Why we need internet jokes and memes more than ever

Jacob Rees-Mogg in Commons Image copyright AFP

Politics has been full of drama this week and, as always, the internet has been full of memes.

But how closely are the two linked and what does that say about our mindsets, the internet and our society?

Yeah. We're tackling some big questions.

And, while we're at it, we might as well look at some funny pictures.

The week's biggest political meme came in the form of Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The Leader of the House of Commons was royally told off by other MPs for his posture during a Brexit debate.

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Media captionRees-Mogg told to "sit up man!"

It prompted mash-ups with everything from The Simpsons to 17th Century art.

"We're in a very complex political moment and we're trying to find where we fit in it and who's with us and who's not quite so much with us - to put it nicely," Dr Richard Clay tells Newsbeat.

He's a professor of Digital Cultures at Newcastle University and recently made a documentary about memes.

He says we use them to learn, to share - and to find out who's on our side.

"If you use The Simpsons, for example, some people are going to think it's really funny and get the reference to The Simpsons as well as to Rees-Mogg - and they're going to be part of your tribe.

"Whereas others are going to really resent it and see it as diminishing a member of parliament they regard as a great leader of the Brexit mission.

"Transforming an old master painting into a Jacob Rees-Mogg meme creates yet another tribe."

Of course, Jacob Rees-Mogg isn't the only part of what's been a frankly incredible week that has got attention online.

Many people have used the whole situation as their source material.

"You get an upsurge in meme production when people are particularly intense about their feelings and their thoughts about what's going on at the time," Richard adds.

"It's a kind of steam valve that releases the pressure and the tension and allows people to calm down. That's what satirical humour has always done.

"There's a really interesting, huge body of evidence that's being produced daily worldwide that gives us an insight into what's going on right now."

He says it's an "exciting" time because "pretty much anybody can leave a mark which future generations will be able to find".

"In 50 years time historians will be looking at the memes that were being produced during Brexit or the Trump campaign and they'll be using it as evidence to give us an insight into how people thought about these struggles at the time."

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