I think about the end of the world a lot. Call it a a morbid fascination or the byproduct of too many late night Space channel marathons. When I’ve got some free time, my mind wanders, sifting through any number of random nonsense (how can Jungle Book and Tailspin be in the same universe?). But more often than not, I’ll land on the apocalypse. I’m drawn to Armageddon.
I’m not interested in Roland Emmerich-style mass destruction the end of the world entails; I think about the aftermath. I think about how society might rebuild. I think about what new species might climb to the top of the food chain. But most of all, I think about humanity’s legacy. How will be remembered? What will future generations think of us?
I picture a desert wasteland. Buildings and monuments are buried in the sand. One thing protrudes out of the ground: The toothy grin of a Minion doll. That will be our legacy.
Jeez, I need to lighten up. I apologize for that last paragraph. I said my piece on Minions months ago. I don’t mean to rehash old news.
But that’s what I found myself doing yesterday. In a group chat with some friends, we landed on the topic of Minions. I retold on my hyperbolic, opinion on the yellow icons. Once I’d gotten that rant out of my system, the conversation moved onto the topic of memes. By which I mean we barraged each other with bizarre jokes.
Memes are the dominant form of communication online. People bombard message boards and personal chats with grainy pictures with out-of-context dialogue. Images are repeated and regurgitated, losing all original meaning. The meme is Internet street art.
People complain there’s nothing original left in art. While that’s true to an extent (and it’s always been that way if you look at art history), memes prove that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Undoubetedly, most of meme culture is trash. Memes can be lame, offensive, unfunny, or all three. Memes are junk food.
But they can be delicious junk. They allow for real comedic experimentation. Their virality make them a universal language. Memes provide an escape in our tough times.
Perhaps that’ll be our final legacy. Archaeologists will uncover our civilization and among the scientific breakthroughs and artistic endeavours, they’ll find a photo of Spongebob hitting the dab. Perhaps we’ll be known as the Fortnite Dance Society. One can dream.