November has been a really fun month in terms of memes, but at times, it’s also been tense. Along with our usual templates that poke fun at the mad, the cute, the exciting and the outrageous, we’ve seen memes that have been utilised to stop people from forgetting something we should all be talking about.
Memes have been used this month to lash out at a whole generation that has regarded younger people and their culture with contempt for many years. Alongside the boys re-attempting an infamous November challenge, we’ve even seen a couple of older memes making a comeback, so November has had a bit of everything.
The month started off with a bang, with two huge bands from yesteryear announcing that they were getting back together. Emo stalwarts My Chemical Romance announced a reunion, followed closely by rap metal legends Rage Against the Machine. The excitement of these two very different bands getting back together, and the nostalgia the news induced in many people, sparked many memes, particularly in regard to the ages of each band’s fans (Figs. 1 &2).
After a major backlash from fans forced the creators of the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog film to go back to the drawing board with the design for the titular character, the new version of the world’s fastest hedgehog, which was much truer to the original design, sparked joy and relief, as well as, of course, memes. The favourable comparison with the first film incarnation of Sonic was utilised by plenty of memers (Figs. 3).
A week or two later, the new Star Wars TV show The Mandalorian was released, introducing us to a much younger version of a favourite character. “Baby Yoda” isn’t only absolutely adorable, he became a massive meme as the internet fell in love with him (Fig. 4) (it isn’t actually Yoda, as the show takes place after Return of the Jedi, but we’ll gloss over that).
A very familiar format of meme reared its head with a new face, this time a rather discombobulated version of Kung-Fu Panda (Fig.5).
Also, a slightly older meme experienced a hefty renaissance; Smudge the cat again felt the wrath of Taylor Armstrong as the “woman yelling at cat” meme returned (Fig.6).
With the No Nut November meme not quite taking off as much as was expected this year, another meme from a month or two ago that made a comeback of its own this month was “Epstein didn’t kill himself”. There is an element of seriousness to this meme; it’s been interpreted as the internet community’s attempt to avoid such an important event from being swept under the carpet by the media. Epstein was said to have dirt on some very powerful people, with some going as far as saying he had information about a major paedophile ring involving high-profile Americans. The highly suspicious nature of his death in his prison cell prompted the internet community to post “Epstein didn’t kill himself” EVERYWHERE (Fig.7).
Elsewhere, back in lighter territory, the end of November saw people stating what they would tell their kids. This would usually entail posting a picture and stating that they would tell their kids it’s something completely different (Fig.8).
Elsewhere, Elon Musk unveiled a brand-new Tesla truck, the unusual look of which inspired plenty of memes of its own (Fig.9).
Perhaps the meme that lasted the longest in November, and has arguably the most significant cultural impact, was the “OK Boomer” meme. Invented as a comeback insult to an older person, “OK Boomer” has in fact been a long time coming.
Millennials and members of Generation Z (sometimes referred to as zoomers) have felt members of older generations, particularly baby boomers, are condescending and disapproving of them. Reasons for this include, but aren’t limited to, reliance on the internet and phones, hypersensitivity (“snowflake” culture), and a lack of understanding of how much better quality of life is compared to when they were younger. “OK Boomer” is more than just a comeback insult; it’s a way for millennials and zoomers to dish a bit of the grief that they’ve been getting from older people right back to them. The “OK Boomer” line has found its way into many different existing memes (Figs. 10, 11 and 12).
The fact that its lasted for so much of the month, plus the significance it has with so many young people fed up with older people making them feel bad, is enough for Radar to name it November’s Meme of the Month.