To Meme, Or Not To Meme?

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Many teenagers and adults view memes as a source of humor, but could it be that memes have gone too far?

As stated in Wikipedia.org, the word ‘meme’ was made up by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. He experimented with the word by trying to make a definition for the way cultural information spreads . The definition for ‘meme’ is “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.”

From Reason.com, Pomona College in California investigated a group of students for posting very offensive memes. “Students at Pomona College came under investigation last month for posting offensive memes in a closed Facebook group. Today good sense prevailed and the college decided not to punish the kids for their speech.” The teens posted these rape, genocide, and immigrant memes in a private Facebook group.

According to  Washingtonpost.com, Bishop Richard Umbers, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney makes memes for Jesus. He claims that “meme-making gets to the heart of why I got into this bishop business to begin with”.  He posts them on his personal Twitter and Facebook page, and is used to people thinking his accounts are fake. Memes do convey a message like any sermon would, but they can reach a larger audience.

Some may find that to be sacrilege, but when freshman Brandon Lawrence was asked about the topic, he responded, “Everything should be open to critique and comedy.”

Memes are something mostly teenagers take part in, one English literature student Julian Porch even did his dissertation on them. He included around fifty memes in his 8,000 word dissertation. Julian says that his dissertation had many ties to the irony in memes, mostly ones from the 2016 US presidential election. No one told Porch that it wasn’t possible, but people still had their doubts; still that didn’t stop him from writing his dissertation on memes and passing the class.

Seeing that someone did their college dissertation on memes may come off completely foolish to some parents, but Freshman Kallie Miller says that she finds Julian’s experience “inspirational to the meme world since most adults think that memes and internet jokes are just stupid trends.”

Love them or hate them, memes are a big part of our online world today.