Friday, August 12, 2022

The World’s First Meme Predates The Internet By Approximately 80 Years

This is the first article of a weekly column where we’ll discuss the best and funniest memes we can find. If you have any ideas or comments please send them to us!

Internet memes belong to the digital era. Or so we thought, before Vice published an image of a drawing that’s basically a modern day Twitter meme. 

Memes are a phenomenon that’s hard to explain to people who don’t use the Internet regularly, no matter their age. Even if a person is young and well versed on social media apps, some memes are only understood and reserved for the most avid of Internet users, those who look out for these trends and implement them on their day to day lives.

Merriam-Webster describes memes as “an idea, behavior, style or usage, that spreads from person to person within a culture,” which is vague, but it sort of captures the feeling of what memes are; they’re funny and relatable bits of media that are shared between a community. With social media, this community can be very large, affecting thousands of people who live in different states and continents. But it can also be small and shared between close friends.

Vice published an image of what might be the first meme ever, extracted from a 1921 satirical magazine called The Judge.

While the words of the image are a little old-timey, the content is extremely relatable and could make anyone believe that it was made today. The funny use of the doodle version of the man compared to the nice and elaborate drawing of him is a type of comedy that’s very meme-ish, if that’s even a word. It’s like the Expectations Vs. Reality meme and tons of others with the same format. This is not to say that people from the 1920’s were dumber than us, but it’s very surprising to see that 100 years ago people made jokes that still feel fresh and relevant today. 

The image of the meme went viral, and it sprang reactions from all over Twitter, where it was compared to other memes, creating the world’s craziest meme-ception.


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