PEPE THE FROG
Ask anyone under the age of 25 if they know who Pepe the frog is and they will probably pull out some variation of worn out, blurry frog man that has been put through more screenshots than his little pixels could take. This absolutely classic meme has been around since 2008 in the form of the
feelsgoodman and feelsbadman.jpgs. He underwent multiple iconic transformations and was used on every corner of the internet for years – he became a staple in every man’s meme stash. Collectors went crazy over the coveted ‘rare pepes’. Pepe paved the way for many other breakout frog memes such as dat boi and kermit. Tragically, after becoming a hate symbol, the alt-right made sure Pepe passed away without the dignity such a long standing meme veteran deserved.

HARAMBE
Born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, on May 27, 1999, Harambe’s life started out promising. Harambe was moved to Cincinnati Zoo in 2014 – if only we had known the consequences. Not even two years into his stay at his new home, Harambe was shot and killed after a misunderstanding with a 3-year-old child that had fallen into his enclosure. Harambe died two tragic deaths; the first when he was brutally murdered, and the second when the internet dragged his lifeless body through a montage increasingly unfunny tributes, finally gasping his last breath around September. Rest in Peace Harambe Please Never Come Back.

GABE THE DOG
Equipped with possibly the most annoying bark in the world, Gabe is the type of dog you’d want to strangle if he wasn’t so god damn adorable. Gabe’s ear-piercing bark was first uploaded as a video titled “the new dog source” on January 8th, 2013, and since then, has continually been edited into shitty meme remixes of terrible songs, just often enough for us to tolerate. Gabe flew low over the next few years, until his tragic death on January the 20th, 2017. The internet exploded into a frenzy of mourning tribute videos, and it was clear Gabe had become Harambe reincarnate. On this day, Gabe taught us a very important lesson – nobody cares unless you’re dead.

BONE APPLE TEA
One of the most popular memes of 2016, Bone Apple Tea, was based around the premise of captioning unappetising food with increasingly ridiculous bastardisations of “Bon Appetite”. The
meme was born after one twitter user unironically captioned their food with “Bone apple tea”, thinking it was the correct spelling of the phrase. We regret to say Bone Apple Tea did not make it
to 2017 – it was over when the meme came full circle and it started being funny to label food “Bon Appetite” again (as if it wasn’t pretentious enough in the beginning). The final nail was driven into the coffin when your 13-year-old cousin and that basic chick you met on tinder 6 months ago started captioning their food Instagram’s with ‘bone app the teeth’.

LEST WE FORGET: FOREVER ALONE GUY
Before Pepe the Frog or Feels Guy rose to fame, there was an equally gloomy meme making it’s way through custom desktop wallpapers and forum Avatars – Forever Alone guy. Characterised by it’s grotesquely misshapen potato face and thin streams of Microsoft-paint tears, Forever Alone Guy was used in a wide array of anger-inducing image macros – “Rage Comics”. Forever Alone was screenshot, copied and downloaded so many times you could see the individual pixels that made up his pathetically cratered face. We may look back at it with fondness, but this meme stands as a monument for every past, present and future meme that will make you wish it had left you “forever alone”.

JOHN CENA
STFU was a signature move made famous by WWE superstar John Cena. Recently the Wrestling legend himself had become an overused and over-appreciated internet phenomenon, much like his wrestling career. Now the only people screaming STFU are the neckbeard basement dwelling redditors who have the unfortunate luck of stumbling upon the lifeless remains of this dead meme. Never has a meme suffered such a swift defeat since Cena himself was crushed by Edge in 2006.

Words by Annelise Jansen

This article first appeared in print volume 88 edition 1 HEAT