The Best Memes of 2012

The year memes went mainstream and became a major force in social commentary.


"Eastwooding" became a thing this year following the legendary film star's appearance at the Republican National Convention in August.

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5. Killing Big Bird

See Big Bird get it here, here, and here.

"I like PBS. I love Big Bird. Actually, I like you, too," Romney said to debate moderator Jim Lehrer, the host of PBS's NewsHour. "But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for." Thus the "Kill Big Bird" meme was born, helped in no small part when President Obama joked about it in his stump speeches and even produced an ad urging voters to save the Sesame Street character.

6. Grumpy Cat

Examples can be found here, here, and here.

According to Bryan Bundesen, the owner of a cat named Tardar Sauce, the animal really is rather joyful. "She likes to be held, cuddled," he told a Columbus Dispatch reporter. This didn't stop the rest of the internet from ascribing the cat an ornery, cantankerous demeanor, one that hates Christmas, good cheer, and anything resembling fun.

7. Eastwooding

Get your chair on here and here.

Who knew? It turns out if you wander onto a national stage and conduct an incoherent, babbling argument with a chair, the internet will want to make fun of you for it! Thus Eastwooding was born, and thousands of Americans fanned out to pick fights with their own recliners, stools, and sofas.

8. Texts from Hillary

See who she's texting here, here, and here.

How do you know when your meme has gone mainstream? One indicator may be when the subject of your meme submits her own iteration of it. Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith launched the Texts From Hillary Tumblr after stumbling across a decidedly badass photo of the Secretary of State texting from a military jet. When the two dreamed up the idea in a bar one night they probably never would have predicted that one day Clinton's staff would reach out to the two with the message that the Secretary loved the site and wanted to meet them. Perhaps appropriately, she signed her own submission "Hillz"

9. Shit X Says

Listen to more shit here and here.

Though the original "Shit Girls Say" video actually debuted at the end of 2011, the meme continued to gain momentum into the new year. The meme, which has spawned thousands of videos, explores the cultural, ethnic, and gender stereotypes of different groups by offering up a litany of phrases that supposedly exemplify each group. In "Shit Hipsters Say," for instance, a hipster tells us "you've probably never heard of it," "Do you guys have a vegan menu?" and "Can I get a PBR?"

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  • Simon Owens is an assistant managing editor at U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. He can be reached at