe a meme is a digital, goddess cult pamphlet! This is a meme of divine, sacred femininity. A meme of inherent kindness, strength and beauty. A meme of calm, dewy veils and bright, healing blossoms. A reminder that love is a wild act of resistance.
Serena Williams is the G.O.A.T. It isn’t just her physical strength and her mastery of the game, it is her emotionally complicated triumphs that leave me in awe. It is the powerful agreement between two sisters, signed in sweat and valiant, guterral battlecries, to never minimize their individual greatness for the sake of the other’s. To continue the journey they started way back when, on the courts of Compton, to make each other better. I, like many others, have always marveled at this epic journey of deep respect and love. So when Serena won the Australian Open, while playing her big sister AND being eight weeks pregnant, I um lost my mind. Isn’t your first trimester supposed to be reserved for feeling like you are the last person on the Titanic? Dizzy and barfing, sweating and shivering, peering into vast, dark ocean of the bathroom floor? Aren’t your hormones telling you heightened versions of your deepest fears like, “No one really knows me and loves me!” Or heightened versions of your deepest realizations? “My sister really knows me and loves me!” Why did she have to play an intense, competitive tennis match while all of the subtle, chaotic complexities of womanhood were swirling around and inside of her? Because she is Serena Williams.
I look at these two Carrie Fisher memes often and cry and remind myself that it’s okay to miss someone wonderful. Someone so devastatingly funny and real. Someone who absolutely drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. Someone who will always inspire you even if they are far, far away.
Sean Spicer Hiding in the Bushes:
Yes, angry coward and former White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, literally hid from the press in some White House shrubbery in an attempt to avoid making a statement about the firing of FBI Director, James Comey. You can’t hide in some bushes and not get memed, Sean, even I know that.
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) May 10, 2017
“Senator Mitch “Turtle Who Ate a Bunny” McConnell”:
You know, I tried to think of a non-turtle related way to describe Mitch but it is tough. It’s kind of like Daniel Radcliffe playing Harry Potter or Tiffany Amber Thieson playing Kelly Kapowski. Once you play an iconic role, you’re pretty much known for that. A turtle is a turtle and if I know anything, it’s that turtles, especially evil turtles who swallow bunnies whole, get memed.
This is a lot like my Mitch McConnell fan art where I drew him as a turtle. Turtle Man. pic.twitter.com/hUryOHSV6M
— Ruskerdax (@ruskerdax) December 18, 2017
— Cricket Thode (@cricketlovescat) May 19, 2017
— Sasha Stewart (@ArtfulStew) June 22, 2017
When We Wished Tweets Were Signs of Strokes:
When it came to 45’s most “Elvis dying on the toilet” tweet to date, “#covfefe, Bad Girl of Comedy, Eliza Skinner, wasn’t afraid to say what we all were secretly hoping for.
If it turns out we are all laughing at his stroke, I'm ok with that.
— Eliza Skinterklaas (@elizaskinner) May 31, 2017
And the jokes on Covfefe just kept on coming:
Don't talk to me until I've had my #covfefe
— Aparna Nancherla (@aparnapkin) May 31, 2017
This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
Not with a bang but a covfefe.
— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) May 31, 2017
— Andrew Spena (@iamsosorry) May 31, 2017
All Star by Smash Mouth but it's Donald Trump saying "covfefe" pic.twitter.com/KBn3hrxtLy
— james nielssen (@cool_as_heck) May 31, 2017
And then some time passed:
wanna feel old?? covfefe was 700 years ago
— Megan Amram (@meganamram) June 23, 2017
And then Sarah “Who Can Turn the World on With a Smile” Huckabee Sanders tweeted a slew of emojis that read like bodily functions shutting down to me but no she’s fine and we’re all still hanging in there like that kitten on bath salts. Meow!
— Sarah H. Sanders (@SHSanders45) June 10, 2017
Good briefing this morning https://t.co/nrTkom0Zf4
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) June 10, 2017
Man Bun Ken:
Mattel™ re-branded the Ken doll this year and it was really fun because he basically looked like an attractive lesbian. New Ken’s aesthetic seemed to be based on the very stylish and wonderfully funny, lesbian comedian Cameron Esposito. And that is more than fine with me!
— GSN (@gaystarnews) June 28, 2017
Just to recap: I am any Ken u need pic.twitter.com/ce2Imu8E3e
— Cameron Esposito (@cameronesposito) June 29, 2017
which new Ken are you? Bisexual model, Rachel Maddow, "Bernie Would Have Won", 15 yr old app developer, hottest lesbian on tinder, or Chad? pic.twitter.com/UMgSBAv5ky
— Amanda Joyeux December🎄 🏳️🌈 (@amandadeibert) June 20, 2017
The Future Liberals Want:
On March 1st, 2017, a homophobic, Islamophobic Twitter user, @polNewsNetwork1, tweeted a photo of a woman wearing a niqab and a man in drag casually sitting next to each other on the subway with the caption “This is the future that liberals want”.
Liberal Twitter responded with a nice, “Yep!” in a myriad of memes. My favorite responses featured small animals harmoniously hitchin’ a ride on their bigger animal friends.
this is the future that liberals want pic.twitter.com/6671NeUw3y
— War on Xmas and Nazis Mancino-Williams (@Manda_like_wine) March 2, 2017
This is the future that liberals want. pic.twitter.com/68FVp6pv5v
— Freddie Campion (@FreddieCampion) March 2, 2017
This meme was everywhere and I don’t know why. Why does it depress me? Because men don’t really get or deserve women? Probably. Why do I find it gross? Because it looks like three white siblings in some kind of incestual love triangle? Yeah that’s probably it. But people really had fun inventing three-beat jokes revolving around that guy’s dumb face.
I liked this one:
did I do this right pic.twitter.com/wpCplLRdWN
— 🎄Yo, Whitelash!🎄 (@BoringDrew) August 29, 2017
And this one, the ultimate meta meme meme, gives me an appropriate headache.
— “Youthquake” isn’t even a word (@pixelatedboat) August 24, 2017
Guys, what is a meme? I’ll never know. I only know that this 2018, I wish you joy and happiness but above all of this? I wish you love. That was actually a popular meme created by Dolly Parton in 1974 that was then re-memed by Whitney Houston in 1992.
Thanks for the meme-ories!
Hi there and thanks for reading. Here at DAME, our goal is to cover the uncovered, to speak truth to power and ensure that the media reflects ALL of us. But we need your help. If you like fearless independent journalism, become a member. You’ll receive members-only content and some swell swag. Become a supporter today.
AN INDEPENDENT FREE PRESS HAS
NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT.
Your financial support helps us continue to cover the critical policies, politics and social changes impacting woman and their allies.