On the Origins of “The Worst Trade Deal” #Meme

There hasn’t been an instance where I refer to a meme and I’m left with blank stares; everyone knows their memes! However, ask any (student) to define a meme, and blank stares will follow.

It’s almost too general of a word, a meme ranges from cat pictures with text to cartoons of Obama. Surprisingly, it was Richard Dawkins who coined the word, but loosely stated, it is defined as:

An idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.

In the modern, internet age, engaging in meme culture is essentially a way to socialise with a person, or a group of people, by sending a relatable image. For example, if you see a video of someone doing a backflip, you’d send them the “Not Bad” Obama meme, to show you are impressed.

Source: Imgur

One of the first memes were rage comics, childish comics with basic, monochromatic line drawings.

We’ve moved a long way. Now, we have photographs with text, adding a more personal dimension to the meme culture.

One of my favourite memes, is by no other than the President, Mr. Donald J. Trump.

Source: knowyourmeme.com

Let’s put this on context. During the first presidential debate on September 16, 2016 hosted by NBC, a discussion regarding NAFTA came up. It’s the trade deal to remove barriers between Canada, USA, and Mexico. Mr. Trump wasn’t too fond of it, so he criticised it by saying:

[NAFTA is] the worst trade deal maybe ever signed, anywhere.
Source: Knowyourmeme

Combined with his enthusiasm and hand gestures, @dabmoms took the opportunity to screenshot, add a caption, and post it on Twitter. The popularity hit when others engaged in meme culture, by adding their scenarios that pertain the given meme.

Instagram and Reddit picked it up, and now it’s a meme. Who would have thought that Dr. Richard Dawkins, who seriously used the word meme, had his ideas converted to a means of mockery to the president.

Sad reacts only… Source: Knowyourmeme

It should be noted, however, that Mr. Trump never said “This has been the worst trade deal in the history of trade deals, maybe ever”. A quick search for the video shows that he said a similar line, however, as a form of mockery, poor grammar was introduced to the mix.

In case anyone was wondering, the title of this post, beginning with “On the Origin of…” is a tribute to Charles Darwin’s On the Origins of Species, which is a book that Dawkins refers to on multiple occasions during his debates.

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