It sure has been a decade. And as we all know, the best way to deal with issues like crippling climate anxiety, political corruption and a dying planet is memes.
In the last decade, there have been good memes, bad memes and everything in between. Here are some of our absolute favourites – the memes that have stood the test of time and proved their worth on the world stage.
“OK Boomer” is a phrase that only entered the cultural lexicon in the last few months, but its impact was immediate. In the great war between millennials and their boomer relatives, nobody was safe from the power of the dismissive and cynical “ok boomer” in family arguments. It screams “whatever, I don’t care, you’re not listening anyway,” and is the perfect way to shut down a ridiculous argument. While it’s hard to determine if this one will stand the test of time, its power can’t be denied.
Doge is a veteran compared to “OK Boomer”, first gaining popularity way back in 2013. Still, doge has stood the test of time, with the perfect mix of sarcasm and awkwardness in his tiny, relatable eyes. Much love to you, doge. So meme.
Salt Bae was HOT in 2017. It felt like you couldn’t walk two steps on the internet’s grass before coming across a parody, mimic or recreation of Salt Bae’s iconic sprinkling technique. Why was his way of salting meat so extra? And why did everyone fall for him so hard? It’s a true mystery, but it did mean Nusret GÃ¶kÃ§e’s popularity as a restauranteur skyrocketed into the stratosphere soon after. God bless Salt Bae.
30-50 Feral Hogs
According to one man on Twitter, his right to bear arms in the U.S. of A is directly related to his need to protect small children from the 30-50 feral hogs that run wild into his yard. The ridiculous phrase “30-50 feral hogs” soon gained new life, being used to describe everything from a woman’s dating life to the Canadian hog crisis. The meme lived a short life, but a memorable one.
Blinking white guy
Have you ever seen something so downright stupid, so without sense, that all you can do is stare, dumbfounded? This is the origin story of the blinking white guy gif. For every moment you can barely believe your eyes, the blinking white guy is there to represent your absolute and total disbelief.
They say the grass is greener on the other side, and this meme represented that idea completely. Staged with all the drama of a renaissance painting, this stock image of a man ogling a women that wasn’t his girlfriend quickly became the meme of choice on the internet. It’s simple, easy to understand, and great for getting a message across. This meme is sure to withstand the test of time.
This is Fine
As Australia burns, let us remember: this is fine. K.C. Green’s iconic burning dog comic is representative of many things â€” the global political landscape, the Australian bushfire crisis, any insignificant hurdle in your life. The ‘this is fine’ dog is all of us, as we continue to ignore the problems pressing in on us from all sides. It reminds us in our most dire and dangerous moments: This is fine.
Poor salad cat. He just wants to enjoy a nice, succulent meal, and Taylor Armstrong, of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, won’t stop yelling at him. These two images surfaced individually in 2011 and 2018, but it wasn’t until Twitter user @MISSINGEGIRL stuck them together in 2019 to form modern art that the meme gained popularity. You can just feel the passion and drama in these images.
Sarcastic Spongebob is the perfect, adult response for when someone’s getting on your nerves. Sure, you could sit down, think of an intelligent response and clap back with your fine-tuned wit, but why would you, when sarcastic Spongebob is the perfect insult?
Confused maths lady
Like this meme lady, I too, am confused by maths. It’s why I’m a journalist, and not a mathematician. But the maths lady meme is for everyone who’s ever felt confused on the internet. Suitable alternatives include the Charlie Kelly meme for the conspiracy nuts and the confused Nick Young meme for more general feelings of deep-seated confusion.
You know you shouldn’t buy it. Every fibre in your being, and your wallet, is telling you that you shouldn’t buy it. But still, there’s that tiny voice in your head telling you that you need it. That tiny voice is Evil Kermit, whose impact has been felt by those making stupid purchasing decisions for years. You should all give in to the dark side and listen to Kermit.
When Katy Perry performed at the Super Bowl in 2015, nobody went away talking about how well she performed. Instead, an internet cult around the left shark developed. While right shark danced merrily away in the background of Perry’s performance, left shark danced sadly, droopily and was absolutely lifeless. His total lack of energy made him a millennial icon, and his fame only grew from there.
Ridiculously photogenic guy
I don’t know about you, but when I exercise, I’m a total mess. Most of us are sweaty haired, red faced and all swinging limbs when we run… but not this guy. This guy runs with a smile, perfect posture and what looks like a sunbeam at his back. Zeddie Little started an internet storm when this photo went viral in 2012, and years later, I’m still jealous of this man’s modelling-on-the-fly prowess.
In 2010, an infamous photo of Keanu Reeves, sitting alone on a bench shot into the fame stratosphere. “Look at how sad Keanu is, what a laugh,” the collective voice of the internet cried. Here’s the thing â€” it’s a bad meme. It’s a bad meme, and everyone should feel bad for laughing at it.
But it does serve to represent something great: how Keanu’s decade has changed so dramatically. In just a decade, he’s transformed from a sad, lonely meme into the internet’s most-loved darling. It’s a transformation that has been an absolute pleasure to witness.
Long live Keanu Reeves. Long live memes.