The Point of the Harlem Shake

21 Feb 2013

Colin Horgan for Macleans:

The second important event was that the meme transcended an important boundary when someone (finally?) posted a clip of a washing machine “doing” the Harlem Shake … As far as things go on the internet, it was essentially perfect, effectively dialing the meme to whatever degree is always necessary for it to tilt from absurdity to eventual complete and total meaninglessness.

Even amidst the endless papers and books that I am reading for grad school, I still caught the Harlem Shake meme. It is, as far as ridiculous aspects of Internet culture go, pretty spectacular (particularly the video Colin mentions), but the rumblings I heard about “racial concerns” of the meme had me frustrated and wanting to articulate those frustrations. Instead of doing it myself, I had the pleasure of reading Colin clearly explain the self-referential McLuhan-esque nature of meme-culture: “the point of the meme is only the meme itself”.

Indeed.