The Creator of This Is Fine Explains the Timelessness of His Meme
If you’ve ever seen the This Is Fine meme, chances are you know what to expect: someone sitting amid apparent chaos, proclaiming that everything is fine and dandy, despite all evidence to the contrary. The person may be surrounded by fire or floating alone in space; they might be on top of a skyscraper about to fall or sinking under the ocean; they might even be in outer space with the surface of Mars not too far away. Regardless of their location, their claim will be the same: This Is Fine . . . Except it isn’t! But it also kind of is!
Where did this meme come from?
This Is Fine creator Jon Cozart says that the vast majority of the original viewers of This Is Fine were primarily high school and college-aged kids. This group found meaning in the meme at a time when they were worried about how to explain their feelings to friends and family members after getting out of an anxiety-inducing social situation.
Another demographic that resonated with the meme is people in their twenties who graduated from college and felt alone after leaving friends behind or a social group they had been a part of for four years.
This Is Fine also had success among people living outside of the United States because it conveyed emotions like missing someone, wanting to speak out against injustice, or feeling afraid in one’s own country that might have been better understood by natives in those countries.
What does it mean?
At first glance, the white panel with a black background looks like a random screen capture of someone’s computer. But, as the creator points out, this is representative of something much more significant: All that white space and negative space is conveying my thoughts, emotions, and frustration with trying to convey them to other people.
This Is Fine is what it feels like when you’re sitting at your desk in your office job trying to figure out how you can afford rent or pay off your student loans while thinking about all the other aspects of life you want to experience.
Why is it so popular?
The This Is Fine meme does not portray a situation as funny or entertaining. It’s an illustration of the hardships of someone with depression, but it goes a step further and shows that all you need to do is keep going. Â Without showing the exact words, viewers have the freedom to project their understanding of the message on the image. Like all great memes, it’s easy to remix, which may be another contributing factor to its longevity.
Another quality of This Is Fine that has contributed to its popularity is that it can be easily read in any language by flipping words around or adding symbols where needed without losing meaning; Â This encourages people in other countries who might feel trapped because they are not confident in their English skills.
Where will this meme go from here?
The question of the meme’s longevity doesn’t matter much to its creator, and probably to most of the people who’ve seen it over the last year. To them, This Is Fine is not just a meme–it’s a reminder that everything will be okay, even if things are bleak.
What can be learned from it?
The creator of This Is Fine, KC Green, recently published a two-page strip in color rather than his typical black and white. What makes this strip so special is the contextual relevance of the beloved meme.
The meme took off in January 2017, when Green drew his character crushing a cookie in response to Trump’s inauguration. The meme itself is timeless in its relatability and ability to depict any type of anxiety. What makes it particularly brilliant, however, is that although it depicts something sad—the death of a beloved animal friend—it’s still funny.
Its absurdity is what makes it special, as depicted in one strip when Beanie gets hit by a car while chasing a butterfly and goes I’m okay! I just had a bad dream… #thisisfine. This iteration both pokes fun at relatable memes like Crying Michael Jordan and perfectly encapsulates Green’s sense of humor that has served him so well throughout his career.
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