By Warren Zhao, Staff Reporter
While 2016’s seemingly never-ending string of tragedies and disasters (RIP Harambe), were, well, tragic and disastrous, they provided a wealth of current events with which to draw inspiration for memes from. One would think that it would be impossible for the Internet to produce quality content this year in comparison to a year as meme-ingful as 2016, but one would be wrong. 2017 had its share of gems, and the Spoke’s staff reporter Warren Zhao is here to share the top six memes of 2017.
6.) Distracted Boyfriend
Starting this list off in sixth place is the “Distracted Boyfriend” image. Originating from stock photo database iStock with the description “Disloyal man with his girlfriend looking at another girl”, this picture was popularized by users adding captions on the people in the image. Feeds were inundated with netizen’s own takes on the picture, from people expressing their attraction to socialism over capitalism all the way to references to Buzz and Woody from Toy Story. Initially funny, this meme didn’t have enough staying power to last more than a few months before the Internet did what it does best and killed it.
5.) Press (X) to Doubt
Next up on this list is the perfect reaction image to all those outlandish stories about social justice five-year-olds standing up to middle-aged racists seen while scrolling through Facebook. When someone’s story just isn’t adding up, you hit ’em with the “Press (X) to Doubt” meme. Taken from the video game L.A. Noire, this screenshot is not the reaction image we wanted, but the one that we needed. Too long, have we had to sit through Twitter stories about wild interactions in grocery stores. No more. With this funny and practical picture, anyone can play the role of content police and simply shut down Internet liars where they stand.
4.) mOckInG SpONgEbOb
“yOU caN’T JuSt WrItE aN aRtiCLe AbOuT mEmES.” Much like I’m mocking the words of my friends at lunch, people across the Net used the “Mocking Spongebob” meme to poke fun at others for (usually) logical and well-meaning statements. This image encapsulated the irrational, emotional and petty part of our society. It said that sometimes, no matter how much what you have to say makes sense, if someone else has a preconceived notion about that subject, nothing that you say or do will make them see things your way. That’s a pretty deep message from a screenshot of a children’s show about a talking sponge.
3.) Increasingly Verbose Memes
The “Increasingly verbose memes” prove to all the naysayers that millennials do, in fact, have class. Featuring one original image with a catch phrase or saying next to it, followed by several variations of the original picture decreasing in quality and variations of the phrase getting progressively more complex, this meme is the level of extra that we should all aspire to be. Nobody is safe from this meme’s bastardizing effects– not Sonic the Hedgehog, not the company Apple and not even the President of the US. The “Increasingly verbose meme” truly is a timeless classic.
2.) Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.
This screenshot, taken from Bear Grylls’ TV show Man vs. Wild is exactly the kind of meme that us kids need nowadays. It teaches us how to be tenacious, and to make the best out of a bad situation. Usually captioned with an inappropriate scenario followed by an equally socially unacceptable solution, this meme spread like wildfire on Reddit after it first came out, eventually branching out to Twitter and Instagram users. Much like how the old adage “desperate times call for desperate measures” has stuck around forever, this meme will stay relevant until there are no more terrible problems with outlandish solutions.
1.) Ajit Pai and Net Neutrality
Every so often, there comes a meme that people don’t take seriously until it’s far too late. They make jokes and have a good time, and then the “hypothetical” becomes very real. Ajit Pai and the battle for Net Neutrality is one of those memes. Starting in November, mocking images of Pai popped up around the Internet, likening him to EA (a game developer infamous for its greedy practices) and calling him a puppet of telecom companies. The reason that I ranked this as the #1 meme of 2017 isn’t because it’s funny– it’s actually the opposite of funny. I ranked Ajit Pai and Net Neutrality as number one because they are arguably the most far-reaching meme to come out of this past year. Net Neutrality was repealed and it will potentially continue affecting us years into the future. Every other meme on this list will die after a few months, maybe a year at most. But Ajit Pai and Net Neutrality, or lack thereof, will be an issue for years to come.
Warren Zhao can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.