With memes in everyone’s life, and seemingly everywhere you go on social media, it’s no surprise that the people who make them take away something more from their comedy than just a giggle.
Memes are images, often overlaid with words, that are spread from one user to another as an outlet to make their close friends or widespread of followers laugh. Some of the most popular memes of 2016 were Harambe, the Inner Kermit, Bernie vs. Hillary and the Mr. Krabs meme.
Brett* ‘18 and Emma* ‘19 are meme creators and siblings that initially made memes for a small group of people who have or have had physics and chemistry teacher John Weldele. Brett, the first account owner, no longer has Weldele so he passed it down to his sister Emma but “he still has access to it,” Emma said.
These two meme fanatics created and ran the account out of love and support. Brett and Emma are big fans of how he teaches and feel that he is one of the best chemistry teachers. They try to portray his skill in chemistry through their account. “It’s not making fun of him, we just admire him so much,” Brett said.
“Memes are an escape from the stressfulness of life,” Brett said. Everyone has something on their plate, like school or work. There is always more and more to do and get done. Brett and Emma believe that if you pull out your phone for a couple minutes and look at some memes, you can relieve this stress. “When you go through Instagram and you just scroll through a bunch of memes and you can laugh at them. You just kind of escape from life for a while,” she said.
Memes can also be used to mend broken friendships, according to Emma. “It is also a good bonding mechanism with your friends. I could be fighting with a friend of mine and then all of a sudden I will pull out my phone and look at a meme and we are just laughing together,” she said.
Brett and Emma have used memes to get closer as siblings. Every morning before school, they will scroll through memes together and bond over funny images. “Whenever we find a funny meme, we send it to each other,” Brett said, “and we can hear each other laughing throughout the house.”
Andrew Shoup ‘18 is an avid “meme collector.” While he doesn’t make his own, he has an entire album on his phone dedicated to them. To him, the memes aren’t “deep” but can connect him to other people. “A fun thing to do with memes, especially if everyone goes to school together, you can make fun of funny experiences all at once,” he said.
Shoup credits his first encounter with memes to his friend Sean Ward ’18, and without his influence, he wouldn’t know anything about the meme world. His described the most current set of PSAT memes, which are poking fun of the central characters in the reading passages that were part of the English section. “There’s no underlying principal. No there’s no deeper meaning behind my memes to rather just make fun of something,” Shoup said.
He later added that most of the time memes don’t dehumanize people, they just take away from the rest of their identity. “Memes are like fame, just like the guy who tells someone that he doesn’t care that they broke their elbow,” Shoup said, “he’s only known from that meme and nothing else.”
Another Foothill junior, Nick Godinez, owns his own successful meme account. He takes pride in the comedy it provides for other people. “I have a sweet spot for making people laugh. It’s enjoyable for me so I saw memes as something to show other people,” Godinez said.
While most people don’t think much after posting a meme, it has a lasting effect on Godinez, as making people happy makes him happy, and provides everyone with a short break from their stressful day.
“Personally, I feel like it’s a good break from everything,” Godinez says. “Everyone needs a break from their average life and having a laugh is a good break, knowing that I’m making something that’s gonna appeal to people and make them laugh is pretty good feeling inside.”