Kenya

Meme lords, do make us laugh but please go slow on bad humour

Meme lords, do make us laugh but please go slow on bad humour

Memes thrive on ridiculing the other person often with stereotypical representations that are untrue.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

Remember the good old days when we used to meet in estate corners to cheer people as they ‘roasted’ each other with creative mchongoano (humorous jibes)?

I’m talking to the 90s babies, who can relate. Whenever I reminisce about this, nothing can wipe off the sheepish grin off my face. This culture has been kept alive by the “baby shark” generation through the use of memes.

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines a meme as an image, video or a piece of text that is passed very quickly from one internet user to another, often with slight changes that make it humorous.

Some memes are universal, structured in a way that almost everyone can relate to them. Others are local and niche—designed in a way that only a particular audience can understand.

Twisted humour

This new craft has proved to be beneficial to many unemployed youth since posting such content helps them build loyal audiences that they can monetise. Many are making a killing as advertisers, brand ambassadors and social media influencers.

Take the example of American Hip-hop artiste Lil Nas X, who first became a household name as a “meme lord” before venturing into music. The huge following he had attracted when he was sharing his memes helped his music become popular. Memes are also therapeutic, especially during this pandemic season.

Jokes on the lockdown, the curfew and other sanctions meant to curb infections have made pandemic hardships bearable. But some people take the jokes a bit too far. Remember the time two top politicians tested positive for Covid-19 and people started sharing memes about The Lee Funeral Home? It was macabre. Before choosing to post twisted humour, be sensitive to the feelings of the families of your subjects.

This is just one example of the many sick jokes that are out there. The regulators should stop this trend. Before you pick that tablet, phone or laptop and decide to become a “meme lord”, ensure that your jokes actually leave people with smiles on their faces and not with a bad taste in their mouths.

Tracy, 20, is a journalism student at KCA University. 

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