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Teenworthy: Memes, We Got Yer Memes

Published on: December 30, 2013


Hi parents. Today our topic is the popular Internet phenomenon, memes.

Memes are when a photo or cartoon is matched with a variety of super-imposed captions, usually around a theme. So for example, in the Bad Luck Brian meme, an identical school photo of a hapless teen in braces and plaid sweater is festooned with different bad-luck things that happen to him. On the top it might say “spends all night studying for exam” and on the bottom “sleeps through test.” Or on the top will say “confesses to murder on his deathbed” and the bottom of the photo will say “makes a miraculous recovery.”

Why do we like memes? Memes are a source of entertainment, and sharing them is a fun way to connect to other kids who share your sense of humor.

There are memes that apply to kids, teens and adults. Sometimes they take part of a quote from a TV show or a movie and add funny endings to it, such as the Boromir Lord of the Rings meme: In the movie, this character says, “One does not simply walk into Mordor,” which is a big, guarded fortress of the enemy, so of course it is impossible to just walk right in. People have made up other funny endings to this, such as “one does not simply stop eating the chips and salsa,” or “one does not simply be productive on Sunday.” In this case, the meme always starts with “one does not simply” on top and has a (maybe) clever new ending on the bottom.

Another funny meme is Socially Awkward Penguin, which features a cartoon of a penguin that starts out in a situation that isn’t bad, but botches it up in the second half. For example it might say, “sorry I cant make it to your wedding bro’” and then at the bottom it will say, “maybe next time.” Viewers vote on the funniest captions and popular versions move up to the front. Some, like Scumbag Steve, are not very appropriate for a younger audience. And there are worse.

Quickmeme is the best source for memes, and information on a meme’s origin and popularity trend can be found on

Memes are generally crowd-sourced, meaning someone put up the original photo and caption and then other people create their own versions on that website. An idea that appeals to lots of people will soon have multiple pages of identical photos with captions — some hilarious, some merely funny and some just lame.

That should get you started in the world of memes. I have some topics planned for future blogs, but you can comment here if there is anything us teens do that you are burning to know more about.

208Aidan Weed is a high school sophomore who lives in Seattle. He enjoys drumming, lacrosse and video games, and his favorite subject in school is Latin.

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