It’s time for the 2017 Memeys! This year saw a variety of meme-worthy events that captured our attentions on social media. From the United Airlines passenger fiasco, to the #MeToo campaign, to Hurricane Harvey, and of course, the Trump presidency. Memes were there at every step. Here are the awards for the best and worst memes of the year.
Best Reoccurring Meme
Somehow, the “distracted boyfriend” meme kept going, yet still continued to be entertaining as it morphed into countless variations and topics.
It originally came from Spanish photographer Antonio Guillem, who shot a series of stock photos of a young couple and their “infidelity” in Europe. The photographer reportedly didn’t even know what a meme was, so was quite surprised to see his work go viral.
The photo first appeared in meme form on a Turkish page, with the guy being Phil Collins, the girlfriend prog rock and the other girl pop music. From there, it became a sensation all over the world, and you’ve likely seen it at least a few times with different themes.
Most Hypocritical Meme
Just one week into Trump’s presidency The Other 98% posted this meme, which would be fine, except for the fact they were completely silent during Obama’s tenure when bombs and drone strikes were being launched constantly.
In 2016 alone, over 26,000 bombs were dropped under the Obama Administration’s command, not to mention their support and arming of the “moderate rebels” in Syria, who basically were jihadists and Al Qaeda sympathizers. Yet nary a meme to be found on their page.
And then there was Hillary Clinton herself, who was very hawkish and intervened constantly as Secretary of State in the Middle East. This lead to many disasters, not the least of which was Syria and Libya (“we came, we saw, he died). Any guesses who The Other 98% was rooting and voting for?
Best Political Compass Meme
Political compass memes were in vogue this year. There were many great ones, but this Bon Jovi version wins for creativity and humor.
There were plenty of bad predictions this year in politics, but it’s hard to top this one in sports. After the Falcons took a 21-0 lead in the first half of the Super Bowl, Bayless made this infamous tweet. What followed was perhaps the greatest comeback in sports history, with the Patriots eventually winning in overtime. Skip is notorious for bad predictions, but this was epic.
Short and sweet, but devastating.
Best #MeToo Meme
The #MeToo phenomenon was one of the biggest stories and hashtags of the year, which in turn spawned many great memes. Like this one.
There are lots of memes that are incoherent, but this one was a doozy. The most polite thing to say here is the conclusion doesn’t follow.
Best Political Scandal in a Meme
During a temporary government shutdown in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie was photographed vacationing with his family on a closed beach. He further dug himself into a hole when he helicoptered into a press conference. When asked about staying at the closed beach he said, “I didn’t get any sun today”.
When his spokesman was later shown the photos, the responding spin was epic; “He did not get any sun. He had a baseball hat on.” Needless to say, the internet was merciless and unleashed a torrent of memes worthy of this prize.
The Left Can’t Meme
The Other 98% posted this dismal attempt at the “button pushing dilemma” meme back in July. Properly executed, this meme should be used to show two conflicting propositions, thus illustrating the inconsistencies or hypocrisy of someone’s ideas.
However, the statements here are not conflicting. A “snowflake” refers to a person who is easily offended by ideas that don’t match their own. This does NOT preclude them from being violent. In fact, people who are emotionally unstable and easily offended might be MORE apt to be violent. It’s quite possible to be both a snowflake and engage in violence. Just look at the violent protests and shutdown of speech on campuses. Thus, there is no button pushing dilemma here. Further proof that “the left can’t meme”.
Best Socialism Meme
What’s happening in Venezuela is no laughing matter, as the once wealthiest nation in South America is now the poorest, and zoo animals are being eaten. But at least we have this meme.
Best Media Blunder
Christmas came early to the meme world this year when USA Today posted a video in the wake of the Texas shooting. The video highlighted some possible modifications of an AR-15 that the shooter could have used (but didn’t use), including the now infamous chainsaw bayonet.
While technically a chainsaw bayonet could be a modification, it’s sold virtually nowhere and would render a rifle almost useless. The blunder showed their complete lack of gun knowledge and Twitter and the meme world erupted in mockery. Countless memes with other ridiculous “modifications” emerged, and they were glorious.
Best Taxation is Theft Meme
Besides reading Rothbard and arguing amongst themselves, libertarians’ favorite activity is telling everyone taxation is theft. And what better way to do that than with memes? They then sit poised, ready to do battle with anyone who brings up roads or the “social contract”.
Of course, they’re right, taxation is theft, as was definitively determined earlier this year on this website.
Most Hysterical Meme
The dictionary defines hysterical as “affected by or deriving from wildly uncontrolled emotion”. Next to that definition is a picture of this meme from Occupy Democrats.
Most Creative Meme
It takes talent to make a great meme without using any words, and this delivers. Tying these two events together was both imaginative and hilarious.
If you don’t get the reference, Google “Kellyanne Conway couch controversy”. Then search YouTube for “Chappelle’s Show Rick James skit”.
Most Annoying Meme
Perhaps it was just them expressing the first stage of grief, but Occupy Democrat’s denial of the Trump presidency lasted for months. “Fake president”, “Not my president”, “Never my president”. The memes were frequent, and always annoying. We get it, you don’t like Trump, neither do many people. That’s fine, but yelling “fake president!” neither acknowledges reality nor changes it.
Most Factually Wrong Meme
There were lots of memes peddling false claims this year, but this one wins for sheer magnitude of error. Both the British and US Geological Surveys estimate volcanoes release about 1% of the CO2 humans do annually. Even the Mt. St. Helens eruption (not a “little burp”) released 10 million tons of CO2, which humans release in about 2.5 hours today. So, a little “burp” by Mount Etna would release maybe 1/10,000th what humans do each year. Yet, this meme claims it releases 10,000 times the amount of CO2 in all of human history!
Considering this was a couple months ago, better make it 100,000%.
There was a lot of competition for this award, but this meme from The People For Bernie Sanders hit it out of the park. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, one of the most remarkable stories was the “Cajun Navy”, a huge charity effort of private boats and volunteers willing to help those in need. Somehow, this page which advocates for socialism, confused a private charity effort with socialism.
In a different context, this meme could be posted by a right wing page as a troll or joke, but here it was posted seriously by a page with 1.4 million followers.
Best Trump Meme
This year’s Trump memes ranged from hysterical hatred to idolatry, but this is one everyone can appreciate.
When David Dao was physically removed and dragged off of a United Express flight in April, it caused a social media sensation. The situation was ripe for the meme world to exploit, and they delivered. None better, or funnier, than this meme that substituted Glenn and Negan from The Walking Dead for the dentist and security officer.
Worst Meme of the Year
This meme posted by The Other 98% is awful, and represents the worst type of meme; one that presents itself as factual, but willfully misleads in order to push an agenda.
This picture is actually of a man in Washington, D.C. from 2013 and has no relation to the event. The baby referenced in the meme was stillborn and medical examiners determined he never took a breath. He did not “freeze to death”. The mother suffered from severe mental illness, which was the reason for her not seeking any help or medical attention. It was a tragic story, but for a page with 5 million followers to use it as an excuse to further their agenda, without letting viewers know the truth, is unconscionable.
Best Meme of the Year
This meme captured a major news story in a witty and funny way. It was both creative and simple, quickly drawing you in visually and making its point without being mean-spirited. If all memes were like this, there would be no need for The Meme Policeman. But they’re not, so see you next year!