Dank memes

Ok, strap in. If dank as an adjective to describe a specific beer flavor or a general property of marijuana is pretty straightforward and easily grasped, then dank memes are quite the opposite. The simplest way to explain them is as internet in-jokes that do one or both of two things: 1. get so played out and tired that they become hilarious all over again, or; 2. are just so weird and nonsensical that they are hilarious.

Think of general usage dank here, basically as a synonym for “cool,” but delivered with an ironic eyeroll. As in, “Cool pants, Mom. Dank memes, Dad.” Don’t forget though, there is value in the very lameness of these, memes; that’s what makes them delightful. Dank memes are sort of like the ironic t-shirts of internet culture. But not nearly so benign. The concept surely began as chat-room slang somewhere, likely 4chan, but it seems to have gained traction on Reddit.

Dank memes are playing with the very shifting quality of the word “dank”. Is that thing your aunt posted on Facebook featuring a Minion complaining about work in some way a dank meme? Yes, probably. Are there also a lot of horrifyingly dark and racist Minions memes that were self-consciously created to be a dank meme? Yes, for certain. By calling something a dank meme are you making fun of someone who would describe something awesome as being dank? Yes, probably. Are you also making fun of someone who would genuinely enjoy said meme? Yes, probably, as well. Does this naming convention engage with the fact that dank went from being something unpleasant to the highest of praise, suggesting that all aesthetic judgments are not just subjective, but strongly influenced by social groups and forces, as well? Yes, probably—if not definitively.

Correct usage: I’m not even going to wade in here because truly, a dank meme is in the eye of the beholder.

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