OPINION: Memes are now a coping method


Noah Merrell

Junior aerospace engineering student Shubhrojit Bhattacharya and freshman mechanical engineering student Irene De Giacomi laugh after reading the COVID-19 class suspension update.

Memes, according to the dictionary, are “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.” Memes are now the way we cope with disasters, crazy situations, and life in general. Sometimes they’re a little ill-willed, however, they do a great job of releasing some tension with a laugh.

We now have access to an overload of information. We receive more information in a day than people used to get in a year thanks to the internet and social media. While there are some great events happening that we now have access to, we also have access to the chaos that is going on in the world, everywhere and all the time. It’s exhausting.

The benefits of this rapid knowledge from the internet is that we can help, learn and be better informed individuals. The negative side is it can be rather depressing and overwhelming.

So how do we handle and decompress all the information we now have access to, the good and the bad? We use memes.

Memes turn a situation into something humorous. Now, every sad or unfortunate thing should not be turned into a meme. There’s topics that are too sensitive or just clearly wrong. However, most of the memes we see are over more controversial topics. One example is the political memes we saw during the past election. There’s not a clear right or wrong — even if you think there is — and this leads to some rather funny memes.

As someone who gets easily overwhelmed, memes help to create a less stressful take on everything.

For example, the quarantine memes were great. We had this situation of being stuck at home for a long period of time that not a lot of us were used to — even extroverts leave home once in a while — and memes came around to lighten the mood, and relieve some stress.

Even the recent past water crisis in Wichita had some memes and jokes. There were tweets telling people not to freak out over the contaminated water, saying it’s “just a little spicy.” While the water crisis was a big deal and affected a lot of people, humor has a way to lighten the mood and make our lives a little happier.

There’s the saying that “laughter is the best medicine,” and this is really one of the biggest benefits of memes.

We often take life so seriously, and I’m not saying it isn’t, but it’s easy to focus on the negative, and memes bring us back to the present with a good laugh. It’s okay to let go, laugh about a crazy situation, just as a way to cope with it. As much as we would like to, we can’t solve everything. The weight of carrying every disaster and world crisis on your shoulder is too much. Memes remind us that we can laugh, simply as a way to ease some of that burden.

Memes help to communicate emotions and feelings. They help people to feel connected to others with the same viewpoint, opinion, or humor.

There are memes that take things too far. But there’s also the memes that truly help us. Besides, a laugh a day keeps the crazy internet people at bay.