Meme culture around our student politics is getting in the way of taking it seriously

Photo by Maxwell Gawlick / The Peak

Written by: Youeal Abera, Staff Writer

In 2018, millennials have found a primary method of communication on social media can be through recurring jokes.  Meme culture, the habit of conveying messages through captioned and/or edited images and jokes, is often a go-to method for articulating opinions online. Although this form of communication usually stems from a light-hearted foundation, it isn’t uncommon to come across a meme that pokes fun at a rather serious incident.

As many of you may know, on September 24 the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) will have their annual general meeting. At this particular meeting, in light of certain claims, it will be decided whether or not the current SFSS president will be impeached.

Under the given circumstances, the potential impeachment of the SFSS president stands as a fairly serious situation, one which should carry a particular level of seriousness, correct?

Well, it doesn’t seem to be so far.

In recent weeks, the popular online group SFU Dank Memes Gang has posted memes that make light of the possibility of the SFSS presidential impeachment. These memes have accumulated a fair number of likes, and have become a fairly common topic for the page in the past several weeks. One recent example from the page is an image of the president’s face photoshopped on top of a muscular cartoon figure. A caption underneath reads, “Better back the fuck up before you get smacked the fuck up.”

The Internet is a chaotic place. We are all well aware of this truth. Nevertheless, when it comes to issues of allegations and grave conflict, the constant flow of memes may have harmful consequences.

What needs to be vehemently considered is the degree to which individuals receive their news from meme pages. Believe it or not, some SFU students receive their news and information of what’s transpiring at school through SFU Dank Memes Gang. With such a light-hearted tone, it fails to provide a refined outlook of what’s truly occurring within the SFSS, which can greatly misrepresent things to students who are trying to learn and keep up with the situation.

This has already been a significant point of discussion throughout the recent political climate of the US. Proceeding 2016’s election of Donald Trump, the US has become inundated with a number of vexing presidential decisions. Consequently, many Americans have taken upon themselves the task of alleviating the severity of such political decisions with the manifestation of comedic memes and meme pages. By now we’ve all seen many depictions of Trump as a Cheeto, but it distracts from the greater issues by falling on jokes that get endlessly repeated.

Just like America’s comically charged political atmosphere, the creation or distribution of memes, that cover the claims and incidents of the SFSS may need to be reconsidered. Sure, these posts are intended to be innocuous and funny. But the content of SFU Dank Memes Gang is both belittling the ardent affairs of the SFSS, and raises a concern of meme-viewers failing to conceptualize the severity of such instances.

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