Such Syntax, Much Meme: A Linguistic Analysis of Memes and Their Structural Syntax

Scumbag Steve

Meme Example



Scumbag Steve originates from a 2011 album cover from an amateur rap group called Beantown Mafia. The image in question is of one of the rap group members, Blake "Weezy B" Boston. The picture used in the meme template was taken by Blake's mother. The template gained traction quickly in the online community and quickly became one of the most well known memes to this day. The template is setup so that content creators can discuss unsophisticated behavior associated with people society tends to label as being 'scumbags'. The behavior described in the memes can range anywhere from being about a roomate who never washes their dishes to a friend stealing your significant other.


This template is a top-bottom formatted text. It is designed to be read from top to bottom in order for the logical flow of the content to make sense. A significant syntactic feature of this template is that, within our corpus, the subject is null. It is assumed of the viewers that they will infer that the content of the meme is about a hypothetical 'scumbag'. The result of this is that the first syntactic feature is a verb.