How would you even describe a meme in words? Like if I had to describe what dat boi is to my grandmother, what would I say?
Have you ever tried it?
No. It’s just occurring to me right now. Would you be able to describe some meme to somebody who was completely unfamiliar with internet culture?
It’s a piece of culture that’s recognizable to other people, that has a certain cultural meaning that you and the other people around you get. I wouldn’t, say, use the word “meme” to describe an image macro. “Meme” to me is more the process, the thing that happens with that media within a network. My grandmother would still probably look at me and say, “That’s nice. I have no fucking idea what you’re talking about.”
It’s like the golden age of rap music. You listen to rap music from the 90s, and half the lyrics were references to TV shows or commercials, or whatever, different cultural signifiers that meant something to them and to other people who may have had the same experiences as them. But if you exposed somebody to them now, they’re gonna have no idea, they may not get those references. I think a lot of internet culture is like that. You need the context of the culture. It’s like the virality of “the dress,” you know, people giving different answers to whatever color they thought it was––yes, that’s interesting, but the thing that made it fascinating was the network.