The History Of Memes Is Longer Than You'd Think

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N00bs of the world may think that memes are purely a creation of the Internet. But any seasoned vet knows that's far from the truth. The word itself was first coined by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene back in 1976, and the idea of a cultural unit that spread like wildfire is as old as communication itself. But our beloved series of tubes has made it all a lot more accessible and share-able — and it lets us look back on the history of these radar-blips in pop culture, commanding an entire archive of hilarity at our fingertips. Of course, there's a lot to be said. Volumes, in fact. But we condensed it down to the best of the best, from the OG moments you never knew were memes to the Interweb classics we know and love today.

Smirnoff_1Illustrated by Ben Wiseman and Ammiel Mendoza.

Photo manipulation is always fun, whether you're living in the Instagram age or enjoying the world's first Polaroid.
Smirnoff_2Illustrated by Ben Wiseman and Ammiel Mendoza.

People have been embarrassing (and occasionally injuring) themselves and their family members with these kind of group stunts since time immemorial.
Smirnoff_3Illustrated by Ben Wiseman and Ammiel Mendoza.

If there's one thing memes can teach us about humanity, it's that when it comes to dancing, we really love to ham it up.