To meme or not to meme: that is the question

In early April, a new internet icon, or “meme,” was born. From a video of him yodeling the song “Lovesick Blues” by Hank Williams at his local Walmart, small country boy Mason Ramsey rose to stardom. For more than a week, thousands of reposts of this video took over social media. Ramsey became so popular that Ellen Degeneres invited him onto her show, giving him a $15,000 college scholarship and a performance at the Grand Ole Opry later that week.
The organizers of Coachella also invited Ramsey to perform in front of an enormous crowd of people. Though Ramsey is talented, all of this fame came about from a video of him yodeling in Walmart, something so simple. The drastic rise in fame that happened so quickly is astounding.
You may be asking, “Have Americans lost their minds?” They’ll go for anything that’s entertaining, but this is ridiculous. This cycle of the internet discovering a new figure to “meme-ify” occurs constantly due to the support of youth culture and their obsession with social media, but the worst part is that adults are helping to fuel it.
Ellen’s show is only one example of how quickly netizens accept spontaneous fame, even if little talent existed to earn the fame, excluding Ramsey, whose yodeling talent is actually very impressive.
While Ramsey impressed the internet with his exceptional yodeling skills, there is a tendency in meme creation of choosing people with shallow or mediocre skills as the face of a new meme, which is where problems arise. Doing this only shows how ignorant Americans are. We easily drink up silly things such as having a meme-famous child on a talk show but fail to notice the actions worth recognizing.
For example, a young boy named Asean Johnson made a series of speeches fighting for the protection of public schools after Chicago public schools announced that they were planning on closing down almost 54 schools. He managed to save his elementary school from shutting down and has recently developed an interest in politics. Don’t think that’s impressive? Maybe the fact that Johnson is only nine years old will put things into perspective. Where’s his meme?
However, he is no Lil Tay, a nine year old girl who recently skyrocketed to fame when a video surfaced of her being present during a fight between rapper Bhad Bhabie and Instagram star Woah Vicky. Lil Tay has a reputation for repeatedly saying the n-word. Johnson gets little social media fame, but Lil Tay does?
The message that we are sending out about fame is concerning, that anyone can be famous as long as they entertain the internet. People need to understand that we don’t need more “Alexes from Target” or “Damn Daniels.” We need to stop exploiting entertainment and take notice of those who work hard for what they earn. We need to recognize the people, young or old, who are doing something important for society, not just making silly faces.
While Ramsey’s fame is far more well-deserved than most meme-famous people due to his skills that left the internet quaking, he has become a meme of the past. The internet remains on the search for a new viral video to memeify. Maybe the next meme will be someone like Johnson and not someone like Lil Tay.

Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper

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