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

Success Kid

Meme Example



The Success Kid meme, which is also known as the "I Hate Sandcastles" meme, originates from Flickr, a less popular photo source for memes. This photography was put up on Flickr by a photographer, Laney Griner, in 2007 who is actually the mother of the child in this picture. However, in 2011, the image started circulating as a meme with a similar style, yet polar-opposite meaning, to that of the Badluck Brian meme, by laying text over an image macro and desecribing a situation that went better than expected.


The general trend of this meme was very similar to what we expected to see: null subjects, or subject ellipses. While most of the Success Kid memes lacked in subjects, they did have very similar content to the Bad Luck Brian memes. The format for these memes were top and bottom text. The fragments on both the top and bottom of the image macros tend to be verb phrases, varying between past and future tense. The subject is, again, not important to the creator in order to communicate their ideas, therefore they chose to omit it. However, one can assume the subject to be literal (the baby in the image macro), the creator, or even the user themselves. It is interesting to see such a significant syntactic feature to be deemed unnecessary.