The rise of meme culture and a potential new campus program

memes
From left to right: Bad Kermit, courtesy of The Chive; Harambe courtesy of Thought Catalog; Crying Jordan courtesy of Buzzfeed
Could a meme program make its way to our university? Some people think it’s possible.

BY
SENIOR REPORTER

From Harambe to Bad Kermit and Crying Jordan, meme culture has been on the rise in recent years, and the movement has been featured in Vanity Fair, The Nation and even the New York Times.

The meme, or a humorous image (or moving image) that is rapidly shared on the Internet, is rising in popularity due to its ability to shift in topic, dynamic and a sense of aimlessness that is identifiable, according to an analysis by The Nation publication.

“I could definitely see a meme studies minor making its way to UD,” Maddy Lewis, a senior English major concentrating in film, says. “Memes are a part of internet culture and they aren’t ever going to go away, just like the internet won’t go away..”

One of Northwestern University’s film classes studied the NU Memes Facebook page, which was created after a local bar lost its liquor license.

“[Memes] are about identifying and recognizing what’s unique to us as a student body,” Nolan Feeney, the former editor of the NU Memes page, says.

The program, which could range between a class or a minor, has the ability to include anything from an analysis to the source of its popularity, to the generational surge of coping with pain with humor, according to Dannagal Young, a film studies professor at the university.

Many media organizations dubbed 2016 “the year of the meme,” because the meme broke out of the confines of Tumblr and Twitter, transforming into another source to comment and relate to breaking news, an article in Vogue says.

“I don’t think it could extend to a full major, but at least a class would be interesting, especially when applying it to the outcome of the 2016 election and everything,” Lewis says.

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