As Far As Memes Go, The “Harlem Shake” Is A Pretty Good One

By Gabe Delahaye / February 13, 2013

On All Things Considered yesterday, they had a story about Minnesota congressman Rick Nolan, who served a couple of terms in the 70s and 80s, and then left office, and has now been re-elected to the house of representatives, 33 years later. It’s interesting! Like, he maintains his seniority despite having been out of the loop for so long, and has a nice office. He’s like a character in House of Cards! Towards the end of the radio piece, Mr. Nolan describes an experience from his original time in office in which he’s concerned about a particular vote going against the White House, and representative John Dingell from Michigan calms him down by explaining that presidents come and go but they as members of congress will outlast them all, to which Nolan then points out that 33 years later, after multiple presidents, Dingell is still there. That’s kind of how I feel about memes. Fuck them. They’ll be gone tomorrow and we will still be standing here. But I have to admit that as far as memes go, this week’s meme, the “Harlem Shake,” is pretty good. You can read the history of the “Harlem Shake” here because I refuse to recount it again. The history of a fucking meme? Are you out of your mind? I’d rather watch the Courtney Stodden video again. But basically, all iterations of the meme include the same 30-second reggaeton sound clip. Usually, someone is dancing to the song in a helmet while someone else is not paying attention, and then about halfway through there is a jump cut and everyone is dancing. Here are a bunch of examples:

See? It’s not a bad meme! Here is why I think this meme works:

1. It is blessedly short.
2. The music is fine.
3. Everyone loves dancing.
4. The people in the videos are clearly having fun making them.
5. Most memes involve multiple people making terrible variations on something that wasn’t very good to begin with, but in this instance, even the worst “Harlem Shake” is still just people having fun and dancing for 30 seconds, which is great.

So there you go, guys. POWERFUL STUFF. I’ve really broken it down for you. No thanks necessary. This is my job.