As the year 2020 draws to a close (and the skeletal apocalyptic doomsday horse it rode in on!), our current global pandemic situation has left a lot more of us at home, doomscrolling on the phone. Consequently, memes have defined culture more than any year previously. Which gives us a fly idea: Why not do a list of items with memes from the Internet? Might as well have these leak into the real world, and at the same time memes are from geek culture anyway.
We’re also going to keep exploring until we find the number-one, definitive meme to sum up 2020! See who comes up with these frisky inspirations? GeekyDomain, that’s who!
Die Hard Movie Vent Duct Custom Christmas Nakatomi Plaza Ornament
We all know Die Hard (1988), the classic ’80s Bruce Willis action film, is the canonical Christmas movie of the Internet, replacing dull holiday fare like It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story. And well it should! It has humor, guns, Hans Gruber tumbling off Nakatomi Plaza, and Bruce Willis as John McClane, who is just too macho to be hassled by a pack of nasally accented terrorists. Get Bruce in a vent duct on your Christmas tree, for an ornament that will remind you that crazy times don’t last – but crazy people do!
What else could be the theme of 2020 but conspiracy theories? From COVID-19 to a whole entire general election, nobody was ready to accept the surface information this year. So who better for a mascot than the History Channel’s own Ancient Aliens professor, who explains everything from pyramids to Mayan calendars with one word: “aliens”? Honestly, if we did confirm alien visitors, things would make more sense this year. By the way, for those of you complaining about how the History Channel went downhill, I used to watch the channel back when it stuck to actual history. You know who else watched it with me? Absolutely no one!
See, this is how we know 2020 has such sloppy writers, leaving dangling plot threads all over. What happened to the murder hornets? That one was announced somewhere between the #BLM George Floyd riots and California’s wildfires. We did get an actual murder hornet invasion, but they proved to be anti-climatic. Nevertheless, the timing of the first news break right in between everything else was just so sublime, it codified the notion that we would need a disaster bingo card to keep track of this year. Now you can own your own murder hornet replica, a totem to thank the volcano gods for sparing us from at least this plague.
Somehow, even without having a hit movie out this year, Leonardo DiCaprio took over Internet memes this year. There’s something about the movies he plays in, that suit themselves to memes for every occasion. If he isn’t pointing “I know this one” in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, he’s “king of the world” at the bow of the Titanic. Here he’s a cackling, despicable villain in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, as the Southern plantation owner of the blood-curdling “Candyland.” Let his wicked laugh be the punctuation to your every dad-joke!
Whatever would geek culture do without Keanu? There would be no Matrix, no A Scanner Darkly, no Johnny Mnemonic, no Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and no Cyberpunk 2077! The “sad Keanu” meme doesn’t come from any movie, but is Keanu in his natural habitat eating lunch on a park bench and pretty much minding his own business. He just happened to be captured in a pose suggesting sullen contemplation. But who cares? Ladies, you have a Keanu Reeves pillow to snuggle with on the couch! Don’t tell us what else you do with it.
This versatile 5-piece set lets you express a meme for every occasion from the cartoon meme-master himself, Spongebob Squarepants. He’s just so expressive, you can’t make it through an episode without finding at least one useful freeze-frame. With over two decades of episodes to mine for Internet gold for years to come, you better get used to him, because he’s not going anywhere fast. Right, Imma head out…
Some memes transcend ephemeral Internet fame to sprawl across generations, because they are made out of Zen and wisdom. Socially Awkward Penguin needs no introduction – indeed, no text, though the mug can be customized with your message. This is one of the few surviving memes from the “Advice Animal” era (back when they were called “image macros“), when all the memes had these square starburst patterns behind them. Socially Awkward Penguin can put your co-workers on notice that you’re not exactly the chatty type, and anything you do say can and will be awkward.
Of course, how could the 2020 spokesmeme be anything but the classic cartoon dog engulfed in flames while placidly denying his imminent reality? The defining factor in just about every problem we had this year is that they were all either caused by or aggravated by denial. COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, climate disasters, imploding economy, lame-duck government: every single problem was right under our noses the whole time. We could have pulled together to make this a better world and not have been in half the mess we’re in right now. But nooooooo!
I dunno why this never took off, but once when I was feeling how much month I had at the end of the money (early in my freelance days), I tried to create my own “Advice Animal” meme template. It was “Poverty Possum.” It was meant for people to post and identify with being dirt poor, and the struggles you have to undertake to get by. Christmas shopping at Dollar Tree, camping at a soda fountain to abuse the free refill policy, furniture hunting on Craigslist “free” section, that sort of thing.
With some ten to fifteen percent of Americans living at the poverty line, demand for stimulus checks, skyrocketing unemployment, outrageous student loan debt, why not? You would think there would be a market for a meme about poverty, but this never took off.