- Boys’ sleepovers vs. girls’ sleepovers meme takes stereotypes to absurd heights Tuesday 7:30 PM
- Petition wants Keanu Reeves to be named ‘Time Person of the Year’ Tuesday 6:33 PM
- 8 women accuse Max Landis of sexual, emotional abuse Tuesday 5:37 PM
- Taylor Swift accused of copying Beyoncé—again Tuesday 5:00 PM
- Everything you need to know about Libra, Facebook’s new cryptocurrency Tuesday 4:45 PM
- Netflix just renewed ‘Queer Eye’ for 2 more seasons Tuesday 4:32 PM
- YouTube’s queen of failed robots just unveiled a one-of-a-kind Tesla truck Tuesday 3:58 PM
- AOC infuriates conservatives with ‘concentration camps’ remark Tuesday 3:33 PM
- TikTok users explore identity with Lin Manuel Miranda-inspired meme Tuesday 3:24 PM
- TikTok apology video inspires new duet meme Tuesday 2:51 PM
- Man sues brewery after identifying as female to get beer discount Tuesday 2:31 PM
- Here’s what’s coming and going on Hulu in July 2019 Tuesday 2:22 PM
- This biotech company’s logo is almost straight out of Resident Evil Tuesday 1:26 PM
- Trump says mass deportations to start next week Tuesday 12:28 PM
- GOP pollster bothered by broken elevator in Austria blames socialism Tuesday 10:50 AM
How Trump’s ‘covfefe’ gaffe rapidly infected every good meme of 2017
The meme internet was ready for this moment.
More than ever before, the meme culture of 2017 is a culture of remixing and recombining memes to create new #content. The meme-industrial complex that includes 4chan, subreddits like r/dankmemes, and derivative sites like iFunny is set up to assimilate any memeworthy news within hours, rapidly grafting it onto the successful memes of the past. On Tuesday night, it went to work on Donald Trump’s now-infamous “covfefe” Twitter typo.
The Trump executive order meme is an obvious one:
But the trend spread to a whole range of recent hits, like “eyes on drugs“:
And the blue “nut button“:
And the Whomst/”expanding brain” meme:
Mocking Spongebob, the biggest meme of May, was an obvious choice:
But no meme, no matter how minor, was safe from the rapidly stretching tendrils of covfefe.
Several factors combined to speed the spread of covfefe across the 2017 meme landscape. As a word that means nothing, it can replace the punchline of any meme, no context required. The work involved is almost zero: Just pick a meme and covfefe it.
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) May 31, 2017
And because memes have become more template-based over time, dank #content creators were supremely prepared for a moment like this. The memes of 2017 tend to be multi-panel images with specific real-estate allocated for a punchline—think of Drake memes or the exploding brain, for example.
When Trump fell asleep with his phone in hand (or whatever happened to bring us “covfefe”) most of the work was already done. All the internet had to do was plug and play.
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.