Things That Matter

These Top 12 Memes Of The Decade Told Our Stories Of Joy, Anger, And Sadness

A meme is basically a trend that is passed on person to person within a culture. It’s one of those infectious “word of mouth” kinds of things. That’s why memes go “viral,” they spread. With the internet’s ubiquity looking back at memes is like looking back at cultural moments. It’s a way of taking stock of what has happened in the past through an absurd, ironic, and humorous lens. Here’s your decade in memes. 

“Come to Brazil”

The phrase celebrities heard ’round the world on Twitter. “Come to Brazil” became the battle cry of Brazilians thirsty for pop artists to acknowledge the country’s existence and just visit. Its origins cannot be fully traced, but the first documented instance of the phrase being tweeted at a celebrity was in 2009 — at Justin Bieber who had joined Twitter. For the rest of the decade, the phrase would be used both ironically and in complete earnest. 

“Friday” by Rebecca Black

One of the earliest viral videos, 13-year-old Rebbeca Black’s amateur ode to the best day of the week became a beacon of the internet’s ironic humor. Discovered by The Daily What in 2011, the video garnered millions of views in just a few days. The video turned Black and the “awkward dancing girl” featured in the video into memes. However, the meme also spawned a larger conversation about what happens to random people when they get memed. Black described her experience as largely being cyberbullied.

Ermahgerd

While the “Ermahgerd” meme is probably too dated for Gen Z, the photo of the pigtailed girl holding a plethora of Goosebumps books was everywhere in 2012. The strange spelling and imagery meant the meme would be remixed and reappropriated for years. 

The Harlem Shake

“Harlem Shake” by Baauer dropped in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2013 when the blogger Filthy Frank posted a video fo four people dressed in latex outfits to the song that the meme caught on. Seemingly thousands of people created Harlem Shake videos, making it one of the first and most ubiquitous video memes that required a lot more effort than reposting the same image with text. Creators had to execute a concept where something unexpected happens (usually a crazy dance or wild costumes)  when the beat dropped. 

Confused Brazilian Math Lady

Brazilian actress Renata Sorrah portrayed Nazare Tedesco in the popular telenovela Senhora do Destino. The image of her confused face as math algorithms emerge from it was a photoshopped reaction GIF traced back to 2013

But That’s None Of My Business Kermit The Frog

The Muppet drinking a cup of tea became the totem of a generation seemingly obsessed with getting, sipping, and consuming the proverbial tea so to speak. The “none of my business” Kermit meme grew in popularity in 2014, spawning other Kermit memes like “evil Kermit” and “Kermit falling down the stairs.” 

Soraya Montenegro

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#CriesInSpanish

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The fictional character and antagonist of the Mexican telenovela Maria la del Barrio, garnered an ironic following for her campy performance. Soraya’s image has been remixed millions of times, but it was the “Cries in Spanish” meme of 2014 that brought her to a mainstream audience. 

On Fleek

We wouldn’t be saying “On Fleek” if it wasn’t for Viner Peaches Monroee who uploaded her viral selfie video on June 21st, 2014. Peaches described her eyebrows as “on fleek” and the rest is history.

Why The F**K You Lyin’ 

On August 29, 2015, Nicholas Fraser uploaded the “Why The F**k You Lyin'” meme to Vine. The video of him dancing and singing the lyrics to the tune of the 1997 R&B single “Too Close” by Next. The video circulated on Vine, then YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. 

Hotline Bling

Drake is perhaps one of the most meme-able celebrities of the decade. The 2015 “Hotline Bling” video was jampacked with dance moves and facial reactions that seemed tailored to be repurposed. The video was parodied on SNL, and turned into multiple memes including #DanceLikeDrake and #DrakeAlwaysOnBeat. It even spawned an entire movement of memes called “Drakeposting.” 

Obama/Biden Memes

The “Prankster Joe Biden” memes emerged in the 2015 campaign season and carried through 2016 — the election that solidified President Barack Obama would be ending his presidency. To lament the loss of Obama users began circulating memes that lionized the Vice President and President’s friendship. Obama is portrayed as the straight man, to Biden’s hapless but seemingly authentic antics. 

Do It For The Vine (RIP) 

“Do it for the Vine,” became the slogan of Viners and fans who competed to be the funniest and most outlandish on the platform for views. In 2013, Kaye Trill released a hip hop track called “Do It For The Vine.” Kids these days wouldn’t have TikTok without Vine. Founded in 2012, the revolutionary platform that only allowed six-second looping videos, paved the way for largely creators of color to showcase their comedic and storytelling skills. By 2015 it had 200 million users, by 2016 the app was shut down. 

This Coronavirus-Themed Lotería Is The Perfect Kind Of Humor I Needed Right Now And It’s Even Available To Buy

Culture

This Coronavirus-Themed Lotería Is The Perfect Kind Of Humor I Needed Right Now And It’s Even Available To Buy

PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

Coronavirus. Covid-19. Pandemic. Social-distancing. This is all the news we hear these days and as important as it is to stay up to date on what’s happening with the virus and how to stay safe and healthy, forgive me if I don’t want a tiny break from all the seriousness.

So, you can imagine my delight when I was scrolling my Twitter feed and saw tweet after tweet about a Coronavirus-themed lotería. La lotería is a tradition soooo many of us grew up playing so it’s interesting to see it get a 2020 interpretation.

Could this be real? What could the cards for el mano or la botella look like in this Covid-19 reality we’re currently living in? I had to find out.

So I sat down with an artist who’s created his own Coronavirus-themed lotería set to find out more about his inspiration.

Credit: PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

Artist Rafael Gonzales Jr. (on Instagram as @PINCHE_RAF_ART) has created a series of incredibly unique lotería cards that can really thank the current Coronavirus pandemic for their existence: from face masks and hand sanitizer to toilet paper roll, these cards are emblematic of the times we’re living in.

The modern take on the traditional game is called ‘Pandemia Lotería’ and each card (he’s made 31 so far) features a name and image inspired by our new normal of social-distancing, self-isolation, extreme hand-washing, and even the stimulus checks.

What message were you hoping to send about the Coronavirus and our current climate by creating these new cards?

“You know originally this was a very selfish endeavor. I needed a creative outlet for the new experiences we are all going through. It became a project that helped me to connect to others through humor and a childhood game.  Now, I think my message has become one of bringing a lightness to the heaviness of the pandemic. It is a serious global problem, but laughing at our shared experiences is what being human is all about.”

Have you created new interpretations of all 54 cards – or if not, do you plan to create all 54?

Credit: PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

“I have about 31 cards completed and 2 additional specialty cards that won’t be in the game I am putting out soon. My plan for the project is to get as many cards in an art print as possible. I have been a little sidetracked creatively with some of the business side of launching an e-commerce [site] for the game. It has been a whirlwind, but people have responded really well to the cards and my goal from the onset of all this was to try and paint the situation in a light form. To sort of change the heaviness of the news cycle and remind people that better days are coming and those better days often include a game of lotería.”

Are there specific reasons you chose these images to illustrate these titles or what’s your thinking behind them?

Credit: PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

“Visually la Chalupa seems so sincere and serene. I feel it is one of the more complex original illustrations of lotería, so I thought it would be a humorous twist to associate her with fake news and the dolphins in the canals of Venice that were virally shared. The quaran15 was a simple, self-deprecating joke that ran through my head after my wife started to bake more. From banana bread to cookies, I knew I was putting on weight and gonna be built like a barril after all this. I used to see my grandmother’s use Armour manteca all the time to make tortillas and so the coloring became a play on that.”

Are you taking any suggestions? I know people who would love to see Susana Distancia and Los Amuletos (thanks, AMLO!)

“I’ve received a ton of suggestions and I think it has been great. I think part of the reason the cards have been popular is because they are relatable. I sometimes sit with a suggestion and see if it is something I can put my own twist on, while also staying true to my own vision for the project. Some ideas I don’t think I can do justice to or put in the right context so that is why I haven’t taken them on.”

Will it be possible to purchase these loteria cards? Or if it’s already possible, can you point our readers in the right direction?

“The game itself will be printed in a few weeks. Preorders went on April 23 and people can reserve theirs here and other merch like t-shirts can be found on my online store.”

And Rafael isn’t the only one getting in on the game – even Mexico City has its own Coronavirus-themed lotería game.

Credit: @dondeir / Twitter

Like so many other cities around the world, Mexico City is still under a strict stay-at-home order to help flatten the curve. With so many people stuck at home, what’s better than playing a game of an old favorite but with a relevant twist? And as the game’s creators point out – while being reminded of the measures we should all be taking to combat this pandemic.

The Coronavirus Lotería is available as a download to use as a background, you can share it on social media, or you can even play remotely with friends.

And last December, Google commemorated the game with its very own Google Doodle.

Credit: Google

Last December, Google had an online version of the game that replaced some cards for modern talks. The El ApacheEl borrachoEl diablitoEl gorritoLa muerteEl negritoEl soldado, and El valiente cards were replaced with El ajolote (“the axolotl“), El buscador, La conchaEl eloteEl emojiEl gorroEl guacamole, and El xoloitzcuintle (or the Mexican hairless dog.)

A Woman Left Racist Notes On People’s Front Doors Telling Them America Is A ‘Nation Of White People’

Things That Matter

A Woman Left Racist Notes On People’s Front Doors Telling Them America Is A ‘Nation Of White People’

@_dalenaaa / Twitter

Racism never stops in America – no need to look any further than the news headlines from the past 48 hours. From Central Park Karen to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police officers, people of color continue to experience outrageous acts of racism.

During the global Coronavirus pandemic, racism and white supremacy have been used to ignite attacks against communities of color and especially at immigrants. Although the U.S. has the highest number of Covid-19 infections in the world, many Americans ignorantly continue to blame foreigners and immigrants for bringing the virus to the U.S.

A SF Bay Area woman left racist notes containing white supremacist views on doors of homes belonging to immigrants.

A white woman in the Oakland suburb of Dublin has been arrested by police for allegedly leaving handwritten racist messages at several homes, targeting immigrants.

The white supremacist notes suggested that those not native to the United States should leave the country immediately so a ‘white, brave, American’ could live there instead.

“If you are a woman or man and was born in other country, return, go back to your land immediately, fast, with urgency,” the note said. It ended with “One American, white, brave, that serves the Nation or USA is going to live here.”

According to police department news release, the messages were directed towards women and children as well. Officers from the department had investigated a similar incident after a “related note” ordering Asian people to “leave immediately” was found on an information board on a popular hiking trail. Police said they believe the same woman was responsible for that note as well as the others, “messages that instilled fear and intimidation upon those residents.”

Residents targeted by the notes posted the incident to their social media, which helped lead to the woman’s arrest.

One resident gave the officers images captured on his doorbell security camera of a woman taping the note, and the officers soon found her in the area, police said in a statement.

The photo of the note shows text referring to the U.S. Constitution and God, demanding that anyone “born in other country” go back immediately. The note includes white supremacist language. Another note posted to Twitter used similar language, claiming that “in this place no Asian allowed,” and mentioning a May 23 deadline.

The surveillance images shared on social media quickly led police to identify and arrest a suspect, Nancy Arechiga, 52, authorities said. She was “soon located near the community while officers were still in the area,” police said, adding that she was carrying a backpack containing “handwritten notes of the same nature.”

Reports of racist acts directed against Asian people have surged amid the outbreak of COVID-19.

Credit: Steven Senne / Getty

According to Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that’s been tracking self-reported incidents, more than 1,100 physical and verbal attacks against Asian Americans have been documented since late March. 

The high number of reports, which have been submitted over just two weeks, is especially striking since people across the country have predominantly been sheltering in place. The incidents — logged through the Stop AAPI Hate website, which launched on March 19 — are wide-ranging. 

In one, an Asian American child was pushed off her bike by a bystander at a park. In another, a family at a grocery store was spat on and accused of being responsible for the coronavirus. For some, including one Japanese restaurant owner, the harassment has come in the form of vandalism.

In a VOX interview, Manjusha Kulkarni says, “So many of us have experienced it, sometimes for the first time in our lives. It makes it much harder to go to the grocery store, to take a walk, to be outside our homes.”