Memes of the Decade

Robinson Lee, Staff Writer

Without a doubt, this decade has been the dankest in history. The internet which has once has been a nifty tool for nerds and for people with time has become so integrated; along with the unique culture it has to offer. As for the meme, it has succeeded in becoming the pinnacle of human thoughts, ideas and imagination conveying humor, information, and pure madness in conjunction with the ease. Thus to celebrate this tumor of human magnificence let’s take a look back at some notable memes through the past ten years in the most fashionable of manners, a WatchMojo Pow Wow Top Ten list. Unfortunately, many favorites may not make this list because it is physically, mentally, and emotionally beyond my capacity of being to be able to even scratch the surface of every single hip and cool memes from the decade and compile them. I am only human after all. Apologies and fedora tips in advance.

The uwu deserves a spot on this list despite its current contemporary popularity for being popular in 2010. According to Google Trends, searches for uwu spike in June 2010 and October 2019. The emoticon face has been used to symbolize cuteness and has gained popularity most via social media. A significant comedic variation of this meme is “owo uwu owo” which when translated from Igbo in Google Translate, “human trafficking” appears in English. To the dismay of memers, Google has removed this translation and now it refers to it as “cash flow” instead.
9. MLG
Major League Gaming (MLG) is a esports organization which has gained fame for hosting many different gaming tournaments most of first person shooting games. But this aspect of internet culture expanded with the introduction of MLG montages which would have gameplay footage accompanied with 8-bit sunglasses, meme faces, weed, “420 blaze it”, Doritos and Mountain Dew for (gamer fuel), dramatic edits, airhorns, obnoxious dubstep and many other popular memes of the time. Sometimes the montages would feature the Illuminati, Shrek or Sanic (a bastardization of Sonic the Hedgehog) as recurring characters. Though MLG is not exclusive to the 2010s, it was a major impact in the first five years of the decade and is still recognized today.
8. Thicc
Thicc is an intentional misspelling of “thick” and is used to describe something fat or big. It has notably been referred to different parts of people appearances but specifically referring to such details will probably end my Pow Wow career. This phenomenon is less of a meme but is still referred to as such as is notable for being used by a vast majority of people on the internet from celebrities to everyday social media users.
7. Harambe
Harambe was a gorilla whose claim to fame was being shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after being seen dragging a child who found his way inside the enclosed space. Harambe has become a martyr for many as his death has been seen as unjust and cruel. But knowing the internet they distilled it to memes and jokes the most notable one being “RIP Harambe” as well as different tributes such as a person changing a street name to Harambe. RIP Harambe.
6. Damn Daniel
Damn Daniel refers to the phrase “Damn Daniel Back At It With the White Vans” where a highschooler posted a video saying that remark to a friend and showing off his Vans shoes. The initial meme was spread through social media notably Vine and Twitter and has been seen millions of times. The meme itself seems to have eroded in popularity though it still has made a mark on meme history.
5. Distracted Boyfriend
Distracted Boyfriend refers to an image of a man next to a girl and him looking to another girl who is walking away. The meme has been used to characterize attraction to the dismay or the opposition of another idea, person, or general thing. There are many different examples ranging from economic ideologies, video game characters, to memes themselves. Though the meme is no longer in its prime time it still deserves a spot for being extremely recognizable to this day.
4. Confused Nick Young
An image of NBA basketball player Nick Young making a confused face surrounded with three question marks has no doubt come one of the most famous memes in existence mainly for its applicability. As the meme represents confusion it has been used to describe awkward “relatable” situations, exaggerated stories, or just random quotes. Google Trends has reported its spike in 2016 but it is still used despite its decline since then.
3. Roll Safe
Roll Safe is the image of actor Kayode Ewumi grinning and pointing to his forehead. The image has been coupled with sentences such as “can’t get fired if you don’t have a job” usually to display ironic insight or idiotic genius. There have been many variations of the picture from video game characters doing the pose or adding many different types of text related to faulty critical thinking.
2. Doge
Doge has become one of the most popular symbols of memes ever. The image if you haven’t seen it (you have no soul) shows a Shiba Inu making face that can only be described as “derpy” but the meme itself has words similar to that of an inner monologue in colored Comic Sans text in broken English or text. The term doge has also been generally used for the inner monologue of dogs outside of the trademark image.
1. Grumpy Cat
Grumpy Cat is a phenomenon beholden to many on the internet and she has symbolized this decade. That signature “annoyed face” has captivated many with its lack of cheer. The cat officially named Tarter Sauce by her owner lived for about seven years between 2012 and 2019 to the dismay of many internet dwellers. Many Grumpy Cat memes include insulting or rude captions such as “Happy New Years; One Year Closer to Death”. This meme is quite peculiar due to its ability to be wholesome to many but also be severely insulting in many cases. Nevertheless RIP Tarter Sauce.
These last ten years have been a journey for many. While we look back at the collective mistakes of our human conscious, I personally look forward to the memes the next couple years have to offer. At this point it could be anything. The power of the internet is limitless; though that not necessarily may be a good thing. Nevertheless a decade of memes, vines, and internet culture will get written in the books and build the foundation for the next iteration of internet culture to take its place.