2018 has been an incredible year for memes and a nostalgic pop culture resurgence. Here are my picks for the best of the year, month by month.
This was a hashtag where Twitter users reimagined Hogwarts as if it were populated entirely with Black students. This kind of reworking is particularly potent given J.K. Rowling’s tendency to retcon her work to account for the wizarding world’s lack of diversity.
February: “Change my mind”
This meme riffs off an image of conservative podcaster Steven Crowder sitting at a table with a sign reading, “Male Privilege is a myth. Change my mind.” It was a perfect way for people to air their hot takes.
March: Avengers: Infinity War is the “most popular crossover event in history”
It allowed Twitter users to call out the true most ambitious crossover events in history like “That’s So Suite Life of Hannah Montana.” Spongebob memes were honorable mentions.
April: Yodel kid
Mason Ramsey became famous after a video of him yodeling in Walmart went viral. He’s un-ironically good and I would defend him with my life.
May: “Is this a pigeon?”
This meme, based on an image of a man pointing at a butterfly and asking the above question, was perfect for calling out things that obviously are not as they seem. Imagine: the butterfly is “listening to Landslide on repeat,” and the man asks, “is this an effective coping mechanism?”
June: Big dick energy
Following viral tweets about the late Anthony Bourdain and Pete Davidson, BDE means you emanate energy suggestive of having a large phallus. It’s not gender exclusive. BDE is for all, and there’s no equivalent term.
July: Parody Elon Musk accounts
The only thing I need to justify this pick is a tweet from Italian Elon Musk: “I send a the calzone into space!! I don’t pay a the taxes!! Ohhh!!”
August: “To all the boys…”
September: A tie between “Zendaya is Meechee” and Gritty
“Zendaya is Meechee,” a song from comedian Gabriel Gundacker, made a media moment out of "Smallfoot," a film in which Zendaya voices Meechee. Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers' new mascot, is horrifying and endearing all at once. He’s the Internet’s sweetheart.
October: “thank u, next”
Based off Ariana Grande's lyrics, “one taught me love; one taught me patience; and one taught me pain,” the meme allowed users to compare the components of pop media triptychs.
November: “They did surgery on a grape”
As for December?
Things are still up in the air, but “they live among us” (the one with all the human emojis) and the “PETA language" meme are emerging contenders. What’s great about the internet is that there will never be any shortage of quality memes — no matter which we think are superior.