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The Lance

The student news site of Linganore High School

The Lance

The student news site of Linganore High School

The Lance


Generation Alpha’s meme humor perplexes older generations

Skibidi Toilet is a common example of a Generation Alpha meme created by Russian Youtuber Alexey Gerasimov who goes by alias “DaFuq Boom.”
Youtube streamer “Fanum” steals social media figure “Kai Cenat’s” cookies. This is known as “Fanum Tax”

Throughout human history, satire has been used as an effective tool to convey generational struggles and triumphs. When combined with imagery, these jokes create what is known as a meme.

In the last 50 years, with the advent of technology, these philosophical snippets have quickly become widespread and easily accessible to the masses. Over time, as each generation takes over the limelight, their memes become more prominent to the world wide web.

Generation Alpha is the newest generation to start gaining this traction in the social sphere. Memes like “Fanum Tax” (taking a percent of someone’s food) and the ‘Wise Tree” (depictions of a sentient tree giving bad advice) are seemingly convoluted and confusing to those of older generations.

Memes such as these draw a clear distinction between kids born between 2009 and 2010. Windsor Knolls 8th grader Ethan Block, a late Generation Z member born in 2009, is one such example of this phenomenon.

An image of a wise tree staring blankly, captioned "My reaction to that information"
Wise Tree reaction images were also used as a sarcastic response to a social media post. (Slavic)

“I don’t really understand Gen Alpha memes,” said Block. “They’re corny, hard to understand and probably carry no meaning.”

Another student who does not fit this generational divide theory is homeschooled sophomore Kevin Bomia, born in 2007. Bomia demonstrated a basic understanding of Generation Alpha’s convoluted meme culture.

“Generation Alpha’s memes reveal an interesting look in[to] their upbringing,” said Bomia. “In concept, it shows the internet’s effect on these kids’ childhoods, but it’s pretty hard to interpret [since it] like it’s from another universe.”

Linganore senior, Jacob Buczek digs deeper into the impact of the internet on Generation Alpha and believes that meme culture of the previous generation (Gen Z) is partially to blame for the nature of Generation Alpha’s memes and culture.

“Our memes [Gen Z] literally put Gen Alpha in the skibidi toilet,” said Buczek. “They [Generation Alpha] have actively made society worse, and we are to blame.”

Amongst these memes, Skibidi toilet has become a Generation Alpha icon. A skibidi toilet is a made-up creature made up of a toilet and the heads of characters from the 2004 video game Half Life 2. These toilets slide around city streets and shoot lasers out of their eyes with the goal of world domination. To prevent their takeover, there are humanoid characters comprised of speakers and tube tv sets with movie cameras for heads. Every few videos, the tides turn between these two factions. Each video of this popular meme receives upwards of 20 million views. 

Reinforcing the idea of generational meme culture, Business Insider states that each generation bases its meme culture off mocking its predecessor. One example is the comparison between Slenderman, a made up creature that harbored a transition between the Millennials and Gen Z, and Skibidi toilet. In a way, Business Insider is right about the Skibidi toilet being Gen A’s Slenderman. Both are seemingly meaningless and serve as a rite of passage for each generation’s handoff.

Millennial Cade Adams offered some insight pertaining to the meme culture shift between Generations Z and Alpha and its differences compared to Millennials’ transition to Generation Z. 

“Originally [Generation] Z’s memes were pretty similar to ours,” Adams said. “Alpha, on the other hand, randomly came out of left field and took over.”

For context, the transition from Generation Z to Generation Alpha meme culture was pretty abrupt. In May of 2023, there were seemingly normal memes such as the “Wise tree” or “Sigma male grindset.” Then, in June of the same year the tide changed with “Skibidi Toilet” 

Picture of Andrew Tate captioned "What color is your Toyota"
Sigma Male grind set memes often consist of a picture of Andrew Tate or a similar social media figure and a dumb quote or bad advice. (HIgfhdsgcfyfcdxsez)

For those not aware, Sigma male grindset is a meme parodying social media figure Andrew Tate. Tate is an alleged social media guru who runs Hustler’s University, a lifestyle course that promotes misogyny. Tate has since been discredited and essentially laughed off the internet as a result of these memes.

In a nutshell, Gen Alpha’s memes, like “Fanum Tax” and the infamous “Skibidi Toilet,” really flip the script on internet humor. Gen Z  has in essence passed the baton to Alpha, with some blaming  Generation Z meme culture.

While unconventional, these memes tell the story of how the internet shaped Alpha’s childhood. Whether people are left scratching their heads or giving Alpha a virtual high-five, these memes are a snapshot of the ever-evolving digital world.

So, here’s to the weird, wild ride of Gen Alpha’s memes – a crazy, chaotic chapter in the ongoing saga of online humor that is rewriting the rules of the game.

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  • Ethan BlockJan 22, 2024 at 12:04 pm

    Great article, Cole! I really liked the different details, especially that quote from Ethan Block, the 8th grader at Windsor Knolls.