To say there is any single, monolithic source of “meme culture” would be silly – popular memes don’t REALLY get generated or popularized by specific individuals or communities, they’re usually just the product of the right image, the right time, and the right place. Memes are the ultimate democratization of comedy – they can come from anywhere, be done by anyone, and will only grow popular on their own strengths.
Except for forced memes – like what’s happening right now across the internet, thanks to two specific meme subreddits. r/me_irl and r/dankmemes have decided that corn memes would be popular today, and so they are.
To understand this, you may need to understand how meme culture works ON THESE SUBREDDITS SPECIFICALLY. These subreddits have memes within memes, in-jokes that can be crossreferenced via other memes, and rely heavily on meta-textual references to what’s going on in the subreddit’s comments and submissions. Basically, it’s something that would (mostly) be baffling to an outsider – the constant references to “IS THIS LOSS” (which is a play on people recognizing the increasing esoteric loss.jpg memes), parodies of the Etruscan boar vessel meme, and self-deprecating jokes about whatever the currently popular submission is all make perfect sense to the insular communities, but don’t usually escape into the wild.
Except today is different, because today is the day that corn and milk memes are ruling reddit.
why is corn the new meme on reddit
what happened to the boar vessel
— IT’S 20GAYTEEN, PRIDE MONTH SHALL NEVER END 🏳️🌈 (@DarthMauiMomo) July 1, 2018
oh my fucking god why is corn a meme like wtf dude.
— miju (@Egg610z) July 1, 2018
Reddit has been awash in corn memes all day, because r/dankmemes and r/me_irl declared it so. The two represent some of the largest concerted meme communities on the internet, so they DO hold pretty enormous power in “forcing” memes. Of course, if a meme is inherently unfunny or not interesting, it’ll die off fast – but something strange has happened in memes over the past few years, where even intentionally dull memes (like, just “corn”) become popular memes BECAUSE of their simple dullness. It’s all about recognition and feeling like you’re part of the in-crowd, at which point it doesn’t actually matter if the meme subject has any real value. The joke BECOMES that it’s dull – then the joke becomes that it’s ubiquitous. And that’s exactly what’s happening with corn memes.
Users have been posting for a while the idea of exclusively posting corn memes on July 1st across both subreddits, likely in reference to an old “This meme is from the future” meme, featuring stock photos depicting a futuristic woman holding corn – indicating the future once prophesized is finally here:
And now that’s exactly what’s happening – corn memes have been sprouting up everywhere, taking over Reddit, spreading to Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and everywhere else where memes spread. And not because they’re inherently funny, but just because the specificity and sheer volume of them makes them impossible to deny.
Of course, as these things tend to go, even members of the communities were a little reticent to embrace the forced meme – thinking it reeked of trying too hard (a cardinal sin in all corners of the irony-internet), so there were plenty of meta-memes COMPLAINING about the overuse of corn memes.
Sorry Canada – July 1st is now corn meme day. Better luck next year.