Fall 2011 STPEC Jr. Writing - Final Project
Internet memes are units of cultural ideas that spread rapidly from person to person. In essence, they are inside jokes shared among a community of millions. Memes are created and propagated through anonymous individuals and attain popularity through a democratically selected, collective process. In addition, memes provide a glimpse into the zeitgeist and reflect racial, class, and gender tensions that exist in the “real world”.
Through this blog, I seek to examine what allows memes to become so popular. I’m interested in the nature of collectivity and anonymity that seem to be catalysts for memes. In what way does this decentralized method of popular culture production undermine hegemonic influences? Further, how do subversive strains passed on through memes enter the collective consciousness? Is this a form of resistance? Through both the analysis and production of, I argue that memes provide a space in which both consumptive and productive agency can be reclaimed by the masses, and allows for subversive ideas to enter the collective consciousness via popular culture.
Keywords: Memes, Resistance, George Orwell, Internet, Anonymity
How to navigate this blog:
The first 11 posts are my attempts at creating memes that would simultaneously resonate with the collective consciousness and also undermine the predominant neoliberal ideology. I chose Herman Cain and Mitt Romney as meme characters because, to my mind, they are credited with the two most ludicrous quotes from the 2011 Republican campaign cycle that capture both the pervasiveness and absurdity of neoliberalism as a sound social and economic strategy.
All subsequent posts are images or memes reblogged or reposted from elsewhere that I feel demonstrate a resistant attitude in popular culture to neoliberal hegemony.
“What makes a meme?” is an intro to memes, as well as a description of the characteristics intrinsic to the Internet, and specifically the sites 4chan.org and Reddit.com, that make meme generation possible.
“Anatomy of a Tiny Revolution” describes the lifecycle of a meme based off of George Orwell’s “Funny but not Vulgar” and Crane Brinton’s The Anatomy of a Revolution. It catalogs various memes that demonstrate social, racial, and class tensions in the collective consciousness and the way in which these ideas enter popular culture, thereby challenging the status quo.
You can find my works cited and relevant links by clicking n “Further Reading & Works Cited”.