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It’s impossible to predict which new memes will be popular weeks or months from now. Even with all the existing data from sources like Reddit, 4chan, and Google Trends, the human interactions that produce memes are simply too complicated and chaotic to model. But that hasn’t stopped people from trying. Someone on Reddit posted a “leaked” calendar showing the best meme for each month in 2017, with Saltbae for January and Roll Safe for February—and it’s shaking up the meme economy this week.
Some people treat memes like investments, looking for the funniest, dankest, most valuable images to save to their hard drives. And in this fictive meme economy, such a calendar—even though it could never be accurate—amounts to a kind of insider trading. The calendar is its own meme now, and people are already making jokes about it and trying to make its prophecies come true.
Here’s someone trying to force the meme calendar’s April entry, the Estonian Dwarf from The Simpsons (as Lisa Simpson):
Someone even made a fake press release announcing that the SEC will be cracking down on “unsafe celery memes” in the month of May:
It’s not clear yet whether any of these memes will be good, but people will certainly attempt humorous callbacks to the calendar in the coming months. Look forward to investors trying to force lobsters, a business dog, a tiny donkey, and whatever’s on that cat’s head into the meme market. It might not work, but it can’t hurt to try: because the meme economy runs entirely on reputation, Reddit upvotes, and imaginary “Good Boy Points,” you’ve got nothing to lose by picking one of these memes and setting a reminder in your phone to post it during the appropriate month.
Who knows? Maybe one of them really will become the meme of the month.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.