Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

From ‘Weird’ to Wide

Posted by emilymorgan98 on April 24, 2017

(April 20)

I read the article “From ‘Weird’ to Wide” and it was about memes. I do not know why I thought of this but I think it is funny that, with memes, some people like to put together a chart that shows which meme/memes were popular that month since just about every month has one or two. It is actually really interesting because it is funny whenever whoever does it spreads it around in November and December you get to see what kind of memes were popular because by June you are not going to know or remember what was funny in January.

It is interesting that memes circulate all around the globe. I never seem to think that something me and my friends think is funny can also seem funny to someone across the globe. In that thought, it also makes me think if anyone bases America off the memes that come out of here. There are also jokes about what each country is like and I wonder if, with any of our memes, that just feeds the jokes. Also, I wonder if memes change depending on country. I guess it would since different things are popular.

In the article, Zuckerman talks about a band in Africa and how they changed how the internet is/is viewed over there. He mentioned that they had a five minute video and referred to it as a “weekend movie” and it made me think a little about Michael Jackson. He had longer music videos back when he was very popular and that was different because no one had done that.


4 Responses to “From ‘Weird’ to Wide”

  1. wrmattison said

    Memes are the linguistic enigma of the internet age. I wholeheartedly believe Sam Ford will be 80 years old teaching an intro to pop class where his students will analyze memes for their cultural relevance in a more nuanced way. Maybe memes will become a social commentary to be dissected like the works of any given literary canon. Did anyone from the 1850’s think Moby Dick was a good book? Absolutely not. It stayed stagnate for decades; critics didn’t even touch Melville’s piece until WWI when sailors trudged through it to cope with the circumstances. My point is they were so depressed and bored they resulted to reading Moby Dick, and if you’ve ever read it you’d know just how boring it is. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never read it. Fast forward to 2017, Herman Melville has long since died and Moby Dick has long since been solidified as one of the best novels ever written. Undeniably. Unarguably. It changed the standard for storytelling, and it transcended boundaries for novelists of any generation. At the time of its publication it couldn’t have been a bigger flop, selling only 500 copies. But after Melville died in 1891, and on into WWI, it garnered immeasurable fame. A first run copy of Moby Dick is now worth $60,000. When Melville was alive he only earned about $1200 in royalties from his book.

    In 2097 maybe Gavin from Vine will have recently passed away and he is now championed as the cultural icon of the early 2000’s. Regardless of Gavin’s temporal positioning on the internet, it stands to reason something culturally important reaches a good 10 years in either direction from its actual conception. Try to find any piece of contemporary art from the 1800’s that does not have to do with the civil war. While it lasted only four years, its media influence lasted decades. We might cast our gaze on Gavin to describe the human condition during 9/11 even though his peak of popularity was nowhere near 2001. There is a statute of limitations on time frames. After a certain amount of time, everything just bleeds together and time is forgotten. All other memes will fall away and one or two will be cited as the embodiment of internet culture. Maybe it’ll Gavin, maybe it’ll be Pepe. Hopefully its not the latter.

    Memes are important. I don’t think we give them enough credit now, but nobody really knows what to give credit to until its too late; case in point, Herman Melville. A long time from now the canonization of memes will happen and this post will be forgotten. I would like to be mentioned in the syllabus for Sam’s 2097 pop culture class for calling this shot.



    • samford said

      REED! You will be mentioned in the 2097 class I’m teaching, when I’m 114. Perhaps it shall be a hologram teaching it, driven by artificial intelligence, based on an algorithm of what we talked about in class of the course of the 85 years or so leading up to that point? Perhaps both teacher and students at that point will be AI, and the students will all be powering this imagined worlds in their pods somewhere? Or everyone will be in love with their operating systems and not have the foggiest idea what a quaint college campus was like in the first place. Or no one will be left to each classes like Intro to Pop Culture, trapped in the debtor’s camps or prisons from their student loans and with universities only willing to pay 5 cents per class, due to competition from the AI bots. Or maybe you all will have found the sunglasses by then and be busy fighting the alien races that control us via such AI.

  2. Drake Kizer said

    I can hardly hope to follow the comment prior to mine, but I will say that your post was actually quite insightful and interesting. You made some great points, especially about how memes are really popular according to the calendar. Every month of every year since social media’s inception, memes have popped up, became insanely pervasive, and then disappeared to make way for the next one. As you said, by June no one ever remembers the popular meme from January because by then, there’s been so many other funny and popular ones. Perhaps the funniest thing about memes is that they are so random as far as content, yet so uniting since they bring an entire globe together over their humor and silliness.

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