For this memes assignment, I chose to create memes based on my Jewish identity. I am not a super religious person, however I love the cultural aspects of being Jewish. I considered creating memes based off of other identities such as being a sister or best friend, but in the end I decided to focus on Judaism. The Jewish population on this campus is much smaller than it is in other areas, so I wanted to select a topic that would be original from the identities my peers chose for this project.
I came up with the idea of using the “Bubbie” stereotype, because phrases that Jewish grandmothers say are well known within the Jewish community. Jewish grandmothers are very proud, and oftentimes very protective. Many of their protective traits come off as humorous, such as “marrying a rich man.” Grandparents just want what is best for their children and grandchildren. Another meme that holds true to the Bubbie stereotype is, “Don’t eat so much challah…you’ll miss out on dessert.” The grandma is telling the child to stop eating so he or she can eat more later. My grandma often does this; one minute she tells me to stop eating and the next she tells me I need to eat more.
Many aspects of the general Jewish culture are also referenced in the memes, not only a Jewish grandmother. The Torah is the holy book in Judaism, and if one is to drop it, they are supposed to fast for forty days. The meme “don’t drop the Torah, you’ll miss out on my kugle” is a humorous take on what would happen if a child dropped the Torah – he or she would not be able to eat grandma’s kugle, which is a delicious noodle pudding.
The idea for the format of the meme is based off of the “Socially Awkward Penguin.” Originally I was going to word my Bubbie-isms in the same format at the “Socially Awkward Penguin,” but instead I decided to just state specific quotes, because I felt they would be more powerful this way. I created all of the memes from scratch by illustrating the grandma image in Adobe Illustrator and transferring the image to Photoshop to make the final products. A friend of mine is very skilled at making her voice sound as if it has the accent of an elderly Jewish woman. I had her record her voice over the images of my memes so that non-Jewish viewers could pick up on some of the humor.
The ideal audience for my Bubbie-isms would definitely be other Jewish people, because they would be the ones who truly understand the messages exemplified. I determined the specific quotes I would use by talking to my mom and other Jewish friends. The quotes are stereotypical of a Jewish grandma or the Jewish culture in general, and they are meant to be very funny.
There are many Yiddish and Hebrew words referenced in several of the memes, and I would not expect someone who has never heard them before to understand the full context. For example, the word “Schvitzing” is a Yiddish word for sweating, and “challah” is Hebrew for a kind of special, braided bread eaten during the weekly holiday of Shabbat, the “day of rest.” Another reason I chose to have a friend record her voice over the memes is so that viewers who are not familiar with these words can hear the correct pronunciation, thus hopefully gain a better comprehension of the meme. My hope is that even if they do not understand the exact message or meaning of the joke, viewers will at least understand that the meme is supposed to have a humorous context.
Memes as a whole are an effective means to convey a message because they are passed through social networking. Whether the meme is designed purely for entertainment or to present a serious issue, they viewed by many. When the assignment was first introduced, I did not know exactly how I would complete it or what angle would be the most successful. The only previous knowledge I had of memes was from looking at them online. This project allowed me to delve deeper into why memes are created and the effects they can have on an audience.
After completing this project, little changed in how I actually utilize the Internet, but it did further enhance my understanding about the significance Internet postings can have. I found some memes to be very offensive, especially if they combined a sentimental issue with a humorous image. Different people find different things funny, so the variety of meme types on the Internet is infinite.
I definitely enjoyed this type of assignment better than just writing a typical paper. I am very skilled with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and this project allowed me to use those skills. When writing a paper, one can only portray their message through words. With memes, creative formats are what make them so interesting, and imagery combined with text is a very effective way to express a belief or message.