St Andreans like to think we’re at a top university. I thought the same, until recently. But, as with so many of rude awakenings that characterised 2016, the last few months have proved me wrong. St Andrews is not a top university. It is a reprobate, godforsaken stain on North East Fife.
I refer, of course, to our lack of a meme page.
Sure, there are meme-pages run by St Andreans, from St Memedrews to Memes are rife in right wing Fife [sic]. But whereas other universities have pages with thousands of Facebook likes and near-constant updates, one of the most popular meme pages in The Bubble, Doggos of St Andrews, has just over 600. Now, arguably I’m being unduly harsh on people operating a small university, but remember that The University of Memechester managed to gain over five thousand in five days, while The Memeing Spires of Oxford managed equally impressive growth, even while facing competition from rival page Oxmeme. Why can’t a St Andrews memer manage the same?
At this point in the article you’re probably thinking that this is all irrelevant, and that I should get a life. Correct on the second count, but not the first. Memes are powerful. Pepe helped Donald Trump into the White House, while Joebama soothed liberal America’s broken hearts post-Trumpocalypse. Researching this article, I messaged numerous University meme pages, from Memebridge to the University of Abermeme, and the main thing that struck me (other than Royal Hollomene’s unsolicited advice that I should “for God’s sake, lay off the heroin”) was their ability to bring their fellow students together. I have friends whose entire relationships seem to consist of tagging each other in memes, but this goes deeper than that. A meme page that can find humour in experiences familiar to all students at a particular University can create a sense of community, of identity.
Why does The Bubble lack this shared lexicon of laughter? Nothing good, according to St Andrean meme fans. One anonymous party, someone so immersed in memeology that both his Facebook profile picture and cover photo are memes, claimed that “a lot of uni memes are based around beefing with other unis, and St Andrews has no real uni enemies… We’re securely number one in Scotland, and we don’t claim to be Oxbridge (unlike Durham).”
There could be truth in this. Aside from annually hammering Edinburgh at rugby, St Andrews tends to keep itself aloof from inter-varsity rivalries. There’s a reason we call ourselves “The Bubble”, after all. Does our lack of a meme page to take the piss out of our rivals show a complacent unwillingness to get involved in the rough but rewarding sport of university rivalry?
Possibly. And our weak meme scene is emblematic of other problems too. The admin of St Memedrews blames the diversity of the St Andrews student body for our lack of memes, which raises another important issue. Are we St Andreans too divided by our interests to have a common identity? Maybe that’s a touch overdramatic, but I can’t be the only one to have ever felt uncomfortable about The Bubble’s cliqueiness.
So, in 2017, let’s say no to exclusivity and yes to memes. We have a wealth of shared institutions, from Dervish to DONT WALK, to celebrate and mock. We have a unique identity that can be asserted through humour. Like St Andrean meme pages on Facebook. Support them with your dankest, spiciest submissions about life in The Bubble.
Let’s make St Andrews funny again.