2018: The Year In Memes… So Far (Part 1)

Another year, another batch o’ memes.

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We are a quarter of the way into 2018, despite everyone instinctively still writing ‘2017’ on documents still. Although it does seem like the first few months have flown by, we have already had our fair share of amazing memes. The internet moves at a rapid pace, after all, and so we are here to slow it down for you – and to celebrate all the best the net has offered up so far in 2017… err, I mean 2018.

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This year’s Super Bowl MVP wasn’t the quarterback, nor was it even the halftime performers. Instead it was one kid, who got a selfie with Justin Timberlake, and then immediately jumped on his phone – seemingly done with the moment and on to the next interesting thing. He may not have actually captured the pic — “At first I tried to get a selfie with him, and my phone died, and then it turned back on,” he later explained — but he certainly captured the hearts and imaginations of the Internet, who dreamed up different funny scenarios of what could have possibly been so important to this kid that he couldn’t take his eyes of his device. Even celebrities and professional sporting teams piled on, in a friendly way, of course.


Google Arts and Culture is an immersive app designed to bring culture into the 21st Century, and surely they must have known their Face Match feature, which uses facial recognition software to match users’ photos to classic works of art, would first catch fire, then be taken offence at, then become a meme. This all happened within 24 hours; so quickly in fact that we knew all about this wonderful feature through memes, before it was even available in Australia. The curious among us would match their own faces to those from the renaissance period and beyond, but we all soon tired of this, and began to insert celebrities, random items, and other things – obviously sharing the hilarious results around. Of course — as with all memes — this was ripe for photoshop manipulation, such as the below gem from one user who posted his face with a close-up of the penis of Michaelangelo’s David, with the caption, “F**k this app.” Things only got dumber from there.


As with all the classic Oscar memes, this one is based on an unguarded celebrity moment, in which a facial expression tells way more than the person no doubt intended. We will never know what Jen was reacting to on this one — I’m sure she has no idea — but that doesn’t matter. That thousand-yard stare, mixed with a sudden rush of realisation, made this the most hilarious meme from the 2018 Oscars, with most meme-lords choosing to relate it to either an existential thought, or the dark realisation that she’d forgot to complete a mundane chore before attending the event.


This meme began as an easy burn on the alarmist advertisements that have existed since the dawn of print media, and flourished in this digital age, with an (almost always politically-driven) aim to scare parents into believing their children are in danger of an unseen force, and that monitoring their phones is the best course of action. The fist incarnation used a stock photo of a depressed/stress-looking woman, and decoded acronyms relating to (gasp) classical music, but it soon became solely text-based, and way sillier – with Mario Kart, Lord Of the Rings, pop punk, and numerous other benign dangers given secret powers through LOL STFU and other recognisable linguistic shortcuts.


As with the Sad Ben Affleck meme in 2016, this one caught fire basically due to the fact that Affleck is not at all a sympathetic character. This particular Affleck meme exploded due to his insistence years ago that the tattoo was merely a stick-on for a film role. Fast forward a few years later and one lucky paparazzi snap, and it would seem that the massive phoenix tattoo on his back — garish and colourful and badly-designed — was very real. An easy interpretation would be that he got it after his marriage to Jennifer Garner ended, with her saying “Does that make me the ashes? I refuse to be the ashes.” Needless to say, everyone went in on poor Ben, again, because nothing is as funny as bad body art.

Posted by Nathan Jolly