USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Meme’
Digital
Humor

Keith Country Day School Student Body Meme

IMG_7081The following is the background of the meme account of Keith School and a description of a meme about the student body of Keith School from a conversation with NC. Attached is the respective meme.

 

Started in 2016, the seniors of Keith Country Day School created the @keithcountrymemeschool Instagram account. The purpose of the account was to mock and tease the faculty and school rules. Every year, one senior runs the account and takes into consideration the ideas of his/her peers. The memes are a collection of spin-offs of already well-known memes and original memes. Some of the memes even have faculty members’ faces photoshopped onto the picture. The account was made private, so as not to let faculty members see the page. Below is the description of a meme from the page, described by the senior from the class of 2018 who created it.

 

NC: This meme is a spin-off of the popular meme with a surprised boy gesturing and looking at a butterfly in the right-hand corner and a caption at the bottom asking a question. If you want to see other examples of this meme, you can look up “butterfly man meme” in a search engine. I did a spin-off of that meme by photoshopping Keith’s image on the boy’s face, photoshopping “54 people” on top of the butterfly, and making the bottom caption says, “Is this an student body?” Kids who follow the account find the meme funny because Keith School is an incredibly small school with a smaller student body than most, but it always boasts that it is constantly getting more of student body and getting bigger every year; it’s funny because that’s so untrue, haha. In reality, Keith is actually losing student body members, and has never been smaller than it is now.

 

My Interpretation:

It’s obvious that the students at Keith Country Day School have little respect for the school, making fun of enrollment numbers through this meme. It seems that Keith is trying to make an attempt to hide that they are struggling, not only with enrollment numbers but also financially as an effect of it. The students see the school struggling and can easily poke fun at the weakness of the institution, especially if they know they won’t be caught doing so with a private meme page.

Digital
Humor

Keith Country Day School Lead in the Water Meme

IMG_7080The following is the background of the meme account of Keith School and a description of a meme about lead occurring in drinking water at Keith School from a conversation with NC. Attached is the respective meme.

 

Started in 2016, the seniors of Keith Country Day School created the @keithcountrymemeschool Instagram account. The purpose of the account was to mock and tease the faculty and school rules. Every year, one senior runs the account and takes into consideration the ideas of his/her peers. The memes are a collection of spin-offs of already well-known memes and original memes. Some of the memes even have faculty members’ faces photoshopped onto the picture. The account was made private, so as not to let faculty members see the page. Below is the description of a meme from the page, described by the senior from the class of 2018 who created it.

 

NC: This meme is kind of like a 2.0 version of a previous meme published on the page. In the previous meme, the joke was about how if your water wasn’t filtered by reverse osmosis, it wasn’t good enough to drink, a concept that started when the school brought in some fitness guru and she had the strangest rules she insisted people follow if they wanted to be healthy, including the reverse osmosis thing. So, the picture in the meme shows the lady spitting out the water in the picture with the caption “When your water isn’t filtered by reverse osmosis.” I redesigned that meme as this one, to fit another one of Keith’s long list of problems. It was released earlier that week that students and faculty should stop drinking the drinking fountain water in the school’s buildings because it had just come to the school’s attention that there were high levels of lead in the water, unhealthy for anyone to be drinking. Keith students found this funny though because it’s such a “Keith” thing to happen; of course, our school would have lead in the water, it’s already so run down and has so many other problems that it really wasn’t that surprising. So, all I had to do was cross out the reverse osmosis part of the original meme and put in “filled with lead” at the end and the meme was even funnier in my opinion because now it was poking fun at Keith. Kind of like, we were such high-class, fancy, private school kids, that we only drank water with lead in it.

 

My Interpretation:

Keith School is a private school, and although I’m sure that not everyone who attends is incredibly wealthy, there are definitely enough kids who are that earns the school its reputation for being very expensive and high quality for rich kids. So, it’s easy to see how, when mistakes as bad as lead being found in the water are made by the school, it makes them look really bad, especially with the reputation they have made for themselves. This, along with other happenings at the school, pokes holes in this reputation, and allows for the students who attend the school to make fun of how dingy, worn down, or ridiculous the school is for having such a bad lead problem. It seems that this irony is what makes the meme funny to the students.

Digital
Humor

Keith Country Day School “I Pledge” Salt-Bae Meme

IMG_7082

The following is the background of the meme account of Keith School and a description of a meme about the “I Pledge” honor code at Keith School from a conversation with NC. Attached is the respective meme.

 

Started in 2016, the seniors of Keith Country Day School created the @keithcountrymemeschool Instagram account. The purpose of the account was to mock and tease the faculty and school rules. Every year, one senior runs the account and takes into consideration the ideas of his/her peers. The memes are a collection of spin-offs of already well-known memes and original memes. Some of the memes even have faculty members’ faces photoshopped onto the picture. The account was made private, so as not to let faculty members see the page. Below is the description of a meme from the page, described by the senior from the class of 2018 who created it.

 

NC: This one is another version of the salt bae meme, which is the guy who kind of looks like Johnny Depp sprinkling salt onto what I assume is food that’s outside the frame of the picture. I changed it up for Keith by making the caption says, “when you write ‘I Pledge’ at the top of your test.” It’s funny because on every test you take at Keith, students must write “I Pledge,” which basically means they pledge not to cheat on the test. So, the meme makes fun of it because it’s like when you add that to the top of your test, you’re being kind of extra, kind of throwing those words in like an extra topping to spice things up like you would with salt on food.

 

My Interpretation:

In meme culture, the salt-bae meme might be one of the most popular memes out there. It’s very easy to come up with captions for the picture, depending on respective circumstances. Keith School is the only high school I’ve heard of that has this honor code rule of writing “I Pledge” at the top of an exam. Although I understand the reasoning behind the honor code, I can see how high school students can so easily make fun of it, just because their friends at other high schools most likely do not have to write those words. So, as Keith is known for having a high-class education reputation, and in a way, being “extra,” it would make sense that this meme is funny to the students who follow the page. Salt-bae is all about being “extra”, adding a little extra salt/spice to his dish, while Keith is “extra” by having their students write “I Pledge,” distinguishing them from any other high school in the area.

Digital
general
Humor

Venezuelan Power Outage Meme

Context: This meme was sent to me after we discussed the usage of Whatsapp in by Venezuelans to spread jokes, especially concerning the current Venezuelan humanitarian crisis and recent power outage that swept the nation in March 2019.

Piece:

venezuela meme

Exact Translation: What is the sensation of living in Venezuela? Something like this but without light.

Holistic Translation: What does it feel like to live in Venezuela? Something like this but without power.

Background: The informant is a middle aged Venezuelan woman who lives in Boston. She sent this meme via Whatsapp to me as a part of a meme chain. She initially received it from a family member who also sent it through Whatsapp.

Analysis:This meme is part of the new wave of folklore being spread through the Internet. In particular, Whatsapp, a communication app, has become a way for people to communicate globally without the restriction of being in different nations. Whatsapp usage is widely used by Venezuelans, and in recent years has become the mode of communication for families who have migrated due to the dictatorial regime. Whatsapp is not only used for regular communication, but also to share jokes and memes among the Venezuelan community. The informant stated that they receive new jokes or memes daily from family members and continue the pattern by sharing to more contacts.

This meme in particular is a great example of a Disaster Joke. This form of joke is used as a coping mechanism surrounding a traumatic disaster or situation in order to release stress or tension. This joke insinuates that living in Venezuela– which is currently dealing with massive food shortages, high crime rates, lack of medicine and massive power outages– is like being stuck on the edge of a cliff, which is bad enough, and then not having any power. This meme is humorous because of its extreme imagery relating to the already horrifying situation and then the addition of the power outage on top of the bad crisis, showing a form of ironic humor. It is remarkable that a community undergoing such horrific circumstances has the ability to deal with it in such a lighthearted way, most likely because it is the only true way to cope.

 

 

Childhood
Digital
general
Humor

Dan & Phil Fandom Inside Jokes

Abstract:

This piece is about an incident-turned-meme that is widely known inside the Dan & Phil fandom about Phil falling off a stage.

Main Piece:

“L: This is a thing everyone in the Dan & Phil fandom know about. On their most recent tour, Interactive Introverts, their first or second night – one of the first few nights, Phil one of the two main people, fell off the stage and into the audience. Someone saw it and now there are jokes about it and everyone knows about it. Like someone turned it into a Valentine’s Day card.

M: They made memes about it?

L: Yeah, like “i’ve fallen for you like Phil fell off the stage.” Like that kind of thing.”

Context:

The informant is a 13 year old girl who is part of a Youtuber fandom for the youtubers Dan and Phil. She regularly keeps up with their videos and social media posts. She even went to their latest tour and bought their merchandise. She has kept up with inside jokes in the fandom, such as this, that have become memes that only those in the fandom understand. She has stated her affinity for the pair comes from their approach to comedy and reliability.

Analysis:

This type of obsession reminds me of obsessions with boybands like One Direction or even earlier boybands like NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. When One Direction was in their hayday, it was common for fans to have inside jokes about the specific members. The informant’s affinity for Phil over Dan also reminded me of this aspect of fandoms as well. It is common for a fan to prefer one member of a band over the others and almost “claim” them as theirs. This is more common in fandoms surrounding boybands or other musical groups than comedy groups. The fact that memes have been created from one specific moment and have lasted for awhile show how powerful the fandom can be.

 

Digital
general
Humor

Pointy Thing Meme

Informant SM is a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. He is very passionate about philanthropy, specifically helping poorer parts of India and aspires to one day become a doctor. The informant tells me(AK) about a very popular meme regarding the recent construction on USC’s campus.

SM: Let me tell you about this new meme, it’s called the “Pointy Thing” meme (shows picture on phone). pointythingmeme

AK: I actually haven’t seen this one, can you explain a little about how this started?

SM: You know, I’m actually not sure. I just remember seeing someone post about it on the USC meme page and it kind of took off from there.

AK: Do you think this says anything about our student body?

SM: I think it’s a great thing that we’re all able to make jokes about something like this. You know, even Nikias posted about these “pointy things” on his Instagram, so it just seems like something everyone can laugh about.

I found this piece to be incredibly interesting because not only did it feature a very modern form of media, but also because it referenced the specific folklore of a college. In today’s day and age, people are always in search of a form of immediate gratification. Memes are the perfect outlet for quick jokes or puns because they feature a short amount of text that highlight a funny or playful picture. For this reason, memes are the perfect way for something like this to spread quickly across a college campus to the point where even the president hears about it. The other thing that made this so interesting to hear about is the fact that it is relevant only to USC. Any group, large or small can have folklore, and this piece is a testament to that fact.

Digital

Bob Ross Twitch Meme

Informant: Alex is a 23-year-old from Southern California. He self-identifies as a gamer. He also frequently uses Twitch, a website that allows people around the world to stream videos – especially of themselves playing video games – live.

Main Piece:
twitch-bob-ross

Background Information about the Performance: This piece was found online by the informant. It depicts Bob Ross, a famous painter and TV personality, painting the Twitch logo. Bob Ross is a popular meme on Twitch following a nine-day-long marathon of his original program, The Joy of Painting. In this meme, his face has been replaced by another Twitch meme, Kappa. Kappa is a prominent emote used on Twitch videos.

Context of Performance: This meme is spread around internet communities, specifically through Twitch and other social media sites.

Thoughts: This particular meme is somewhat unique as it combines two separate memes in the Twitch community. It is also notable as it is authored media that has become a meme spread around the community.

Humor

Pointy Thing Joke

Informant is USC sophomore in the film program.

The subject is the “Pointy Thing” meme which has circulated through the USC student body this year. I ask informant to pull up his Facebook account and log into a group with about 15,000 members where students make and share memes with each other, usually about the school or the different majors.

Scrolling through a number of posts liked between 500 and 3,000 times, he arrives at one which depicts a man in a white T-shirt with one arm in the air. The president of the University is photoshopped in place the face, and “Pointy Things” are raining down across the image*.

“Pointy Things… they’re legendary. What can I say?” he tells me. “They just got put up this semester. They’re these pointy obstacles by all the USC gates. And they’re a waste of money because they don’t have a purpose, but we all got together to make fun of how ridiculous it is.”

The image has about 5K reactions in the Facebook group. I think it’s cool how all these USC students can come together in a group to make jokes with one another about the school they share. In a way, it’s kind of unifying.

“Yeah, they went all out. Pointy things in the Matrix was done, somebody 3D printed a pointy thing. Beating a dead horse at this point but people will like it if you make it” he tells me.

*The image was based on the popular Salt Bae meme, in which Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe is seen sprinkling salt in a fancy manner.

Adulthood
Childhood
Digital
Humor
Life cycle

Dixie Cup Ness

Informant is a facebook page that regularly posts memes. As the page’s primary following is teens and young adults, most of their content is humor based on 1990’s & 2000’s American youth culture.

Dixie Cup Ness

This particular post shows Ness, a character known from successful Nintendo game ‘Super Smash Bros Melee,’ with a retro Dixie cup print on his clothes. By combining the popular 2001 video game character with the distinct folk pattern of 2000’s school cafeteria cups, this satirical image is aimed to evoke nostalgia.

Adulthood
Childhood
Digital
Humor
Life cycle

Flip Phone Accessories

Informant is a Facebook page that regularly posts memes. As the page’s primary following is teens and young adults, most of their content is humor based on 1990’s & 2000’s American youth culture.

Flip Phone Accessories

This particular post shows an early 2000’s cell phone with an excessive amount of Pokemon accessories. Such accessories were a fad in the days of the flip-phone. The Pokemon attached to the phone are from the years 1996 to 2006, highlighting the target audience of this meme page. By combining the retro mobile phone with an excessive amount of once-trendy, Pokemon themed folk objects, this satirical image is aimed to evoke nostalgia for people who grew up in this era.

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