The zany, transcendent ‘bad teacher’ meme is having a moment

adels/Flickr Ralph Arvesen/Flickr joxeankoret/Flickr Ralph Arvesen/Flickr (CC-BY-SA) Pat Corbett

We could all use a lesson from a master.

The best new meme on Twitter is all about legendary experts getting schooled in their respective fields by someone even better than themselves. Iron Maiden and Metallica may be iconic metal bands, but they tremble before … Löded Diper? Hmm …

Are you ready for your meme lesson?

Most examples of this new “bad teacher” Twitter meme follow the same format: “Are you ready for your lesson?” is followed by famous people gulping, nodding, blinking nervously, and shuddering. Then the punchline, their bad teacher, is revealed.

When the meme started, though, it was something very different. It seems to have come out of K-Pop fandom as a joke about Korean pop idols and “gay lessons.” (This apparently refers to lessons in being an icon for the gay community.)

It blew up amongst K-Pop fans, who tend to provide a very good barometer of which new memes are going to be popular. From there, the meme seems to have bifurcated into two different modes. The comedy mode, described above, hits the reader with the “bad teacher” punchline:

The second mode is pure fandom. Instead of a punchline, it ends with a teacher that the poster sincerely believes is better than the other artists mentioned. It’s being widely used by stans to express their standom.

https://twitter.com/catapstrophe/status/950516042341801984

Both modes of the meme are valid. Although the comedy version seems to be slightly more common, the format itself came out of fandom, so the sincere expressions of admiration make sense, too.

Of course, you could also blow the whole thing up and deconstruct it, as meme-makers are wont to do:

Although the meme lacks visual appeal, its value across various hardcore fandoms means that it’s been going strong on Twitter for days, and new examples are being added all the time. If there’s one meme lesson we can take away from this, it’s that there’s a lot of value in memes that let people make jokes and stan for their faves.

Jay Hathaway

Jay Hathaway

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.