Feb 24, 2020

The Best Memes Of 2020 So Far

Dictionary.com says a meme is, “a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.” Merriam-Webster defines “meme” as, “an idea, behavior style or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” 

But here is where we go full-on galaxy brain. Wikipedia, of all places, has one of the most intense takes on memes, describing them as, “a viral phenomenon that may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution.” According to that definition, with every edit and remix, we breathe life into memes, and when they drop out of circulation they die. So like living things, memes fight for survival “through processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance.” 

Black Mirror writers, take note, because Wikipedia also says that, “memes that replicate most-effectively enjoy more success and some may replicate effectively even when they prove to be detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.” Like when a meme goes viral (like a… virus, get it?), and we don’t like what that says about us. 

At their best, memes are supremely funny. Like so funny they are absolutely worth the hours we spend on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest. And as the French word for same, même, might suggest, memes are best described in relation to their sameness. 

Memes have come a long way from the Forever Alone Potato and I Can Has Cheezburger. We’ve evolved past the success of baby and doge. The black-trimmed white block letters have given way to Snapchat and Instagram fonts. The fact that TikTok encourages users to duet and add themselves to a blockchain audio track makes it the biggest and baddest meme factory on the internet. Here, we’ll slowly document all the highs and milestones memes will reach in 2020.

February: Bloomberg's Memes

This is the political advertising equivalent of Steve Buscemi saying, "How do you do fellow kids?" In his bid for president, Michael Bloomberg paid an Avengers-style cohort of meme accounts to run meme-ads for his campaign. The memes followed an unflattering DM format where the Bloomberg campaign's Instagram account clumsily asks popular memers to, well, meme him.

February: Confused Billie Eilish

Ever the posterchild of Gen Z angst and indifference, Grammy-darling Billie Eilish was deeply confused during this year's Oscars. Behold the face Gen Z makes when millennials start reminiscing about Feist and landlines.

January: TikTok's Rosa 

Welcome to the Rosa Cinematic Universe. You got a dollar?

Rosa was born a TikTok character as some kind of parody of a latinx highschooler from Los Angeles. She is lovably loud and anyone raised in a latinx community knows that there are two kinds of people: those who ask for dollars and those who forfeit them.

This meme started to gain momentum in the very last days of 2019, when TikTok users started dueting with Rosa, challenging her request for slushy money, and, with later videos, flirting with the star of the Rosa Cinematic Universe. Then her video about connecting with a gay classmate came out, and it became an instant template for everything from celebrity encounters to viral tweets.

But it wasn't until 2020 that this character took achieved viral meme status with Irish, French, Shakespearean, and even Simlish version of "You got a dollar?"

January: "I am once again asking for your financial support"

Not only is he on the other end of the Democratic spectrum, but Bernie's meme moment of 2020 is the literal opposite of Bloomberg's – it's successful, a testament to the power of the image macro.

According to Know Your Meme, the first known meme based on the 2019 ad emerged on Reddit in mid-January. The accompanying text (and the comments that followed) can be interpreted as total disdain for "Bernie bros" – the perceived dominant demographic of Bernie Sanders supporters. In its inception, this was a meme that made fun of left-wing trust fund babies. But its viral success has assured that every possible version of this meme – favorable to Bernie, unfavorable, and unrelated – now exists.

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

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