For those of us that follow the “NYU Memes for Slightly Bankrupt Teens” meme page, President Andrew Hamilton is the butt of seemingly every joke. It’s hard to pick out what exactly makes him so easily meme-able, but things like his smile, demeanor and distinct British accent definitely play a role.
“His face has a button-like quality that just makes him good to use alongside any meme template” Tisch junior, and moderator for NYU Memes, John Stanley, said. “For example, the first thing I posted into NYUMFSBT was based around a trending, “one thicc bih” meme, and just seeing his face as one declares him a thicc bih is just ridiculous.”
Tandon junior Arystan Tatishev, who is also a moderator for NYUMFSBT, agreed.
“I mean, have you seen his face?” he said sarcastically, referring to a model-esque headshot. “Pure sex appeal.”
But there’s more to the joke than Hamilton’s adorable face — there’s a certain amount of celebrity that comes with being president of such a big university. Because many students won’t see or interact with Hamilton other than the Presidential Welcome or commencements, there is an air of mystery around him. But the truth is, Hamilton can be a pretty funny guy all on his own.
“I know I wasn’t expecting the British behemoth to hit us with Hamilton jokes at the [Presidential] Welcome,” Stanley said about his first-year commencement in 2017, where Hamilton cracked some original one-liners.
The wealth of memes about Hamilton’s position flirt with ideas of authority. So it’s no surprise when a photo of Hamilton photoshopped into a Tinder profile shows up on students’ newsfeeds.
“Of course, like it’s a whole celebrity thing,” Tatishev said. “I feel like by glorifying him, we kinda make it seem that he is unreachable, which is ironic as his job is to be connected to students.”
People seem to agree that the memes are how students interact with the president, whether it be pasting his face into memes or photoshopping him into an anime intro.
“He himself was a meme you could drop at anytime. My first year friends definitely kept saying things like, ‘Ello, ‘ello Class of 2020!’ at random times,” Stanley said.
The memes of course tend to stay on the lighter side of things. While some of them do contain controversial content, for the most part they avoid things like school policy and the financial aspect of the job.
“One thing that’s come up amongst the group of meme page admins is that he has his problems as an administrator, from student representation on administrative boards as well as the people on the boards themselves,” Stanley said.
However, Hamilton is generally received in a positive light by the student body. Perhaps more positively then some aspects of NYU would normally elicit. The memes are a way to blow off steam for many students.
“Its so fun to make fun of him while I’m in the middle of an existential crisis about all the debt I’m gonna be in after I graduate from this fine institution,” Gallatin sophomore Kaylee Lamarche said. “I mean it is the number-two most stressful school in the United States.”
It could be that Hamilton is just the perfect combination of important and wholesome for memes, but in the end, it’s hard not to take a little creative license with stock-photo headshots like his.
Email Elena Fox at [email protected]