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Top 10: Memes of 2018, #3: American Chopper

In this top 10, our writer breaks down their favourite memes that came out of 2018. Pray for them and their sanity.


Never has there been a more perfect meme for the big-brained intellectuals among us.

I watched a lot of American Chopper as a wee lad, and I can recall vague moments that I think come from the scene that birthed the meme. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought it would turn into the .jpg equivalent of an intellectual forum, a French salon in the seventeenth century, a PHIL 101 classroom.

It’s incredible how two sides of any debate, whether it be on the virtues of nudity in film or whether or not Kylo Ren is a complex villain, can be easily compared and contrasted using this meme. As long as the person making the meme is intellectually honest, you can practically summarize decades of debate around an issue into five panels. Why do academic research when you can just pull up a quick meme as a source?

I want to ask the philosophers here a quick question: does this format not harken back to Plato’s dialogues? The Hegelian dialectic? Within the meme, we’re getting a position, its opposite, and we’re putting them into meaningful conversation. By the end of the meme, something is produced, whether that be a better understanding of both sides’ best arguments or a wholly new position that is bigger than the sum of the ones that came before it.

Is it not cool to see some of these things just condensed into such a simple form?!

In a world that’s running rampant with hostile dialogue, intellectual dishonesty, and a refusal to understand the other side — regardless if you agree with it or not — we need more memes like this. It can serve both as a model for honest and rigorous examination of a debate, as well as a quick and effective way of disseminating information.

And I mean, it’s also just a meme. It shouldn’t be used solely for serious political debates. Be silly with it too. I’m just still blown away by how perfectly this meme, of American Chopper of all things, is able to do what it does.

Andrew McWhinney

Andrew McWhinney is a fifth-year English and political science combined honors student, as well as The Gateway's 2019-20 Editor-in-Chief. He was previously The Gateway's 2018-19 Opinion Editor. An aspiring journalist with too many opinions, he's a big fan of political theory, hip-hop, and being alive.

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