Ermahgerd! The Best Memes Of 2012 Are In

Every year has its moments — moments that will live on forever, as an icon of an era and a harbinger of the historical meaning of our times. Men on the moon, coding the human genome, the publication of Lolita...and a one solidly grumpy cat. In these trying times, it's impossible to be a citizen of the web without noticing the endless parade of viral jokes: Memes, as they shall henceforth be called. (Got a nice ring to it, no?)
These are the Internet memes that made our year, from secretaries of state sending you texts to art restoration disasters that left us laughing (and procrastinating) for hours on end. They might not be Hemingway or Shakespeare, but the millions of people who created these microcosms of popular web culture deserve a pat on the back for participating in an astounding phenomenon, the true effects of which will not be known for years. A few hundred tiny pixels on the Internet, one giant leap for mankind.
Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
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Dog Shaming
This trend began as a public medium of both humiliation and revenge for misbehaving dogs. Pet owners partake by photographing their guilty canines posing with a paper describing the scene of the crime. Woe is pup.

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What Should We Call Me
Reaction .GIFs have long been used to describe a strong emotion about a commonplace event, but this year the Tumblr-popular meme spawned an array of more specific blogs. The standout hit "What Should We Call Me: Fashion" was so big, for weeks you couldn't scroll through your Facebook feed without seeing at least ten of its signature .GIFs in your pals' statuses.

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Also sometimes referred to as "Gersberms," this series utilized a photo of a pre-teen holding up the popular '90s book series, Goosebumps. This young lady's utter excitement, mixed with those tricky ol' braces, inspired Internet users to run wild and create an entirely new language that will surely live on as one of humanity's greatest achievements.

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Grumpy Cat
This lil' gal is definitely an office favorite. The chronically unsatisfied cat, also known as Tard (short for Tardar Sauce), has meh'd her way into the hearts of anyone with a computer.

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Texts From Hillary
When then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was photographed checking her cellphone inside a military plane, wearing sunglasses and all, the Internet responded with joy. This photograph has since been used to document all of Hillary's text conversations with world leaders...conversations we so wish happened in real life.

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Overly Attached Girlfriend
Some people just feel really strongly about Justin Bieber, okay? Case in point: Overly Attached Girlfriend, a meme character inspired by a teen's very emphatic video parody of Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend," entitled "Girlfriend." Said teen (her name is Laina Morris) could have been creeped out by her own Internet fame, but instead she continued making funny videos for charity organizations. You go, girl(friend)!

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McKayla Is Not Impressed
Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney did not hide her emotions very well after receiving the silver medal. Her less-than-thrilled expression was worth a thousand memes, many of which feature the young athlete photoshopped into different scenarios. Be them exciting or unnerving, McKayla Maroney, much like Grumpy Cat, isn't having any of it.

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Stingray Photobomb
Why should dogs and cats hog all the Internet fame? This stingray is phat, single, and ready to mingle. The aquatic habitant simply wanted to enhance the quality of these ladies' trip to Stingray City in the Cayman Islands...though, they don't really seem into it. Hey baby, what's wrong?

Photo: Courtesy of Memebase.
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Botched Ecce Homo Painting
In a very strange parallel universe, a Spanish art restoration expert non-expert, Cecilia Gimenez, found her botched reconstruction of a century-old fresco to work quite nicely. The rather different painting of Jesus has since worked its way into countless other works of art, even inspiring a Saturday Night Live skit.

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Binders Full Of Women
Ah, the presidential debates. So far behind us now, yet still so hilarious. Mitt Romney served up some meme realness the second he used the infamous term.

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One Is Not Amused
McKayla Maroney wasn't the only one not enjoying the Olympic Games this year. Queen Elizabeth II's very disgruntled face at the Games is definitely a meme to remember.

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One Tiny Hand
You get the idea. Now let's use our tiny hand to wave goodbye to a very eventful year!

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