The Internet brought its A game to the meme party this year. Social media users were on top of every memorable quote, moment, and slip-up this year, and memes started, peaked, and disappeared faster than ever. The evolution of a meme is worthy of a study. You have to be on the ball to join in on the fun, or you can be like me and add to the meme frenzy five weeks after it’s over when you finally think of something funny.
If you haven’t looked up the definition of meme in a while, here it is according to Merriam Webster: “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” Memes spread like wildfire, but a select few of them have a longer shelf life. When I look back on 2014, a handful of memes come to mind immediately.
The release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier brought about a contagious meme that spread the word of Hydra. In the film, agents working for the villainous organization pulled each other close and whispered into each other’s ears. Screen caps and photos of people whispering to each other became perfect fodder for Hail Hydra. This one cracked me up over the course of its brief but far-reaching lifespan.
Image via Reddit
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Lightsaber
One of the most talked about frames from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer was the red cross-guard lightsaber wielded by the mysterious hooded figure (now known as Kylo Ren). The tri-blade weapon sparked debates about functionality, and several folks took to Tumblr and Twitter and modified Ren’s lightsaber to look like a Swiss Army Knife, a Christmas tree, a tennis racket, and more.
Image via Complex
Kim Kardashian’s Paper Magazine Cover
Kim Kardashian’s bare-bottomed photo for the cover of Paper Magazine is something I’d like to forget, but the image is unfortunately burned into my brain. On one hand, I never would have known about the cover or image without social media, but on the other hand, at least many people came up with ridiculous cover ups to make it bearable.
Luigi’s Death Stare
YouTuber Rizupicor Gaming captured an intense moment while playing Mario Kart 8 after its release in May; he noticed Luigi giving Waluigi dagger eyes. The meme became known as Luigi’s Death Stare, and soon other people were sharing videos, making parodies, creating fan art, and even donning Luigi Death Stare costumes.
Gif via Tumblr
But That’s None of My Business
Kermit the Frog became the symbol of passive and sarcastic judgment in 2014. I’m not sure why he became the poster frog for snark, but images featuring Kermit and the line “But that’s none of business” hit the interwebs as early as January of this year. The presence of the beloved Muppet makes it stick in your head. New pictures of Kermit still pop up, and the Florida A&M marching band even performed the meme in a game last month.
Actually, It’s About Ethics
When something confounds you to such a degree that you can’t process it, all you can do is laugh at it. That’s how some feel about GamerGate, and when GamerGaters started explaining their movement and claiming it was about ethics in game journalism, the memes started rolling. The “actually, it’s about ethics” quote has been paired with scenes from video games, horror movies, and everything in between. There’s a whole Tumblr devoted to the meme.
What were your favorite memes of 2014? Tell us about them in the comments.