When memes lose their humour…

“The best memes are never funny.”

Tedor Mitew

This has been Ted’s favourite saying throughout this course, and something that finally made sense this week. When I heard of ‘meme warfare’ I thought nothing of it, the majority of memes are funny – or at least darkly satirical – and have little impact on how we live our lives.

This is not the case with meme warfare.

Meme warfare is the use of memes for political purposes. A key example of this is the #draftourdaughters campaign, wherein users of 4Chan came together to systematically destroy the credibility of the Clinton campaign just prior to voting. Using similar styles, fonts and wording as official campaign posters, the group was able to quickly iterate a range of different ‘memes’ and spread them across Reddit and Twitter to gain more attention.

To illustrate this idea of meme warfare, I used a tweet presented in The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert. At first glance this Tweet can be seen as ‘funny’ as the audience questions how Trump thinks this is an appropriate way to address a legitimate concern. However, when you look deeper, considering the repressions of a leader who has so little care for such matters that he Tweets a short comment, not even considering the issue, brushing it off – that is when this ‘meme’ loses its humour.

One thought on “When memes lose their humour…

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  1. Great Blog I found myself going through the same shift in ideas around memes. I found the Hillary Campaign to really change my mind. Its definitely more impactful when a meme loses its humour. I liked how you mention memes can still be funny but still be relevant, something I didn’t discuss in my blog.

    An article i’d suggest you check out is MIT’s short history of Political Meme Ware-fare. It provides a very eye opening timeline.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/2019/10/24/132228/political-war-memes-disinformation/

    Liked by 1 person

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