Why ‘Head Empty’ Memes Are Dominating 2020

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Against a backdrop of chaos that may solely be described as unfathomable, there exists a swath of memes that share a counterintuitive message: Don’t assume (:.

Tasked with processing a lot information, so rapidly, on such a excessive stage, the Very Online in our midst—those who medicate Twitter vertigo by scrolling TikTok, who blunt the inflow of heinous headlines with completely satisfied Instagram chemical compounds—are memeing about not processing something in any respect. Their brains are too clean. Their heads are too empty. It’s an aspirational peace of thoughts, like when a child plugs their ears mid-lecture to say, “la la la, I can’t hear you,” however actually, they nonetheless can; they’re simply making a press release about what they need.

By June of this yr, the jab-jab-uppercut of high-level happenings had stupefied lots of the of us perennially jacked in to feeds: the Australian wildfires, the pandemic, police brutality, the economic system’s collapse, hell, the homicide hornets. It was lots—greater than anybody particular person might course of, not to mention clarify. Across the net, on Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, or Tumblr, commenters complain they’re fed up with residing by means of historical past, that they’d please wish to decide out.

Throughout 2020, flowing below the cultural wreckage, has been a hypercurrent of memes reflecting this drained cultural id. Reject humanity return to monke. No ideas head empty. Smooth mind no weinkls. (In some iterations, “yuor brain” wherein “thinks! = sad!!” is in comparison with “my brain,” which resembles an raw hen breast but additionally “can’t think” and is subsequently “no sad.”) On TikTok, a lady recognized as It’s ya lady UwU coated Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” changing the booming synth with dazed “nee noo nee noo” sounds and the lyrics with “It’s the final brain cell.” Hundreds of TikTokkers used the audio for their very own clips, draping themselves with shapeless hoodies or blankets and expressionlessly bouncing up and down.

Photograph: Knowyourmeme

“It’s probably no accident this stuff is cropping up at a time when there’s nothing but complications out there,” says Ryan Milner, a professor of web tradition at College of Charleston and writer of 2017’s The World Made Meme. “We have to know who the acting undersecretary of transportation is at any given time. It makes sense we have humor that offers this appealing take on putting your head in the sand.”

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