The Memes That We Have Grown to Love

01
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Memes Are Pieces of 'Infectious Culture'

screenshot
Kylo Ren's Tri-Lightsaber. screenshot

"Memes" are cultural symbols and social ideas that spread virally. In the same way that a flu bug travels from person to person, memes travel through social media and email.


Memes are usually things of minor consequence: jokes, urban legends, human and animal oddities.  But in some cases, memes are art and music curiosities, and even philosophical ideas worth repeating.

Modern memes commonly take the form of photos and videos/animations/songs.  

Here are the most popular modern internet memes today.

02
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The New Old Spice Guy

The New Old Spice Guy
The New Old Spice Guy. screenshot / Youtube

These preposterous commercials are exactly that: preposterous. Yet these commercials have a real charm that makes women grin and men guffaw. Take a look at the number of hits that these Old Spice commercials get on YouTube... that should give you a sense of how viral these commercials are

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03
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'But That's None of My Business'

Kermit: none of my business
(you are being judged!). screenshot

While the imagery seems innocent enough, this recent 2014 meme is used to openly pass sarcastic judgement on someone.  When you think someone is an idiot for some life decision he or she has made, you can post a photo of Kermit drinking tea, along with the phrase 'but that's none of my business'.  The memorable muppet image will help the message gnaw on the person's brain for a while, and remind them that they've been judged.  

04
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Winter Is Coming: Sean Bean and Game of Thrones

Winter Is Coming meme
Winter Is Coming meme: Sean Bean. screenshot

Sean Bean's iconic performance as 'Ned Stark' in the popular Game of Thrones series has become a warning meme.  His above photo now serves as a humorous warning message for social media, commonly revolving around warning people that online trends are coming.  Whether it's election predictions, sports predictions, or jokes about new year's resolutions, this Sean Bean meme gets tremendous mileage online

05
of 29

Gas Pump Karaoke Prank

Gas pump karaoke
candid camera musical genius!. screenshot / YouTube

This smile-inducing prank has become a viral hit. The prankster is a faux newscaster on a gas pump TV. He starts a conversation with Will and Monifa Sims, two California customers filling up their minivan. The conversation turns into an impromptu singing performance, with Will and Monifa performing songs from the 1980's. This is a terrific example of human talent and infectious spirit, and if you're like most viewers, you will cheer and clap during this delightful video.

See the gas pump karaoke prank here... More » 

06
of 29

Randall, the Honey Badger Animal Narrator

Honey badger
Honey badger doesn't care. Stern / Getty

Randall is an effeminate narrator who creates voice-overs for animal videos. He is renowned for coining the expression 'honey badger don't care', which is quickly becoming a conversational phrase of courage.

Randall's narrating is flamboyant, irreverent, profane, sassy and preposterous all at once. His internet fame started with his narration of a badger video, where the little beast would hunt and eat its prey on screen. Oddly, Randall's narration is quite engaging, so don't be surprised if you find yourself wanting more Randall videos after honey badger. 

07
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Numa Numa Dance

Gary Brolsma, Numa Numa dance
Gary Brolsma, Numa Numa dance. screenshot / YouTube

This chubby lip-syncher, Gary Brolsma, has won the hearts of viewers everywhere. He lip-synchs an amateur webcam video to the song 'Dragostea" by the Romanian group, 'Ozone'. 

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08
of 29

Kylo Ren's Tri-Lightsaber

Kylo Ren's tri-lightsaber
Kylo Ren's tri-lightsaber. screenshot

When the trailer of the new Star Wars Episode 7 movie was released, fans went into a frenzy over the tri-lightsaber of the character Kylo Ren.  Apparently, the functionality of such a mythical weapon was debatable.  This spurred a viral form of playful vandalism, where readers around the world would photoshop different implements onto Ren's lightsaber, like this example of a swiss army knife in this photo. 

09
of 29

Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat
'Tardar Sauce'. screenshot

Grumpy Cat is  a housepet from Arizona.  Her real name is 'Tardar Sauce', and she has a disorder called 'feline dwarfism'. With a distinctive underbite that gives her a pouting facial expression, this little beast has become the poster child of sarcasm and faux negativity.  Thousands of captioned meme photos have been based on Tardar's seemingly-sad face.  In actuality, Tardar is a very happy and friendly cat, which makes the sarcasm memes even richer! 

10
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Is This Dress Blue and Black or White and Gold?

Is it blue and black
or is it white and gold?. screenshot

When a lady asked for help on Tumblr this 2015, she ignited a worldwide debate over the color of her dress.  Because of optical effects and brain interpretation, viewers are destined to see one set of colors or another when they look at this garment.  

See the dress for yourself, and read some of the scientific explanations of why people cannot agree on the colors.

11
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We Need More Cowbell!

We Need More Cowbell
We Need More Cowbell.

Christopher Walken immortalized the expression 'more cowbell' on Saturday Night Live. Today, 'more cowbell' is a daily expression of humor. This particular meme won't reach you by email forwards, but you can certainly expect the expression 'more cowbell' to occur in daily conversation with the modern generation.

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12
of 29

Ylvis: What Does the Fox Say?

Ylvis
What does the fox say?. screenshot / YouTube

Norwegian comedy and music duo, Ylvis, asks the question "what sound do foxes make?" Sure enough, they not only provide the answer, but they present it via a preposterous dance video that has gone viral in recent weeks. Let's see if this new musical meme could be the new 'Gangnam Style' music video! The video is at 12 million viewings as of this writing...

See The Fox music video here... More » 

13
of 29

"Where the Hell Is Matt Harding?": Dancing Around the World

Matt Harding: Dancing Around the World
Matt Harding: Dancing Around the World. screenshot / YouTube

Matt Harding is another example of why I love the Internet. You see, Matt is a deadbeat and a slacker who has been blessed with the chance of a lifetime. In exchange for doing some amateur dancing on-camera, Matt was hired to travel the world and visit 39 countries on 7 continents. Matt's travel adventures have surpassed what you and I could ever hope to achieve in a lifetime. Here is his first video, and here is his second video

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14
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Weasel Riding a Woodpecker

Weasel Riding a Woodpecker
Weasel Riding a Woodpecker. screenshot / YouTube

This 2015 meme is a wildlife capture, turned into a sociopolitical joke.  When nature enthusiast Martin Le-May was out hiking in England, he managed to photograph a weasel rodent attacking a woodpecker, which in turn took flight while the weasel was clinging to its back. This fantastical photograph became an international media hit, and has since become the 'weaselpecker' meme.  

If you want to make fun of a celebrity or political figure, then combine the weaselpecker with their photo, and make your statement with a chuckle!

15
of 29

U Mad Bro

U Mad Bro
U Mad Bro. screenshot

'U mad bro' is a trifecta meme, because it is simultaneously a meme, a conversational expression, and a form of trolling/flaming all at once. This meme expression allegedly started in 2003 when hiphop musician Cam'Ron engaged in a heated discussion with talk show host Bill O'Reilly over how his music affected children. Over the last decade, 'u mad bro' has grown into a daily conversation term for the millennial generation, and spawned several versions of itself as 'he mad', 'she mad', 'why you mad tho', and more.  

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16
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Good Guy Greg

Good Guy Greg
Good Guy Greg. screenshot / YouTube

'Good Guy Greg' (also known as GGG) is the endearing photo of a marijuana-smoking fellow with a likeable grin. His viral photo has been repeatedly captioned to be an example of acts of kindness and respectful public behaviour. Good Guy Greg is quite a pleasant meme, actually, as it promotes the opposite of trolling and negativity on the Web.

Make your own Good Guy Greg meme here... More » 

17
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Gangnam Style, by Rapper Psy

Psy
Gangnam Style dance. 156057793 / Getty

The most-liked video in YouTube history, this pop song was released by South Korean rapper, Psy, in July of 2012. In this video, Psy inspires a funny dance style involving an invisible horse and clumsy dance moves. The 'Gangnam Style' itself is a parody of people's perceptions of the upscale Gangnam District in the city of Seoul, where the residents are known to be wealthy and trendy. See the video for yourself, and see why it has won the MTV Video of the Year.

FYI: here are the English lyrics to the Gangnam Style song. More » 

18
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Doge! Much Wow, Such Fun...

Doge: 'dohj'
Much wow, such fun... screenshot

Since 2005, 'doge' has been a subculture meme thanks to the Homestar Runner puppet show.  In this episode, the Homestar character nicknames his cohort, Strong Bad, as "d-o-g-e".  

Today, doge is a photograph meme commonly attached to photos of Shiba Inu dogs, combined with comic sans font and the use of bad grammar with comedic monologue text.  Doge has also become the name for a new type of digital currency called 'Dogecoins'.

'Doge' has two common pronunciations: as a rhyme with 'rogue', or pronounced as 'dohj'.

19
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LOLcats

Lolcats!
When cats do goofy people things... screenshot

LOLcats is the absurd cultural humor of attaching human behaviors and captions to photos of housecats. Why do people do this?  Who knows... we people are just weird and goofy, it seems!

If you like Gary Larson's 'Far Side' cartoons, you are bound to like LOLcats/Cheezburger! 

20
of 29

Ermahgerd

'Ermahgerd' meme
Ermahgerd!. About.com / screenshot

 'Ermahgerd' is 'oh my god' as pronounced by someone with a speech impediment. It means 'shock' and 'stupidity' at the same time, often as a caption for unflattering photos. You can caption 'ermahgerd' on your own photos to describe that you did something stupid today, or you can use it to insult someone else by replying 'ermagherd' to their online posts.

Ermahgerd is also becoming popular as a caption for animal photos, much like lolcats. For the most part, ermagherd is a derogatory term like 'doh' or 'durp'. More »

21
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The Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow
The Double Rainbow. Youtube / screenshot

 You'd swear the cameraman was on some kind of acid trip when he shot this video. But Paul Vasquez claims that he was having a spiritual experience at the sight of this Yosemite Park rainbow. People have since flocked to his YouTube page to leave comments. Take a look for yourself, and decide if this home video is all just an act, or a sincere life experience. 

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22
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Epic Fail!

Epic Failure = human folly
Epic Failure = human folly. screenshot

'Epic Fail' is about making fun of people's mistakes.  Epic failure has actually become a mesmerizing photo blog, too! Here are pictoral essays on the tragic mistakes of people around the world. Bad drivers, stunts gone bad, public faux pas embarassments... this website is absolutely hypnotic in the way it depicts human folly. The idea of "schadenfreude" (delighting in other people's misfortune) has never been so humorously done. Be warned: once you visit this site, you will be addicted to checking it every week for new additions... 

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23
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Rickrolling Someone

Rickrolling: a meme prank
Rickrolling: a meme prank. screenshot / YouTube

Rickrolling is a prankster meme: you pretend to send critical business email links in emails, but you actually send links to Rick Astley music videos from the 1980's instead.

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24
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Mr. Rogers Remixed: Garden of Your Mind

Mr. Rogers Remixed: Garden of Your Mind
Mr. Rogers Remixed: Garden of Your Mind. screenshot / YouTube

Fred Rogers was an educational influence for millions of youth before he passed away in 2003. His PBS show inspired scientific curiosity, multiculturalism, a compassion for fellow human beings and animals, and a real hope for the future. The Public Broadcasting System recently remixed a montage of Mr. Rogers' work in this hypnotizing video. Unlike other memes, this video is thoughtful and non-flashy, but if you followed Mr. Rogers as a youth, you are bound to find this new video to be resonant and moving.

See the Mr. Rogers remix video here 

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25
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NONONO Cat

NONONO Cat
NONONO Cat. screenshot / YouTube

NONONO Cat is a special long-haired cat from Russia.  In this video, he cowers in fear at seeing a young child for the first time.  This feline begins to speak in seeming English, repeating the word "no" for several minutes.  This is a much-loved meme video, especially amongst animal lovers. 

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More memes follow here » 

26
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Rebecca Black - 'Friday' Music Video

Rebecca Black - 'Friday' Music Video
Rebecca Black - 'Friday' Music Video. screenshot / YouTube

Millions of people claim that this is the 'worst music video' and 'worst song' ever made. Yet Rebecca Black's video has become a viral sensation across the world. This music video was shot with a budget of only $4000, and was taken offline because of the massive polarized attention it received. Rebecca eventually re-uploaded it, and you can decide for yourself if she should have. 

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27
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Star Wars Kid

Star Wars Kid
Star Wars Kid. screenshot / YouTube

 The doctored video of a youngster twirling a golf ball retriever staff. This young Canadian lad eventually earned money online as people donated funds to him. Fans of Star Wars should get a good kick out of this meme. 

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28
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David After the Dentist

David After the Dentist
David After the Dentist. screenshot / YouTube

David is a young 7 year old who just had his tooth removed. As he recovered from the general anesthetic, his father videotaped him with the new family Flip camera. During his wooziness, David proceeded to monologe in an endearing Hamlet-ish kind of way, questioning life and his medicated condition. In 2009, David's video was the second most-watched video at YouTube. See the woozy young lad here. Even more funny, see the Chad Vader parody video side-by-side with David. 

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29
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Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris. screenshot / YouTube

The preposterous exaggerations of Chuck Norris as a modern superman, often randomly inserted into email conversations for humor effect. Don't be surprised if you find Chuck Norris references in your emailbox, or on a webpage... his powers are legendary!

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