WHAT WAS THE FIRST MEME?

History Revealed - - Q & A -

Be­fore Suc­cess Kid, LOL­cats and Con­de­scend­ing Wonka – be­fore the in­ter­net even – the im­age now cred­ited as the first meme went vi­ral. Pub­lished in a 1921 edi­tion of satir­i­cal mag Judge, (taken from stu­dent pub­li­ca­tion The Wis­con­sin Oc­to­pus) it is a cartoon show­ing two im­ages. One is what a man thinks he looks like when a photo is taken, all dap­per and smart, while the other is what he ac­tu­ally looks like, a goofy look­ing boy. It’s the orig­i­nal Ex­pec­ta­tion ver­sus Re­al­ity.

A sim­i­larly themed comic ap­peared in an ear­lier edi­tion of The Oc­to­pus, so surely that’s the first meme? Well, a meme has to be spread and de­vel­oped, so in our book this one gets the rul­ing.

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