The 50 Greatest Internet Memes of 2011 Anything
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The 50 Greatest Internet Memes of 2011

The funniest memes of 2011 are more than pictures on an internet page; they're funny memes that have become pervasive in pop culture. A lot happened on the internet in 2011. Memes ruled the internet more than ever, and even started to crossover into the mainstream media. Rebecca Black became a superstar, advice animals dominated the world, Occupy Wall Street, Charlie Sheen, planking and scumbags invaded our eyes and ears. But what did you miss? Here are the fifty most popular, hilarious and memorable memes of the biggest meme year in internet history so far: 2011. Get ready for videos, pictures and links galore.

These are the most popular, best, most memorable and funniest internet memes of 2011. To catch up on the goings on of 2012, head over to the best memes of 2012. Check out Ranker's other popular meme lists like The Best of the Anti-Joke Chicken, the Sexiest Youtube Stars and 20 Pics That Prove You Have a Dirty Mind.

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  1. 36

    The Scarlett Johansson Leaked Nudes Meme

    This was a meme this year which blew up due to a huge, viral event. And that event was everyone (finally) getting to see Scarlett Johansson naked.

    This meme was disgusting. Why? Because it consisted primarily of dudes making jokes and using Twitter, Facebook and every other imaginable social network to let everyone know that they were pleasuring themselves to the leaked pictures which came out one early morning in late 2011.

    I mean, not a man in the world doesn't want to see Scarlett Johanssen naked, but do we really all have to let each other know that we're masturbating to these new leaked naked photos of her via social networks? This is the most the internet has ever instantly exploded over leaked nude pictures of a famous hot celebrity, and it was weird, awkward and creepy as hell.

    Here's a great round-up of The 35 Worst Internet Reactions to the Leaked Scarlett Johansson Nudes, in case you haven't been creeped out enough already.

    The GOOD part of this was the extremely NSFW meme that came out of it, where girls and fictional characters started "scarletjtohanssoning" in front of mirrors, showing off their naked backsides while facing the camera and looking into a mirror. Absolutely brilliant: (not safe for work Tumblr link here.

  2. 35

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Noses

    Basically what the name says. Noses (typically of celebrities) with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' masks over the tip. The images began on a Tumblr account of the same name, created on October 2nd, with a photo of a child with several drawing on his face, including the eponymous Ninja Turtle mask over his nose.

    The Original:

    The Aftermath:

    More examples here, here and here.

  3. 34

    Student and Teacher Macros

    A number of new "advice animal"-style memes appeared in 2011, all of them referencing the common, shared experiences of students. Some focused on stereotypes or typical behavior of fellow students, while others took direct aim at educations, critiquing the job performance or irritating habits of teachers. (Many of these refer back to themes common in all the "Scumbag Memes" discussed elsewhere on this list.) Here's just a sample of some of these student or teacher-based image macros:

    College Freshman

    Also known as "Uber Frosh," the College Freshman meme features a photo of an archetypal college student, listening to music on a mobile phone and wearing a backpack in a campus location. (The photo itself is a stock image of a University of New Hampshire student and can commonly be found accompanying articles on entering college or student health.) The captions poke fun at the naive and immature behavior commonly associated with students just entering college. (Check out Ranker's complete Guide to the College Freshman meme.)

    Sheltered College Freshman

    A sibling of the "College Freshman" meme, these images feature what appears to be a happy, smiling new female college student. The captions reflect and mock her lack of experience in the adult world, particularly as concerns sex and dating.

    Lazy College Senior

    This series is based on a stock photo called "Young Man Drinking Beer at Outdoor Pub." It functions like essentially the opposite of the College Freshman memes. Rather than innocent and excited about the prospect of starting school, these captions reflect the seen-it-all, burned out attitude of students preparing to graduate, typically described as "senioritis."

    Senior College Student

    Also known as the "Senior Freshman" meme, these photos show an older woman raising her hand to speak in some kind of college lecture. (The subject of the actual photo is a woman named Nola Ochs, who graduated from Fort Hays State University in 2007 at the age of 95.) The captions reflect a common critique of adults who return to college - essentially, that they like to interject during the lectures with anecdotes about their own life experiences. (Other variations imply that the woman is out-of-step with the times or not technologically savvy.)

    Art Student Owl

    The "Art Student Owl" meme functions both as a parody of haughty, pretentious art students and also a way for art students themselves to share their frustrations and common experiences. The photo features a sleepy-looking owl smoking a cigarette.

    Unhelpful High School Teacher

    An image of an enthusiastic teacher pointing at a map is combined with captions implying her lazy teaching methods in this meme, a pointed satire comparing the high expectations placed on students and the low expectations placed on their educators. Other entries work on the more basic level of a "scumbag teacher" meme, simply pointing out how unhelpful some teachers can be when they cease caring about their work. (A response to the "Unhelpful High School Teacher," the "Helpful High School Teacher," also appeared in 2011. But those were less funny.)

    Rasta Science Teacher

    Also known as the "Rasta Professor," the Rasta Science Teacher image features an image of a physics professor with dreadlocks, wearing a Rasta hat. There are two separate variations on jokes accompanying the photo. Initially, the joke was simply a combination of pot smoking and teaching science (such as "lighting a joint with a Bunsen Burner.") However, over time, the meme developed into yet another bait-and-switch joke, in which the initial caption made it sound like the subject was discussing Rasta culture or marijuana use, but the lower caption revealed he was still behaving as a typical science instructor.

  4. 33

    We're a Culture, Not a Costume

    This year for Halloween, the culturally diverse campus of Ohio University's "Students Teaching Against Racism" organization began a campaign to try and dissuade persons from dressing up for Halloween in cultural and ethnic cloting, claiming "We're a culture, not a costume."

    But of course, any time you try to tell someone something's not funny and the internet gets ahold of it, the parodies are bound to follow. And so, a great many photomanips came into being. All says "This is not who I am, and this is not okay" with the orange banner of "We're a culture, not a costume" spanning across the top. From N'avi and Vampires to cult following celebs. Here are the best takes on the meme:

    An awesome Ghostbusters one

    An awesome Face/Off one

  5. 32

    First Place Mullet

    The picture was originally posted on imgur by Reddit user SineadNZ in September, claiming "My husband is going to kill me for uploading this." The image is pressumably a picture of her husband, holding a trophy, wearing a tie-dye shirt and sporting the most awesome mullet a pre-teen could ever sport.

    The meme that followed mostly consisted of "mullet" puns and photomanips, adding the image of the boy, hist trophy and his mullet to famous images.


  6. 31

    Go the Fuck to Sleep

    In June of 2011, a parody of children's books called "Go the F**k to Sleep" was released early. (It was originally slated for October, but PDF copies of the book were already going viral via e-mail.) Written by Adam Mansbach, "Go the F**k to Sleep" is a poem about a parent wearily attempting - with no success - to put their kid to bed. The book itself was inspired by a Facebook post Mansbach had written:

    "Look out for my forthcoming children's book, 'Go the - to Sleep'."

    After friends reacted positively on Facebook, Mansbach started writing, soon bringing in his friend, Ricardo Cortes, as illustrator.

    Considering the profane and outrageous nature of the narrative, it seemed only a natural fit for Samuel L. Jackson to read the audio version of the story, which he did in August, in a clip that quickly made its way around the Internet.

    Other celebrity readings followed, including Werner Herzog reciting the book at the New York Public Library, and Kevin Pollak memorably doing an impression of Christopher Walken reading the story.

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