Here’s Where Memes Go When the Dank Wears Off

From ‘Charlie Bit My Finger,’ to 'OMG Shoes.'

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Aug 15 2017, 7:14pm

Image: imgflip.com / Composition: Louise Matsakis

The internet is getting old, folks. I was astonished to learn recently that Grumpy Cat, the forever-frowning pet beloved by the internet, is nearly five years old. That meme seemed to last forever, and it's strange to think it surfaced before President Obama had even won a second term. I didn't even have an Instagram back then.

Thankfully, there's a place where you can revisit Grumpy Cat, along with every other shitty meme from the internet's long, garbage-filled past. Welcome to r/antiquememes, a small subreddit (there are around 3,000 subscribers) that serves as a place for reposting the memes you once sent to your friends with glee, but now cringe at.

Scrolling through the forum makes me feel confused about the internet's relationship with time. For example, one of the current top posts is the classic meme "Charlie Bit My Finger." Upsettingly, I discovered that it's a whopping ten years old. Sometimes a viral video enters into the permanent record of our culture, and it really dies.

Other memes on the subreddit, like Courage Wolf and OMG Shoes, I had forgotten about entirely. Looking at them now proves how much internet aesthetics have changed. The memes of the past feel grungier, more pixilated. Now, we have futuristic, surreal memes. Back then, in the heyday of Internet Ugly, the humor was more straightforward.

The top posts on r/antiquememes are the meta ones—they use a meme to poke fun at the fact that it itself has become vintage. Those posts are indicative of the real point of the subreddit: to marvel at how strange it is that online humor we once found so funny feels so, so dumb now.