Internet Memes As An Art

Internet Memes As An Art

Viral, witty and revolutionary.
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Internet memes present a new facet of art in this digital era due to their overwhelming cultural significance.They are a red thread running through emails and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines art as 'something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.' The memes produced and reproduced in the online sphere fit this description. They are created with the aim to entertain, provoke or critique. While the product appears simplified, the creativity that generates any given meme is no different from that which goes into conventional artistic composition.

Internet memes are in fact challenging the definition art in ways reminiscent of the mid-twentieth century Pop Art movement. Pop Art purposed to narrow the gap between fine and "low" art by using subjects drawn from mass media and popular culture. Similarly, memes essentially use identifiable images and words relevant to a particular idea. Ambiguity is never the aim of any meme and this distinguishes memes from traditional art whose comprehension require careful study.

Beyond what Pop Art achieved, memes paradoxically belong to everybody and to nobody at the same time. There is no hierarchy that would give a chosen few exclusive rights to their creation or ownership. Courtesy of sites such as Imgflip.com and Memegenerator.net members of the online community can become artists themselves. The accessibility of memes makes it revolutionary to the field of art because it is for the people and by the people.

As an art form, memes posses a unique versatility both in style and purpose.This is because a meme may be an expressive photo or video, captioned image, or text sourced from the real and/or virtual world. In the book "A New Literacies Sampler," internet researchers Michele Knobel and Colin Lankshear suggest different uses memes may serve including, but not limited to, social education, advertising and activism.

Memes are further adjustable to suit the target audience and a single image or video may be infinitely used depending on the subject matter. Consider the “But that’s none of my business” memes featuring Kermit the Frog. Cited by About.com as one of the of the most viral memes of all times, the texts on the meme are adjusted to give an array of sarcastic statements ending with "But that's none of my business."

Despite their popularity and benefits to the internet culture, memes raise concerns about privacy. When the subject of a meme is an anonymous person and not a well-known public figure, it risks becoming a source of humiliation. In 2014, Amy Salloway spoke up about her traumatic experience as an internet meme revealing that her viral photo was wrongly percieved online. Salloway's photo spread across nine websites, attracting hurtful comments that dented her self-esteem. Memes may be damaging to their involuntary subjects.

Never before in human history has it been possible for individuals to assert themselves online as it is now. Within social media, internet memes stand out as important catalysts to discussions. The cultural role memes play render them worthy of being considered art.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.couponraja.in/theroyale/click-post/

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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