There’s a lot of nonsense out there on the Internet. Almost real-time awareness of breaking political and cultural news, the ability to connect to and engage with friends, family and people working in your field with remarkable ease, access to virtually every piece of information ever codified by man…Like I said, a lot of meh.
What really makes the World Wide Net spin are memes, plain and simple. How else would we know what to think about all the weird occurrences happening in society that aren’t fit for conventional news coverage and commentary? “Conventional” news is so 20th century, anyway. The future of information is clever block text super-imposed over screen grabs. The future is Nicolas Cage’s head Photoshopped onto everything imaginable. The future is YouTube Vine compilations. The future is memes. The future is now.
So here we are, the moment you’ve been waiting all year for, our picks for the 10 best memes of 2013. God bless.
A pasty young man wearing short shorts, a v-neck and an over-sized pair of glasses was photographed hunched over a typewriter on New York’s High Line park. It might have been the most “hipster” thing to have ever taken place until November when an anonymous Arcade Fire fan decided to wear a bolo tie to the Reflektors show they just bought tickets for.
The photo of the aspiring Hemingway made its way onto Reddit in January and, well, that’s all it really takes…But the story doesn’t end there. In September, the photo’s subject wrote an amazing piece for The Awl explaining himself and detailing some of the real-life ramifications of his unexpected Internet infamy. Context aside, though, we’ll always have this:
Marco Rubio got a little parched during his rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union address in February. Licking his lips constantly and noticeably short of saliva, it eventually became too much for the Florida governor, who awkwardly reached off camera to grab a quick swig from a mini bottle of Poland Springs. The Internet exploded. I even think a “Rubio’s Bottle of Water” Twitter account might have gone live before the speech was over.
To prove to conservatives that Obama isn’t terrified of guns, the White House released a photo of the POTUS shooting skeet at Camp David. It might not have been as badass as Paul Ryan holding up an animal carcass…actually, Obama’s skeet photo was about as far away from badass as a photo of someone shooting a gun could possibly be. He’s wearing a polo tucked into dad jeans, and instead of wielding an assault rifle like he should have been because it’s well within his God-given rights dammit, Obama is shooting clay discs with some sort of mere antique-looking rifle. LAME!
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler killed at the Golden Globes, right? Man, they’re so lovable. Who doesn’t love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler? ...Tommy. Lee. Jones. In the middle of what was probably something hilarious, the camera cut to the former Marshall Sam Gerard sitting stone faced and none too impressed at Fey and Poehler’s antics. He looked as much like Grumpy Cat as any human possibly could, and yes, the Internet noticed.
In a story bestowed upon America by the Gods of the Internet, star Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman Trophy finalist Manti T’eo was revealed to have been in a serious, long-term relationship with a girl that never existed. No one could really tell where T’eo’s gullibility ended and all the other bullshit began, but it was all really, really confusing and none of it quite added up. It was this generation’s OJ trial. People were obsessed. People couldn’t get enough. People pored over interviews and incongruous data trying to make sense of it all. It was one of the most embarrassing things that could ever happen to a person, and if there’s anything the Internet’s good for, it’s viciously ridiculing and attacking the weak and vulnerable (or the really strong and vulnerable). Memes were born.
In October, a Los Angeles woman gave her phone number to a Starbucks barista. When you get a girl’s number you have three options: 1) Text her. 2) Call her. 3) Send her a video of yourself caressing your face seductively as Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” plays in the background. Thankfully for the Internet, the Starbucks barista in question picked door number three.
Following her controversy-stirring and tongue-heavy performance at the VMAs in August, Miley Cyrus released the video for her new album’s lead single, “Wrecking Ball.” There was more tongue action (this time directed at a sledgehammer and not at the millions of Americans watching MTV), there was more unclassifiable skin-tight clothing and there was Miley straddling a swinging, slow-motion wrecking ball as she sang about being young or whatever. It was almost like she was passing a baton to the Internet. We’ll take it from here, Miley. Thanks. There were Photoshop jobs, there was a guy re-enacting the video on ChatRoulette from his living room and, most importantly, there was the pug Halloween costume.
Beyoncé brought the house down during halftime of the Super Bowl. She strutted, she danced, she did diva things. The power literally went off in the stadium after she was done. But in between of all of Bey’s power moves thrown down and fierce poses struck, there were also some not-so-flattering faces made and muscles no one knew existed flexed. Pictures were taken. It was all just as terrifying as it was unsettling, and our fears that Beyoncé is fully capable of ripping all of our hearts out of our chests Temple of Doom style were confirmed. The pics made their way onto the Internet (to the dismay of B’s publicist), and the meme machine sprang into action.
Doge might be the best example of a meme that makes absolutely no sense outside the context of the Internet. Not surprisingly, reddit was involved. It started with a picture of a wary shiba inus dog. But it wasn’t a dog; it was doge. Doge quickly became one of the most prolific voices on the web, weighing in on everything from fashion to Robin Thicke with multi-colored comic sans commentary, all spelled and arranged according only to doge logic.
Doge. Such meme.
Sometimes no one really knows how or why the Internet does what it does. Relatively unknown EDM producer Bauuer’s song “Harlem Shake” blew up earlier this year after some Australian kids posted a video of themselves dancing to it. The rest is meme history. Over the next few months everyone from the Norwegian army to the Miami Heat filmed their own versions. It was awesome, it was annoying and there was even a contingent of detractors mad that it wasn’t the REAL Harlem Shake. But who cares? Not the Internet. Meme appeal will win out over “facts” every time. All we know now is that Bauuer should wake up every morning and sacrifice a small animal to whatever cosmic force decided that he should rake in however much cash he did in 2013. If you ask us it’s those Aussie kids who uploaded the initial freakout video who should be getting royalties.