The original source of the meme of course lies in evolutionary biology, referring to any sort of cultural unit that has a tendency to replicate itself. But I, for one, would love to conflate this with internet memes. The idea of a prehistoric being quickly chiselling away onto 8 different tablets of stone as he witnesses a sabre-tooth tiger scurry and fall off the edge of a bath to create the world’s first flip-book style LOLcats gif is only slightly less hilarious than the real ones. I will never not be amused by a pissed off moggy in a party hat, and I’d like to think that Caveman Derp would feel the same too. And why is it so funny? Because the behaviour would be replicated in me – I too would be pissed off at having to wear a party hat, and I’m only capable of a human level of contempt for mankind, let alone that of a cat.
The amount of hours I have spent staring at my screen, scrolling down at a rate of one click every two seconds on a Tumblr page devoted to memes, with my mouth hanging a tiny bit open – tongue ever so slightly sticking out beyond my bottom teeth – giving a gormless “hah” is staggering. If I only put half as much effort into my dissertation this summer as I did into staying up until 2:31am following the trials and tribulations of ‘Bad Luck Brian’ and realising that others also worry that the people they live with might think they’ve died when you drop the shampoo bottle in the shower and it makes an almighty bang, then I would currently be in First-ville with a job writing for Art Monthly. Instead, I have no notes and only an introduction to my essay written; and I am currently sat in my pants at 2:18pm looking at objects and thinking what could be written in an Impact font over them to provide the megalolz.
So yes, as for the internet’s good points, memes are definitely up there – along with asos.com’s free delivery service, video clips of Japanese prank shows on YouTube, Google Street View allowing me to go on holiday without actually ever getting on a plane and confirming certain suspicions I’ve always had such as “I never want to go to India”, and for making it possible for Cher to have a Twitter account (@cher).
But they seriously are going to be the downfall of my academic output. It’s hilarious now – I honestly don’t think I’m ever going to see too many classic stills from The Simpsons, or the awkward penguin situations. It’ll only really hit home once I’m about to hand in a half-arsed attempt at a dissertation – the paper sticking to my sweaty palms – and I’m looking down at my sober 2:2. *Then* I’ll realise what this cat has known all along.