Speaking My 'truth'

ENGL 3100: Rhetoric: History, Theory & Practices

Virtual Meme Culture

What is a meme?

Memes are images created to tell a joke through conceptual movie, event, celebrity, and otherwise reference. Memes require three things to be used and love by the masses (also known as going viral).

  1. Spreadability: Like the children’s game “telephone” a meme can be passed on from one person to the next but it’s message may not always be the same. Yet we still laugh once we realize what the original concept behind the meme was related to.
  2. Compilation: In a capitalist society we find ourselves distracted by various forms of media such as songs, advertisements, and even new reports. At some point you realize that you can’t consume all these forms of media even though reception is not the problem. You just don’t have time. Creating memes in a simplistic but understood manner help the audience relate to the message you are sending and causing them to share it with others.
  3. Freedom : The things we enjoy the most tend to be the ones that illustrate freedom. So making your meme easy to find online, reuse, recreate, and restyle gives everyone a chance to feel free and liberated and share in the fun.

How does it relate to Ancient Rhetoric?

This brings up the philosophical question of, “What is an enthymeme?” Well I’ll tell you as simply as I can. An enthymeme is an argument in which the premise is not explicitly stated. A meme is our virtual world is something that illustrates how we feel about something while creating general humor to the internet audience. In this illustration the premise or purpose is not explicitly stated but implied by the context behind the image.

What is internet humor?

In order to really understand how to spread, compile, and free the creation of memes in virtual society we must first understand what makes the references and jokes so truly funny.

Internet humor is any joke or narrative that is displayed on public domains for world wide usage and sustainability. This type of semi-institutionalized humor starts as a specific group’s inside joke and develops in to a significant portion of Internet users which gains popularity, ideology, and even rules.

We all know that nothing disappears off the internet so the question that makes many wonder is who started the meme?

Origin of THE MEME 

The exact origin of the meme is a tough one to determine. Many web image boards and message boards tend to be the ground for new memes to spawn, compile, spread, and be freed. 4chan is one of the most frequented sites for image bulletin boarding, comments, jokes, and internet trolling so it can be assumed that memes were born there like many other concepts and popular culture.

However, long before the internet started having its fun, motivational posters were illustrations of inspirational quotes, jokes, and intertextual media concepts that made people’s day at the office, at home, and at school. Now they’re one of the longest-standing virtual jokes (since about 2010), and their uses transcend through virtual memes.

Virtual Meme Culture

If you’ve never seen the U.S. TV series, The Office, then you’re going to learn something about it today and have a blast. This series depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Please check out the trailer below.

Dwight Schrute (played by: Rainn Wilson)

Dwight Schrute is notorious for his lack of social skills and common sense. He is extremely blunt, logical, and keeps the crowd entertained with his dry humor.

Michael Scott (played by: Steve Carrell)

Michael Scott is the central character of the series as the Regional Manager of the Scranton branch of paper distribution company Dunder Mifflin Inc. He is an immature boss that likes to have more fun in the office than doing actual work. He tends to say “that’s what she said” if someone else in the show makes a comment that can be construed as dirty or if there’s an awkward moment that needs an ice breaker.

Conclusion

Cultural fads pop up in every walk of life, but some are truly on liberated and expressed freely on the internet like how memes have become the collective compilation of concepts, jokes and characters that are now considered the bread and butter of spreadable internet comedy.

And even though some of these jokes are daring, some are potentially offensive and some may make little to no sense at all, you’ll still find yourself chuckling at your computer screen, cell phone, or tablet.

Interactions for my readers

If you have any favorite memes (created personally, by others, display culture or spam) please feel free to share a link below in the comment section. I’d love to see what you all think is funny.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Sources:

Lucy Larone. “Steve Carell (The Office Season 1) Best Scenes” Online video clip. YouTube, 5 June. 2015. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.

Allmyd1. “That’s what she said.” Online video clip. YouTube, 12 Oct. 2008. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.

Crowley, Sharon. Ancient Rhetoric. Massachusetts: A Viacom Company, 1999. Print.

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5 responses to “Virtual Meme Culture

  1. Caitlin Hussey October 5, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    I love that you manage to allude that the spreading of memes is somehow linked to the creation of online culture. I think that we could say memes and viral videos are the Internet’s pop-culture. If we wanted to consider digital communities to be legitimate and self-contained social communities that is. And I think that when we talk about the success or failure of memes in the internet community, it really is based on social and cultural expectations of our digital society.

    Good call with the Office meme examples! I know that Office memes are everywhere and I love that they reflect the dry humor on the show.

    Like

  2. Samantha Crovatt October 6, 2015 at 4:24 am

    Firstly, I would like to say that this post is very aesthetically pleasing with the way you spaced your paragraphs and made the headers bold. Each of your headers presents a good point about the use of memes and I like that you included their potential origin. The part of your conclusion: “Cultural fads pop up in every walk of life, but some are truly liberated and expressed freely on the internet like how memes have become the collective compilation of concepts, jokes and characters that are now considered the bread and butter of spreadable internet comedy” is really well worded and I couldn’t agree more. It’s interesting how people have collectively decided that knowing your memes is a play in to your personality or class.

    Like

  3. kendraandrhetoric October 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I like how you defined a successful meme as capable of making people feel free. I think you are right, that it presents an opportunity for people to participate in self-expression and put it out there for other people to share, that would not otherwise be available. I would say that by participating in the creation of memes, people are either knowingly or unknowingly contributing to the spreading and sharing of culture.

    Like

  4. amhight October 6, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    I really like the layout of your description of memes; I like how you outline and describe spreadability, compilation, and freedom. I think that the Internet has increased all of these facets because it’s so much easier to spread information, visual or not, as well as compile it however you want. More than anything, though, the Internet redefines what freedom means for users, especially where memes are concerned. If I wanted, I could not only make any meme I want for free and easily, I could not only do so with my own images and/or text, but I would have dozens of options of potential websites from which I could take my pick. I love your examples from The Office because I like the idea, which many don’t often consider, that memes can start from things like movies and TV shows. I also like that you included a request for readers to show you funny memes!

    Like

  5. Pingback: Rhetorical Mirrors | Speaking My 'truth'

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