In 2018, there were Tide Pods and their subsequent paranoia. There was that red-haired ASMR girl. Those moths and lamps and sinister riffs on obscure nursery rhymes (“Johny Johny Yes Papa” had its flash-in-the-pan moment at the end of summer). Entire meme accounts on Instagram dedicated to astrological signs of the zodiac and their corresponding personality traits, like @astromemequeen and @notallgeminis, really blew up in 2018, too. There was the circulation of daily affirmations like “let’s get this bread,” and, somehow, there was surgery performed on grapes. People couldn’t even get through screenings of A Star Is Born without erupting in laughter, kind of ruining the experience of watching a movie whose trailer essentially morphed into one giant meme.
The year 2018 has been long, drawn-out, and downright insufferable for the most part, and memes are supposed to make us feel better and help us move past everyday traumas. And yet, in 2018, life must have been so unbearable that we have finally run out of good memes. There were certainly memes that one could say really lit a fire under all of us, creatively speaking, or brought us together to laugh in times of stress. (A variation on “this ain’t it chief,” a reactionary expression used to convey that someone has truly missed the point, still elicited the occasional cackle.) But when was the last time a meme or viral moment actually made you laugh out loud because it was unexpected or silly or dumbly profound?
All of this is to say that memes are important, of course, and they will remain culturally relevant. But the fact that collectively, we citizens of the global internet, are ending this year by thinking that a viral image about surgery being performed on a grape (which, by the way, actually happened in 2010) accompanied by the phrase “they did surgery on a grape” is funny enough to compete with the good memes of yore (think: “Damn Daniel,” Arthur’s fist, Kermit sipping tea) might mean that something has gone off the rails in memeland.
I mean, this is where we’re at:
Are we all just so tired that we’ve ceased to conjure up memes that are actually funny? Does a eulogy for the good meme need to be written? What was the last “good” meme anyway? Citizens of the internet remain irked by these questions, and all you have to do is look to Twitter for confirmation. This considerable dip in meme quality coupled with other internet culture snafus, like the imminent death of Tumblr (it is plausible that plenty of users could flee the social network once all of the NSFW content is purged from the site before the end of the year), can only mean one thing—we’re headed towards the slow death of the meme.
Besides, we already peaked with the fashionable Ikea Monkey anyway.
Or, you know, maybe this entire post just “ain’t it.”