The “change my mind” meme is one likely familiar to you: A man, sitting behind a desk located on a college campus’s commons, with a sign on the desk inviting people to “change my mind” about some issue.
The beauty of the meme, of course, is that the sign provides a blank canvas for the creator and a potential challenge for the viewer.
If you want to say “Pineapples belong on pizza; change my mind,” it’s as easy as some elementary moves in Canva or Photoshop to deliver that questionable food take. It’s also good for science-related controversy makers like “Pluto is not a planet; change my mind.”
But if you want to delve into more controversial political territory, well, it’s there for you as well.
And given how the meme started—with Steven Crowder—”controversial political territory” is apropos.
Who is Steven Crowder?
Steven Crowder is a conservative political commentator, dubbed a “far-right vlogger” in recent Daily Dot coverage. Among the headlines Crowder has made: YouTube taking down his video of the Nashville shooter’s manifesto (which he then ported to Rumble according to a tweet), allegedly putting up and then deleting a tweet suggesting “slutty Greta Thunberg” as a Halloween costume, and staging a livestream where he attempted to debunk reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide by staging a video efforting to “recreate” it.
In other words, Crowder is a person very used to grabbing attention on the internet.
What is the ‘change my mind’ meme?
The “change my mind” meme was launched by Crowder himself in a Feb. 16, 2018 tweet. According to Know Your Meme, the now-deleted tweet shows Crowder on the Texas Christian University campus in Fort Worth, Texas, inviting people to “Come one come all” and “#ChangeMyMind.”
He’s hoisting a Louder With Crowder mug in the photo, advertising his conservative talk show (or, if you prefer, far-right vlog). But what’s most important is the sign taped to his desk, which reads, “Male privilege is a myth; change my mind.”
Because it was so easily transformable, it was transformed and started being shared on various platforms—including the r/dankmemes subreddit on Reddit—within two days.
Other iterations of the meme have different people (or, at least, different heads) replacing Crowder to communicate different messages. In one, the table is shown unattended with the sign reading, “You changed his mind. The man is gone now.”
Is Crowder’s association with it problematic?
Some are aware of Crowder’s history and have questioned using the meme because of it. A Redditor contributing to a discussion from 2021 on the r/Memes_Of_The_Dank subreddit observed, “The guy behind the ‘Change my Mind’ meme is a alt-right YouTuber who, by virtue of being far-right and on YouTube for a while, has said a lot of offensive things, so some people want to “cancel” the meme format so as to not give him publicity.”
But at least one contended, “He’s not blocked on Facebook, he has an active page there. So he’s obviously not dangerous or violent.”
Perhaps that’s dubious logic, but regardless, Imgflip has a ready-made generator for anyone who has a line of text to share with the world about, say, fantasy football drafts.
A case for the ‘change your mind’ meme being special
A reviewer for Steemit, in analyzing the “change your mind” meme, puts memes into three buckets: wholesome, dank, and what he calls “cancer memes,” defining the latter as, “There’s no way to better explain them than saying its funny cause its unexpected, yet has little to no originality.”
A wholesome variant of the “change your mind” meme he stumbled upon—Crowder wearing Rick Astley’s head and the sign reading, “Never gonna give you up; change my mind,” led the review to a bold declaration. “I am proud … to announce that for the first time on this stupid f*cking meme analysis series, we have our first meme that fits in all three categories.”
So, while Crowder continues to make some eyebrow-raising moves online, it looks like not as many people as you might expect are changing their mind about the “change your mind” meme. It appears destined to remain part of internet lore.