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Notre Dame meme page informs campus through comedy

| Monday, February 4, 2019

Currently sitting at 6,503 members, the Notre Lame Memes for Straight Edge Teens Facebook group is the spot for students to find “original content only, fire memes and true friends,” according to the group’s description.

Anyone with a valid @nd.edu email address may join the group and, once accepted, can post in the group.

Sophomore Ethan Sunshine, who has been a member of the group since his freshman year and has posted a few times, said the ability for all members to contribute gives the group an edge from sites such as Barstool and the Black Sheep.

“It’s good having anyone be able to contribute and then everyone can vote on ‘yes people see this’ or ‘no people don’t see this.’ If there is something people don’t want to see it gets put to the bottom pretty quickly versus on something like Barstool, it’s just a post in your feed,” Sunshine said. “Also, the Facebook page is not filtered by editors. For Barstool and Black Sheep and places like that, the editors have a certain image that they’re trying to maintain. The Facebook page really doesn’t filter, so if your content is marginally related like that’s still fine … I think it’s good that there are hundreds of people in the group who all have very different interests.”

Sophomore Elizabeth Zahorick said she enjoys the specificity to campus issues that the meme page has.

Many of the memes on the page center around the subjects of administrative decisions, campus events, sports results and other satirical takes on Notre Dame’s campus culture.

Sophomore Susan Peters said a good Notre Dame meme contains a universal theme or concept.

“Everyone kind of relates to it,” Peters said. “For example, the video in which Father Jenkins flies off the stage and into outer space. I think there is something there for everyone.”

Another quality that makes a meme great, Sunshine said, is if it gave you the ability to look at something on campus in a new light.

An example that Sunshine gave was a meme about mathematics graduate students smoking cigarettes outside of Hayes-Healy Hall.

”It was something that I never thought about before I saw that,“ Sunshine said.

The meme group allows students to keep informed on campus news through a comedic lens, Zahorick said.

“It’s a good way of spreading things that happen on campus,” Zahorick said. “People find out about things. A few people can know about something as it actually happened and then they sort of disseminate their experience through making a joke about it.”

Many of the memes on the page contain content related to administrative decisions, some of which criticize those decisions.

“Any satire is powerful … It’s creative expression,“ Peters said. ”The parts of it that are critical, I think that people should listen to.”

The Notre Lame Meme Page was created on Dec. 7, 2016. The page has had several names over the past few years including “Notre Lame Memes for Joseph Levano,” named after a student whose email to the entire student body became a popular meme in the fall of 2017.

Zahorick has posted in the Notre Lame Meme occasionally in the past.  One of her memes received around 1,200 likes and was included in the yearbook last year, Zahorick said.

Zahorick made a meme about residents of Carroll Hall having to walk to the dining hall during the polar vortex, and included information regarding the amount of time it would take. Zahorick said the information included in her meme was later mentioned to her.

“I was talking to someone later and she said, ‘Yeah, I heard it takes eight minutes to walk from Carroll to the dining hall’ … and then I realized she was citing my meme to me,” Zahorick said.

Zahoric said that most of her meme ideas just come to her.

“I’ll think, ‘Oh, this is funny.’ … And then I just start thinking about what’s the most concise way to convey that joke. Then I start trying to find the right image for it … I usually send it to a friend to see if it would be funny for the page,” Zahorick said. “To be honest, it’s always the ones that I don’t think are that funny that get the most likes.”

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