Memes are a common ground for young people everywhere. Taking place mostly on the internet, memes and the obscure humor of the millennial generation have created a fun way for us to relate to one another.
With multiple memes being shared every month of the year, it is nearly impossible to count exactly how many memes have been shared. However, it is safe to assume that there are hundreds of memes out there — dead and alive.
“I think that the really interesting and amusing thing about memes is the fact that they spread so fast in our culture that they spawn more memes and are so easily referenced. Since so many memes are created as an artistic expression, they’ve become universally relatable…” said Chelsea Smith, 18. Chelsea is a Twitter user and meme lover.
Memes are known for being absurd. Many of them hold little to no logic or sense. So what is it that makes millennials find memes so funny? Other generations are capable of appreciating them, but not in the same way.
“It’s amazing how adults over 35 seem to be completely oblivious to meme culture and get confused and even angry at it,” said Smith.
Millennial’s absurd humor is not necessarily new, though, because a movement like this has happened before. In the 1950s, the rise of Neo-dada art was taking the art scene by storm. The idea of the movement was to throw traditional ideas of art aside and accept the inherent absurdity of new pieces. Pieces from people like Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns were some of the most well known.
While Neo-dada is related more to art, the absurdity and non-traditional tendencies are similar to that of memes, as memes defy what is traditionally seen as funny.
When I think of absurdist art, I can’t help but think of @getbentsaggy on Twitter. This art and humor are fantastic examples of modern Neo-dada.
While Neo-dadaism was big in the 1950s, the original Dada movement took place in Europe. Having been left in shambles after World War I, many artists turned to these absurdist ideals. The idea was to reject the current state of culture and society. This movement was especially used in the instance of rejecting the darker times of war.
The original Dada movement was in response to the first world war. The Neo-dada movement took place in the 50s after the second world war and during the Cold War. Diving deeper into analysis, one could conclude that millennial humor and memes have become a response to war and serious threats of danger in recent times.
For example, recently tensions with North Korea have been high, and what happened on Twitter? Millennials made memes out of Kim Jong-Un.
During the 2016 election, I recall seeing countless memes about different candidates. The most prominent was a joke surrounding candidate Ted Cruz, in which people insisted that he was indeed the Zodiac killer.
With the recent uproar about Net Neutrality, what did Twitter do? Made memes. We are ultimately rejecting society and common ideas of humor.
“If I had to guess, memes are funny to us, because they’re usually relatable, and they are almost like a way of communicating nowadays,” Said Anessa Day, 21. Anessa is another Twitter user and meme lover.
In my analysis of memes and millennial humor, I believe that we do it in response to the current cultural climate. We are trying to reject wrong-doing and distress in a stressful time period.