MEMES IS WANT CHEEZBURGER NOW DAWG? Nope, Just Chuck Testa. - Social Media Week on BTR

ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS BTR Editorial

Following the irreverent code of the meme-generator, this article will be written in a style that mocks a trollish article published on Slate.com in 2008. The aforementioned piece attempts to encourage writers to condescend to their readers by formatting their articles to look like children’s books and infographics. Basically, the meme response to said piece is:

Ok let’s do this…Lerooyyyyyyyyyy Jennnnnnkinnnnnnnssssss!!!

Like any dedicated World of Warcraft or MMORPG player worth his weight in cheesy puffs and in-game logged hours, Internet memes live fast and die young. Sorry for violating your “no puns” rule, Mr. Aggers, but that one was too fitting.

Memes are ephemeral, anonymous, and detached, and they do not bend to indoctrination like the religious memes Richard Dawkins discussed in The Selfish Gene; they are not the body of Christ, they are not the yarmulke, they neither hold spiritual significance nor do they invoke obedience and loyalty to anything but absurdity and irreverence.

Comparing them to genetic codes like Dawkins did to those more socially powerful memes is to misinterpret their lunacy; Internet memes discredit extremes and phish for the self-righteous, and in so doing they admonish the opinionator and the social commentator for deigning to lend sincerity to anything on the Internet. Liken them to the shibboleth of the Internet and risk taking the web too seriously, but it’s the closest to historical analogy we can get.

Like an infectious catchphrase, a powerful song hook, or an indelible film sequence, the Internet meme certainly has the potential for real life application, but in the end it prefers to stay indoors where no one will judge it for being too socially awkward.

IRL (in real life) situations for which “Leroy Jenkins” may be applied

  • Leaving a room suddenly because of extreme boredom/distaste for company
  • Getting friends in-the-know riled up for almost anything, but hopefully drinking and not attacking people with battle axes
  • Funerals

Look how much easier writing is now; I can just toss out lists and it makes my thoughts appear logically organized

Still images with snappy text is the model meme, because videos require patience. Animated gifs are arguable the perfect medium; they can be just about anything so long as there’s more than one frame, and so long as the animation repeats itself ad infinitum to achieve that hypnotic looping effect that makes everything funnier. There are several uses for gifs that can be applied all around the web:

1)   Trolling

2)   Lulz-inspiring wisecrack

3)   Stock response to OP’s (original poster) contribution

4)   Humiliation

Just leave Britney alone, and no one gets hurt by Zangief kid.

Viral video memes like Chris Crocker’s Britney defense and Zangief Kid’s revenge of the bullied which have had widespread appeal in mass media outlets only further highlight how out of touch mass media outlets are with meme culture. Australian TV attempted to pick up the Zangief kid story as a piece of journalism, but failed when they let viral-gone-popstar Justin Bieber meet the kid. The reporter asked Bieber if he had ever been bullied, and he said yes, he was bullied because he excelled at sports and was really popular.

U mad bro? I told you, I’m never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down –

I’m never gonna say goodbye –

And hurt you.

Suckers. You got Rickrolled – in text form no less – and now you lost the game.

Though it would be more fun to continue harassing you with a slew of Internet memes that may in fact mean nothing to you if you are as nubile a netizen as my condescending tone implies, it would greatly improve the potential of this article to move on so that you remain interested in my impending ideas, which are revolutionary (totally not spamming you).

Yo dawg, for lack of a better transition, I’ll put a transition in my transition so I can smoothly move on to a new idea while smoothly moving onto a new idea. But srsly, enough of my pathetic attempt to sound like a real 4channer with an actual command of meme-speak/memeglish and onto a pedestrian description of internet meme origin:

A meme begins in various places; usually a cat, sometimes a recognizable celebrity like Nic Cage, other times a politician or a clip from a weird anime movie. Most of the time they have nothing to say about our world, but every now and then they offer a little glimpse into the way Internet chaos culture collides with our seemingly organized real lives. Been awhile since I’ve changed my font style…you scared?

About a week ago, nude photos of Scarlett Johansson posing in front of a bathroom mirror surfaced online. As if we haven’t had enough of this trope lately, it continues to bring up matters of privacy and the problem of self-identifying on a webiverse that thrives on anonymity and community creations/crowdsourcing rather than independent thought.

Back to what I’m supposed to be writing: Now that the initial stage of meme establishment is complete (Johanssoning – NSFW), it must move onto its incorporation into the rest of the meme world, such as the perennial meme of longcat, otherwise it dies out and sits in the trend drawer (not as pervasive and timeless as a meme).

I’ll leave it up to those more adept at Photoshop to create and disseminate that one, but I won’t deny that I tried for at least a whole day of work to make this myself. Longcats arms are…too long. Besides, creating a meme with the intention of creating a meme is the number one no-no in meme generation, and it is for that that this article FAILs.

So you’re the man now, dawg? Remember, with power comes great responsibility, and btw, don’t tase me, bro.

1)   As per the instruction of the troll article by Mr. Agger (no disrespect, sir, but the piece is by definition trolling), the most boring part should come at the end.

2)    Now that you know how boring this last part will be, I’ll continue the list in a focused attempt to lead you on, knowing full well that your brain is designed to consume information in quick bursts and in list form.

3)   Imageboard 4Chan has been the proverbial mouthpiece of internet meme language since 2003, but its defining features of “anonymity and ephemerality”[i] have allowed the site to remain largely out of the spotlight.

4)   This lack of central leadership at 4chan (aside from the hands-off creator moot) has lead to multiple activist-ish events whereby anonymous (the presumed nominal origin of Anonymous) users come together to formulate various plans in response to social injustices they deem worthy of attention.

5)   Stay with me! Still writing;

6)   Anonymous’ catchphrase “We do not forgive. We do not forget” may be at odds with 4chan’s “this site has no memory”, but the thread of a community of individuals who never seek recognition is no doubt a subculture worth watching in our larger American culture of attention-seeking and aimless opinionating.

7)   So yeah, 4chan and meme generation can be tools of great influence which, like the Internet, must not be confused as a site of good or evil that is closed to one set of ideas and open to another. Freedom’s just another word…you get the point. Here’s a disturbing but obvious news item that’s trending: stockbrokers are worse than psychopaths.

The end – no punny one-off, no clever bit of closure – just the end. I hope I have sufficiently loaded your headspace with hyperlinks and other distracting memes to occupy your time while you put off reading the rest of this.

Saving the heavy, eye-rolling content for last, it behooves me to expose the less entertaining, witty nonsense of the common Internet meme and point to an awful usage of the machine:

Gawker just ran a startling piece about Angie Varona, a teenaged girl whose name has become a recognizable meme for pedophiles. Though not even 18, Varona has been subjected (photos she had taken of herself at 14 were leaked out of her PhotoBucket account) to threats, stalkers, and countless perverts lurking in places like 4chan and Reddit, and must either change her identity completely or pay to have her web identity wiped completely.

So remember, memes are completely out of your control, and any attempt to prevent a meme (like Rick Santorum’s vain attempt to block “santorum” from being the #1 search result for his name on Google) from spreading is futile – especially if it’s doing damage to you life (then it’s even moar fun for people to spread).

We are the Internets. Your life as it has been is over. From this time forward, you will service us.

Written by: Jakob Schnaidt


[i] 4Chan and /b/: An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community, Bernstein, Michael et. al MIT Cambridge, MA 2011

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