Twitter Explained | To Meme or Not to Meme? Analyzing Reactions to the Washington Football Team

By | Jul 28, 2020

Everything is a meme these days. From Jeffery Epstein’s alleged suicide to iconic lines from Lord of the Rings, if it’s on the internet, it’s probably been memed. While some historians claim memes date back hundreds of years, the modern definition is accredited to British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. In his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins defined meme as a noun that “conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation.” Internet users hijacked the term, and “meme” has earned a place in today’s lexicon as the word for an image or bit of text depicting a specific concept or thought that is spread through social media. The meme mushrooms as it circulates through online platforms, often being altered or built upon to reflect the unique viewpoint of the creator and audience. Once it’s made its rounds, a meme may have taken on a completely different meaning from the original. 

To better understand how something becomes the subject of viral memes, simply analyze the recent Twitter reaction to the new Washington football team name, The Washington Football Team. 

The Washington Football Team memes began with simple jokes about the simplicity and blandness of the new name. 

And while all of these tweets have a slightly different format, they’re connected by a theme. And thus, a meme is born. 

But the thing about memes is, they never stick to their own territory. After a bit of time on the internet, they develop layers and absorb memed aspects of other cultural phenomena. 

Tweeters took bits from popular comedies such as The Office and Community, to poke fun at the overly neutral vibes given off by the Washington Football Team. 

One user took advantage of the new NFL name to revive the Clinton conspiracy known as the Clinton Body Count. The theory claims that Bill and Hillary Clinton have had dozens of their associates murdered. #ClintonBodyCount was a popular tag-along to claims that Jeffery Epstein didn’t kill himself, insinuating that the Clintons were involved in his death.

And some quick-on-their-feet tweeters were able to connect the team name with the latest news from President Donald Trump about his mental acuity.

But not everyone was memeing. There were more serious reactions to The Washington Football Team name debut. Some thought the lack of originality was a spiteful move against those who had advocated for the name change.


Others were #shook by the fact that Dan Snyder didn’t have a new name in his back pocket.

Some bemoaned the hyper-politically-correct era of today, blaming the unimaginative name on current social mores.

And one tweeter ignored the “it’s about time” praise that Snyder has received by claiming that the boring name was merely a capitalist ploy.

But whether you’re a memer or a serious tweeter, I think we can all agree that the new Washington football team name is just another element of these wild and unprecedented times.

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