May 26, 2016, is—according to meme academics—the third anniversary of the day that memes became dank. The world was forever changed.
Whence this dankness, you ask? As Know Your Meme has helpfully explained, “dank memes” most likely originated with a YouTube video posted on May 26, 2013, by fennthulhu—who was in fact mocking the tired, formulaic aspects of a then-popular meme, Success Kid.
Starting there, a dank new pattern emerged. Under the banner of dankness, we saw a new generation of memes that edged away from references and punchlines into anti-comedy, deliberately shitty graphic quality, dead horse beating, and willful attempts at obscurity. By one metric, the less people understand or invest in a meme, the danker that meme is.
The dankest memes, of course, pay homage to dank meme culture itself.
But don’t get too caught up in which memes are dank and which aren’t. “Dankness” is, aside from an idiomatic measurement of marijuana’s potency, really just a state of mind. The point of “dank” meme life is that even terrible, “normie” memes can achieve dankness when filtered through enough layers of irony. Anything looks dank in the right light.
So go ahead, enjoy some dank memes. You don’t need to explain them. You don’t even need to “get” them. You’ll know them when you see them.
Welcome to the dank side.