A piece of modern history was discovered this weekend when a Twitter user unearthed and shared what may be Homo sapiens’ first ever meme. A user by the name of wida shared a photo of a comic strip from 1921 comparing “How you think you look when a flashlight is taken,” to “How you really look.” Flashlight is 20’s slang for photograph. Wida called it relatable and other users quickly pronounced it society’s first meme.
this comic strip from 1921 is really relatable to this day pic.twitter.com/DXCpl923Iy
— wida (@YoRHaw) April 15, 2018
This is so meme-like it's eerie
— brundolf (@brundolfsmith) April 16, 2018
IS THIS THE FIRST MEME? https://t.co/2j5IUChhn2
— HONY (@AnthonyGobeille) April 15, 2018
We’ve been making memes for over a hundred years. We just didn’t have the internet.
— Scott Pell (@svederik) April 15, 2018
Seeing as this is the internet and #FakeNews is everywhere, people were skeptical about the origins of this so called “1920s meme.” It wouldn’t be the first time we were fooled by the internet. Thankfully, our meme historian was right there with her sources. The comic strip is from the July 1921 issue of an old magazine called The Judge which was digitized on Google by the University of Iowa. The page of “College Wits” includes other comics and jokes that are still pretty relatable today. Looks like humans have always used humour to cope with their problems. People had some insights about this new revelation.
It’s from the Judge Magazine (July issue) !
— wida (@YoRHaw) April 15, 2018
Well they do say history repeats itself unless we learn from it. Perhaps this is a sign people
— Galaver (@Galaver1) April 16, 2018
A time traveler made this meme pic.twitter.com/uKWR29ZRef
— Michelle Sparrow 💀 (@fashiongirl89) April 16, 2018
Well they needed humour from somewhere in those dark inter-war years
— CallumE (@Callum_E17) April 16, 2018
Mostly, people were just excited for the opportunity to re-meme the earliest known meme. Because what else do you do when you come across an artifact such as this on the internet? There’s really no other option.
This probably just became a meme AGAIN.
— KentuckyWallChicken (@KentuckyWallC) April 16, 2018
— ✨Your MUSE✨ (@badgirlfriend9) April 15, 2018
— HystErica (@_HystErica) April 16, 2018
When your mom buys you a new shirt and tells you you look very handsome in it pic.twitter.com/BeCvzxtsy6
— Mime Choir (@MimeChoir) April 16, 2018
I found a 1904 illustration a bit like the Distracted Boyfriend meme, but that 1921 cartoon is spot-on perfect. pic.twitter.com/rZy0JAVXFC
— Pat Reid (@patreidmedia) April 16, 2018
We’re pretty much the same 😂😅🧐🤦🏻♀️ pic.twitter.com/kuyPiFlZaq
— Ingrid (@iManrik) April 16, 2018
Finally, the philosophers of the internet weighed in with their thoughts on what the human inclination to meme and make jokes about our misfortunes truly memes, er – means.
Humans evolve, but our humor stays the same. That’s comforting.
— champale mami ✨ (@smoochitworse) April 16, 2018
It shows us just how aware of ourselves we've always been. It actually feels good…it means whatever humanity knows or doesn't know about improving, we will never fail to laugh at ourselves 😆👍🏻.
— Oh (@Nottgonta) April 16, 2018
Keep it up, fellow humans. It looks like using humour as a coping mechanism is just in our nature. Let’s enjoy it.