The Power of the Meme
A Unicorn’s Brief History
Regardless of the unicorn’s more humorous meaning now, it used to symbolize purity and royalty in the Middle Ages. Lords added the unicorn to their heraldic crests, found on shields and banners, to indicate their fierceness in battle. While the one-horned wonder used to face off against lions in European battles, it became somewhat obscure as a cultural symbol for hundreds of years. Lisa Frank’s artistic interpretations of neon and sparkling rainbow unicorns ignited popular demand for this creature again in the early 1980s. Movies like The Last Unicorn further pushed the animal back into our collective consciousness.
Harmless Humor or Dark Jokes?
The unicorn as a meme, in the form of funny unicorn images and videos, mainly flourished after the 2000 mark. It moved off of Lisa Frank book bags and onto the Internet in 2005 when animators create the Charlie the Unicorn series of flash animations. Now found on Youtube in five parts, this series is named after a white unicorn that goes through a series of misadventures caused by two other unicorns, one pink and the other purple. While the Charlie videos include some dark humor and weird scenes, most unicorn images spread today as memes offer more light-hearted humor and messages.
What Funny Unicorn Images Really Mean
Most unicorn memes are spawned as personal or inside jokes for a specific group of people. The image or text then spreads to a larger group, with the original meaning often changed or lost. Some popular sources for unicorn images include:
- Games like Robot Unicorn Attack
- Television shows like Happy Tree Friends
- Both the new and old versions of My Little Pony
In most cases, the unicorn joke only means whatever it says on the image. However, a meme involving a show like My Little Pony likely means a lot more than you think if you are unfamiliar with the media it is based on.
The Unicorn As a Political Power
Unicorns are not tied to a particular political party like the elephant or donkey, but some people still use them as symbols for activism and changes to the legal system. Due to the connections to rainbows, some unicorn images are part of gay pride or gay rights groups. But just because someone is posting funny unicorn images or wearing a mask of the creature does not mean they are trying to make a political statement.
If you want to know more about the unicorn meme, all you need to do is enter the phrase into a search engine to do your own research. You will find plenty of images and videos to get your own insight into the power of social media.