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Argentina 2018 Recap: The Year in Memes

From the World Cup to the G20, the year was full of viral moments

By | [email protected] | December 26, 2018 7:12pm

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There are a lot of ways you can sum up the year in Argentina. You can go into an in-depth analysis of its political, economic and social events. You can put up a slideshow, showcasing the best pictures of the year. You can even do one of those televised gossip roundtables that Argentines seem to love, you know, the ones where ten people blab at the same time in the highest of decibels and only focus the discussion on gossip or chimentos. But let’s be honest, the best way to look back at 2018 is, hands down, with memes.

I mean, what would we be without memes in today’s day and age? How would we laugh, what would we repost on social media, how would we deal with all the hardship?

Face it. That’s you.

It was a pretty intense year in Argentina overall, with inflation, the abortion debate, the World Cup, the youth olympics, the G20 and lots and lots of drama. So we’ve decided to pick the top 12 memes of the year, one for every month. Enjoy!

Best Meme in January

A bit of context: So in January, Pope Francis (formerly known as Jose María Bergoglio from Flores) made his third trip to Latin America since being anointed Pope back in 2013. It also marked the third time he has left Argentina off of his itinerary when visiting the region, choosing in this case to visit Chile and Peru.

Why was this situation so memeable? And is “memeable” even a word? This one was a hard one for Argentines, specially given their historic feud with Chileans. The stage for this showdown had been set months before when Chile was left out of the 2018 World Cup and Argentines mocked them without mercy with stuff like this. The Chileans saw an opportunity to mock Argentina with this Pope trip thing and jumped on it to enact revenge.

And the Winner is:

What makes it so good: It plays with the stereotype that Argentines pretty much only go to Chile (at least they used to before the dollar exchange rate skyrocketed) to buy stuff because it was so much cheaper than in their country, specially tech. The meme brings home the point with a simple phrase that says “no Argentine can resist”, on top of an image of the Pope carrying a flat screen TV and Falabella bags on his popemobile.

Best Meme in February

A bit of context: On February 21st, union leader Hugo Moyano summoned a protest in Microcentro against Mauricio Macri’s government (welcome to the countdown, Mauricio. We’ll be seeing a lot of you in the next few lines). The thing was pretty massive, with estimates ranging from 85,000 to an overoptimistic 400,000 in attendance. Attendees were protesting the decrease of pensions for retirees, layoffs in both the public and private sectors and the lost of purchasing power. In the midst of all this, a bizarre hashtag emerged called #RayoPeronizador (which loosely translates into Peron Rays) and social media went ablaze.

And the winner is (Tie):

What makes it so good: The idea was so simple that it rocked. Through lasers coming out of his eyes, Juan Domingo Perón would seemingly transform anything into an Argentine version of itself. There was nothing the late president could not change with his magic, mutant glance. The two that we decided to choose are just too hilarious to ignore, with Wolverine (and his famous sideburns) morphing into Menem (and his famous sideburns) and Bruce Willis turning into Margarita Stolbizer (the similarity between these two is uncanny). But believe us when we say, there were A LOT of ideas to choose from.

Best Meme in March

A bit of context: March was a specially busy month memewise. We could have easily rewarded one of the memes from Argentina’s disheartening 6-1 loss to Spain or the announcement that the beloved Two Peso bill would soon be put to sleep. But President Macri’s “invisible growth” comment would take the crown that month. Speaking before Congress during his State of the Nation speech, he said that while Argentina had problems “a lot of what we had imagined would happen is now happening because we have the capacity to do it. The invisible growth has happened”. Invisible growth, or #CrecimientoInvisible obviously became a Trending Topic and users feasted on the giant pile of irony it brought.

And the winner is:

What makes it so good: This image posted by @rodolfoCeniz pretty much sums it all up. It was accompanied on Twitter by the following text: “It would be nice to live in Macriland, that science fiction country that Macri described in Congress: with Invisible Growth, where the worst has passes, the future is fiction and reality doesn’t exist”. This meme has everything: from Cambiemos balloons to flying Dollar bills and a damn rainbow. It even has a posse of Care Bears just chilling underneath the babyfaced sun from The Teletubbies. An absolutely gorgeous and creepy as hell creation that should be framed and hung in some sort of museum. Kudos.

Best Meme in April

A bit of context: File this under WTF. A group of police officers were summoned when more than 540 kilos of marihuana went missing from a warehouse in Pilar’s Judicial Department. Their response was nothing short of extraordinary: the rats ate the drugs. As you might imagine, Social Media went wild with this one, with one user summing it up as follows: “Haaa, not since my dog ate my homework had I seen anything like the rats ate 500 kilos of Marihuana.

And the winner is:

What makes it so good: Eameo is quite possibly the biggest provider of home grown (PUN!) memes in Argentina, having found the perfect balance between universal pop culture and Argentine references to strike a chord with its followers for years. One of the things that makes them so good is that they rarely give any context for their memes, expecting their fanbase to stay informed and to, more often than not, make the connection between the images and the news they were based on. In the case of this particular one, the biggest marihuana icon in the world sits next to the biggest rodent icon in the world, who appears with his eyes completely red… Enough said. All hail Eameo.

Best Meme in May

A bit of context: May will be remembered for one thing and one thing only: Macri’s decision to request a loan from the IMF. Those three letters combined (FMI in spanish) have been historically known to make Argentines queasy and nauseous, so it’s no surprise that people lost their collective minds minutes after the announcement and decided to vent their frustration the only way that people nowadays know how: through memeing the hell out of it.

And the winner is:

What makes it so good: Most of the memes surrounding this bit of news were rehashes of other memes, like this one  or this other one, which are both top notch to be honest. But we’ve decided to go in another direction and focus on this other gem that has pretty seamlessly photoshopped Macri’s face on Doc from Back to the Future and made a cunning joke about going back to the 2001 crisis. Not only does this meme take on a famous pop culture reference that we can all recognize, but it dishes out a bit of historic insight in the process… A meme with a lesson, if you will…

Best Meme in June

A bit of context: Russia 2018. That’s it.

And the winner is:

What makes it so good: With Diego Armando Maradona (AKA Mr. Excess on steroids), everything is so over the top that one meme just wasn’t enough to reflect his bonkers cornucopia of reactions during the Argentina Vs. Nigeria match in the World Cup, a true nail biter of a game that decided the Albiceleste’s qualification to the second round of the tournament. So we decided to go instead with a Youtube video that brings together all of the greatest memes that came out of Diego’s exorcism, from the ones placing him in Black Panther’s Wakanda, to him skydiving, riding a rollercoaster and even taking Freddy Mercury’s place in the cover of a Queen album. Diego’s worst really did bring out the best of Argentine creativity during that memorable day.

Best Meme in July

A bit of context: Russia 2018. Yes, again.

And the winner is:

What makes it so good: With Argentina’s elimination from the World Cup at the hands of France in the second round, you would think that the country’s focus would go back to other issues during the remaining weeks of the tournament. But if history has taught us anything is that football will someday replace oxygen as that thing you breathe down here in Argentina. And so it was no surprise when the bullying of eternal rivals Brazil and England  came around once both teams met their own untimely fates. Brazil’s elimination in particular made for some of the best memes during those days and none was as elaborate as the one up top, featuring Neymar crying on a stretcher (a common occurrence during the tourney) and a who’s who of football players carrying him on an overpopulated motorcycle, with none other than Messi and Ronaldo on driving duties. A true masterpiece of a meme.

Best Meme in August

A bit of context: Can you say “Dollar at 40 Pesos”?

And the winner is:

What makes it so good: We at The Bubble have covered the influence of the Simpsons on Argentine meme culture extensively in the past. To recap: it’s huge. So it’s really no surprise that when the dollar hit a conversion rate of 40 Pesos, it was a scene from Springfield that perfectly captured the moment with Benjamin Franklin (AKA the guy from the 100 Dollar bill) beating Julio Argentino Roca (AKA the guy from the 100 Peso bill before Evita took over) to the ground and leaving him senseless. The 100 Dollar bill beating the 100 Peso bill senseless… Got it right? Ok then, lets move on.

Honorable Mentions for July:

Best Meme in September

A bit of context: Maradona was named head coach of Dorados de Sinaloa during the first week of September and memes poured down on us all like one of those schizophrenic storms that sometimes hit Buenos Aires mercilessly. The guy is quite simply a meme magnet. In this case, the butt of the joke was pretty mean spirited: Maradona has a history with drugs, Sinaloa is (unfortunately) widely associated with its drug cartel, ERGO, Maradona accepted the job because he would be guaranteed drugs. Memes, as you can imagine aren’t in the business of being politically correct or particularly kind to those involved.

And the winner is:

What makes it so good: Well, the Scarface reference was a pretty easy one. But sometimes keeping it simple is the way to go.

Honorable Mention:

Best Meme in October

A bit of context: During the launch of a project called Plan Nacional Aprender Matemática (Learning Math National Plan), President Macri (hello again, Mauri) was caught on camera with an expression of… I want to say dismay? If there was one picture that managed to convey the collective mood of Argentines in 2018, this is definitely the one, a face so lost in thought that it might as well be added to the list of emojis on WhatsApp. The image by itself was strong enough to work as a joke, but leave it to the Internet to just take it and turn it into some true meme gems.

And the winner is:

What makes it so good: Well, for starters, the text reads “The first day of school / When you get your report card”. But what makes this meme truly stand out is the contrast between the two images, his smiling, almost joyful face on the left against his depressed “I’m thinking about ending my life in a couple of hours” look on the right. Bonus points for whoever took the time to find the picture of Macri smiling in a school desk from happier times long gone.

Best Meme in November

A bit of context: November was the busiest month of the year in social media, by far. Two events in particular made this a golden time span: the final of the Copa Libertadores between River and Boca and the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. For a while, both were actually intertwined when the violence surrounding the football match put into question the ability of Argentina to guarantee the safety of Trump, Putin and others. Allow me to shine a light on this sentiment with the following meme (The text in the book reads “I’d be crazy to go.”)

Or this other one that reads “Argentina, just act normal since the whole world is watching”:

But fortunately, the G20 did take place without any setbacks or any violence breaking out. And good thing that it did because it also brought us one of the greatest moments in recent Argentine history when Macri was left all alone on the G20 stage by Donald Trump in an awkward, cringeworthy episode that went viral in a matter of seconds. As with Macri’s picture in the classroom in October, there was no real need for this to be turned into a meme, given that it was so hilarious on its own. But, you know, the Internet is a tough neighborhood…

And the winner is:

What makes it so good: Whenever you can pull off blending a memeable moment with an already established and treasured meme, you’re bound to turn earn some points in my book. And that’s exactly what happened when some genius mind decided to take advantage of the Macri-Trump on stage debacle and seamlessly combine it with the confused Travolta, an iconic image that made its way to the pantheon of Internet memes a long time ago. The result is truly extraordinary and makes me want to meet its creator just to shake his hand and tell him I admire his work.

Best Meme in December

A bit of context: The year ended with a bang, when news that Hollywood actress and international sex symbol, Scarlett Johansson was in Buenos Aires. Even though days later she would be spotted and photographed in several of the best restaurants in town, the truth is that during her first days in town, this weird picture was apparently the only proof that the actress was among us. Nevertheless, that was enough for Argentines to go insane in Social Media.

And the winner is: 

What makes it so good: The year (a difficult one for Argentines) was finally coming to an end. The possibility of bumping into an A list movie star from Hollywood on your way to shopping at DIA in your pajamas was palpable and real. Anxiety started to kick in… Is she really here? Where the hell is she staying? What is she going to eat? Should I go out and buy some new clothes and cut my hair? So this meme played with that feeling and made fun of the whole thing (fyi: it reads “Mom, I’m breathing the same air as Scarlett Johansson.”)

A toast! To all the memes that made our lives much more bearable in 2018 and to those that will accompany us in 2019.

The world would be a much harder place without them around.