Tag Archives: Facebook

The "Woman Yelling at Cat" Meme Sucks

A Case Study of Meme Overuse and Eventual Death

We can’t have good things. We can never have good things. Because once something becomes popular enough the masses will get a hold of it and ruin it. Usually this doesn’t happen with most art forms because most art requires little to no participation from the audience. There are the creators of the art and the viewers of the art and the audience is relegated to be mere spectators of the art form. The read the book. They watch the movie. They look at the painting. They play no role in the creation of the art itself. The barrier of entry is usually fairly high to most standard forms of art; some jackass can’t make shitty music, plop it up on soundcloud, and become instantly famous. Some dickhead with canvas and acrylics from Walmart probably won’t paint a masterpiece that will end up in a museum. There’s a quality filter so to speak. But I think the most important attribute of most “normal” art is that it is static: once art is created it is finished and in its final form. There is no further input from anyone, especially the audience.

Memes are totally different and while I do consider them an artform they’re also a form of communication. This works because the barrier to entry with memes is terribly low; any dingbat can make memes and nothing requires you to actually be witty or good at making them to do so. And there is an audience for these poorly-crafted memes. Consider the horribly dumb populace that infests social media sites like Facebook and Twitter like roaches, you have dumbfucks creating stupid and unfunny memes who “don’t get it” and somehow their abominations are shared and propagated to the masses. It’s the equivalent of the soundcloud artist and amateur painter from above except they can somehow get notoriety with their shitty and terrible work. YouTube is a good example of this where anyone with a phone can plop videos up that everyone in the world can see. There is no filter to prevent bad content from spreading.

You can really notice this as a trend if you know where to look. The meme progression is usually something like this: some random person makes a meme with a narrow context or something. The meme is funny because it’s new and unique and sometimes hilariously confusing because it doesn’t seem to make sense. Think of advice animals: why would animals give advice? It’s entertaining in its absurdity. Or spiderman giving a presentation, etc. I call this initial phase the “proto-meme” phase because it sounds cool enough.

Having a deeper sense of social media put yous in direct touch with proto-memes. I’m not saying Reddit is deep social media exactly but it’s deeper than Facebook, which is about as shallow as a puddle in a driveway. I’ve seen countless memes in more or less original proto-form on Reddit before they mature and make the jump to more popular sites like Facebook. As an example, this is something I think is representative of the proto-meme style that may or may not become popular in the future. I’m especially fond of r/THE_PACK because of how absurd and ironic everything posted there is. It’s like the shit your skeleton-, gun-, flag-, and motorcycle-image sharing uncle shares on Facebook but turned up 1000 times in intensity. Here:

AROOO MFER! Credit: u/IronicMerman. (The style of THE_PACK is even more interesting when you consider the fact that they’re a bastardization of things shared on Facebook. They’re like a reverse of what usually happens to memes: instead of going to Facebook to die, the style is removed from Facebook and memeified.)

Reddit itself is probably more descriptive of the second phase of memes where their popularity grows and people improvise on the formula. I want to call this something like the “classic phase” or something. This is where memes gain enough social critical mass where you can use them in wider conversations and situations. The meme is adapted by many interest groups and cultures even if they have their origins in niche communities. Spongebob memes can make the jump from being unique to TV and movie communities into the wider public. Or a video game meme jumps ship and is adopted by countless other groups unrelated to video games. Creativity flourishes and each community puts their own spin on the meme and interprets it in their own way, creating a cornucopia of memes based off the same initial idea. And most importantly they hold true to the form and humor of the original proto-meme.

After the proto- and classical meme phases is what I’d call the popular phase of the meme. This is what happens when a meme grows up and is adopted by the masses for use. And by masses I mean everyone. Usually you know this phase is upon a meme when your hopelessly out-of-touch and mildly racist aunt Karen starts sharing them on Facebook. Think about Minions. Facebook is the prime example here because it’s where popular memes go to die. It’s where clueless and usually older people get their grubby Boomer hands on our beloved memes, misunderstanding and corrupting them into something that misses the entire point of the meme in the first place. Case in point: the woman and cat meme, the topic of this post. I’m sure you’ve seen it in your travels through Social Media Land recently.

I loved this meme originally. It had all the hallmarks of a good meme: originality, absurdity with a woman yelling at a cat sitting at a dinner table, and a versatility that was impressive. You could adapt the meme or variations of it to nearly anything you needed. I found this on reddit a half year ago, the meme altered and depicting a certain scenario from the video game Apex Legends:

Part of the appeal of a meme is its “inside joke” quality, and this is prime example of such. You won’t understand this at all unless you’ve played Apex.

And my sister sent me this gem where the meme is tweaked to be about video game choices. It highlights the absurdity of the semi-popular and mocked belief that video games cause violence: humor, absurdity, and social commentary all wrapped into a picture of a woman yelling at a cat. It’s also an example of how damn versatile the meme is/was.

And I can’t forget this gem I found which doesn’t depict the meme as usual but pays homage to The Shining. I love it.

Anyways, as stated above the natural progression of a meme that becomes too popular, a meme that has such critical mass that it transcends sub-pop and pop culture, is that it enters mainstream culture. When your parents, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents get a hold of it. It’s when people use the meme as it wasn’t intended, a bastardization where one realizes the creator doesn’t understand the meme’s appeal and humor in the first place. And the saddest thing of all is when the meme is fucking politicized and used unironically. When the humor is stripped out of it and it becomes a way to say something seriously. To prove a point. To make a stance. To yell your viewpoint bluntly at people. To disguise this as humor. This isn’t how memes are meant to be used.

This one depicts the meme as a conversation-frame type meme, a misuse of its original intentions. I mean it’s now a lady having a conversation with a cat. Okay. It’s also kinda dumb.

I was originally going to only post the image, but realized that including the poster/uploader — the eloquently titled page “Cornbread & Cooter” — might say something about the type of people that fuck the memes up in the first place. Think of someone you personally know that would actually follow a page called “Cornbread & Cooter:” they’re probably a fucking moron. Sadly, my dad shared this.

This one depicts the cat looking at Greta Thunberg. Once again, Okay…

As above, I included the poster, “Country Folks & Patriot’s.” I don’t know why there’s an apostrophe there, but hey, I’m not surprised. Without looking you know it’s a page followed by a bunch of old out-of-touch people that live off a steady diet of Fox News and they took a popular meme and fucked it up and politicized it. And once again it isn’t even funny because it’s trying too hard to prove a point. There’s no humor because it has been replaced by a subtle hatred for Greta only disguised as humor, not that these people give a shit about the trees cut down in the first place.

And countless others that I don’t even want to think about. Naturally I don’t save these when I come across them and only upon writing a blog post do I have to hunt them down. And searching through a handful of Cornbread & Cooter’s images leaves you feeling exhausted with society and people in general. Sometimes I want to go hang myself.

The meme is then basically dead. When people who are out of touch with the original intent and humor get ahold of a meme and defile it, no one who properly knows how to use the meme will do so. It then becomes “uncool” to use (unless you’re being ironic) and the real meme-proficient people, creators, and wizards will stop using it. The funny thing is after the meme falls out of favor with its initial fans and adopters it will still find heavy use in the out-of-touch community because they have no idea that it’s not funny anymore. Once again think Minion memes. The only time these dead memes will finally disappear is when the out-of-touch crowd finds newer, fresher, and unmurded memes to leech onto and then kill. It’s a vicious cycle. The popularity of a meme is what will kill it.

Luckily, some memes seem to transcend this fate by being popular but not popular enough to be adapted by the demographics that will kill them. A few examples I can think of is Elon Musk smoking pot and the goddamn “Here we go again” screenshot from Grand Theft Auto 3: San Andreas. It’s pretty easy to see why they haven’t been widely adopted. Elon smoking pot is just too vague for popular adaptation because you need to know the backstory to see the humor in it. And CJ from GTA is hopelessly (and luckily) stuck within video game cultures and can’t transcend out of it.

A fresh cross adapting a GTA meme into something Stardew Valley related.

I suppose the real death knell of memes is when they end up on t-shirts or whatever. This kills the meme. When you start seeing memes on shirts the humor and the inside joke quality of it are just wiped out, murdered, with zero hope of return. And, oh, would you look at this…

HE’S DEAD, JIM. And no I’m not giving credit for this image because things like this can just go fuck right off into hell.

Sorry lady-yelling-at-cat meme. You were one of the better ones, but all good things must come to an end. A victim of your own success you were and while you’ve followed countless other memes into oblivion and while you’re surely not the last to do so, we will fondly remember the times when your were young, new, and full of promise to all of us. Farewell and Godspeed.

Note: I bitched a little bit about Facebook here, as I’ve done in many past posts, and if you’re curious for an entire book bitching about the negative things about Facebook, I wrote an ebook on it. Please check it out if you’re interested!

The Decade Challenge Sucks

The hottest and latest trend to be hitting social media (at least Facebook as I can’t speak for other social media websites) seems to be something called “the decade challenge” or whatever. The “challenge” involves finding and posting a picture of yourself from ten years ago, way back in 2009. The only “challenge” to it seems to be finding a decent picture of yourself from a literal decade ago and then maybe having the courage to post it. I don’t really know what the actual point of doing this is because all it seems to accomplish is either 1. showing how you haven’t aged at all making everyone else feel like shit or 2.showing how terribly you’ve aged in the past ten years and making everyone else feel better about themselves. You now look like a decrepit catchers mitt and how the hell did ten laps around the sun affect you that badly? The decade challenge doesn’t seem to have any positives to it at all except perhaps to get some well-needed schadenfreude in on your “friends.”

As you can tell I hate it. I always hate social media trends but this one is even worse. I think it’s because I’m strongly in denial about the fact that I’m getting older. I’ve been tossing around the idea of a “getting older sucks” blog post, but have been deliberately and purposefully in denial about the fact. “I would write a post about getting older sucking,” I think to myself, “but I’m not actually old yet! Who am I to write about that topic at the fresh young age of 33!” I’m constantly lying to myself and knowing that I’m lying to myself feels especially awful.

Denial until this “challenge” that is. With everyone around my age spamming pics of themselves ten years ago I can’t be in denial about it. While I myself don’t feel old, and when I look in the mirror I don’t think I look old, everyone around my age group has seemingly aged terribly in the past ten years. Who am I to deny this fact? I’ve certainly aged terribly as well and just aren’t aware of it or am just in denial about it.

As stated I’m 33 and I’ve always viewed this as the start of getting old, at least that’s how I thought about it as a kid. The thirties are when you’re literally and undeniably an adult. Your life is set. Your dreams have either been accomplished or you’ll never accomplish them. The thirties is when you’re past the point of turning back. You’re well on the road to middle age, old age, and death. You can’t turn back or change anything about your life when you’re past thirty. It was a bleak outlook.

Obviously I don’t feel that way now that I’m in the thick of the shit that is The Thirties. I tell myself —— who still feels like an ignorant teenager — that, no, the thirties aren’t old! Maybe you’re “old” when you’re in your forties or even fifties! Or maybe there is no such thing as being old! But then I think of my grandma who can barely walk, whose hands look like those of a skeleton with just a thin layer of skin draped over the bones. She is frail and her mind isn’t what it used to be. Being old is undeniably a thing, but it doesn’t have a clear beginning. It just slowly creeps up on you so you have a hard time considering when you “start” being old. Since I’m in my thirties, I still feel this point is a long way away even though my beard is irreversibly grey and the bags under my eyes are becoming more pronounced.

Most of my friends are the same age as I am, give or take a few years. Seeing their decade pictures on Facebook is like a mirror held directly up to me. People that are the same age as me look old. Even the ones that don’t exactly look old look changed; they don’t look the same as they did ten years ago, even if they still appear young.

One of my friends still looks pretty young, and his picture from a decade ago is framed in the exact same way making a comparison very easy. His hair is longer now and he hasn’t gotten fat, but around his eyes are unmistakable wrinkles that weren’t around in the photo from ten years ago. He is one of the people that don’t look old, but where something is definitely happening with time. He’s on the verge of looking old even if he isn’t quite there yet.

Another girl I know looks nearly the same as ten years ago, but with the same telltale wrinkles around her eyes. Her cheeks are a little fuller and saggier than from 2009, but she is still youthful and pretty. Once again time is working slowly and even if she doesn’t look old yet, you know her 2029 pictures will be terrible.

One guy who I totally describe as “a hipster” used to be very tall, thin, and wore glasses: the classic hipster. He only listens to music on vinyl. He only listens to music you’ve never heard of. His picture is now of a kinda chubby, “dad-looking” person even though he has no kids. He now has a slight double chin. His hair looks to be thinning. He wears sweaters that are of the classic “dad-style”. He tucks his shirts in. His picture is that of a classic old person who seems oblivious to the fact that he’s old. He’s my age. And he is unmistakably old.

I don’t think other age groups have this issue with the decade challenge. If you’re in your twenties your past pictures will be of a teenager. You’re now an adult, congrats! And if you’re in your forties or fifties I’m assuming you look about the same as you did ten years prior. But the thirties? Now we’re comparing pictures of an old thirty-year-old to a fresh and young twenty-year-old. This decade seems to take the most toll on both body and mind and people outside of this age group can’t appreciate the pure hell of it.

As for myself, how am I different from ten years ago? I don’t know. I think I look the same. Luckily I’m not the type of person to have tons of pictures of myself, and those that do exist are buried and forgotten somewhere I’m not aware of. Perhaps they’re on hard-drives, forgotten/lost SD cards, or in family picture albums somewhere. This is nice because I can have plausible deniability as to how much I’ve aged in the past decade. I can’t see myself from 2009 so I don’t know. And I’m fine with that. But it’s hard to ignore the slew of people on social media posting pictures from a decade ago that you’re the same age as. Some look old, and if they don’t look old, you can still see time making it’s slight and permanent cuts in their faces, slowly but surely carving them with the same patience that carved the Grand Canyon. Even if you’re spared this decade, the next one will get you. And if not that one, surely the one after that. Or the one after that. The decade challenge fucking sucks.

Facebook Sucks: Stupid Things People Share

Note: I wrote an entire ebook about Facebook and why it sucks. Check it out if you’re interested.

Let me be totally honest here: I’ve started writing this post over and over about five times now and nothing seems to work. Nothing flows right. My intention, upon scrolling Facebook and being totally pissed at all of the low-quality shit that people share, was to make a blog post about it. Usually I try to write an introduction that eases into the topic while sometimes asking interesting questions about it. With this post I might ask why people share so much stuff in the first place. Why don’t people make their own posts as much as they share? And so on. But hell if this post isn’t just a collection of shitty memes from Facebook. I don’t even want to attempt to be “deep” about why people share this shit: I just want to bitch about how shitty these things are. This list is also not exhaustive and there very well could be a part 2 or a part 3 to this someday.

And let me be honest one more time: these shitty images were filling up my phone’s download folder and made it a miserable place to be. Once this was posted I could delete the damn things leaving the folder filled only with amazingly funny and clever memes, because I have the utmost refined comedic tastes obviously.

Mildly Amusing Sexist Jokes

These are really stupid to see and they upset me greatly. I’m not even upset much over the sexism (and this goes both ways depending on the actual image, sometimes it’s women being sexist towards men) because a joke is a joke. I’m willing to laugh at almost anything because as long as you know it’s just a stupid joke and there’s no I’ll will behind it, who cares? What bothers me most about these is how goddamn cheap they are: they’re lazy jokes. Take this one for example:

Haha right? Women wash dishes! That’s their job! You thought the meme was talking about an actual dish washing machine when you read it, right? Gotcha! No. No you didn’t. The joke is so obvious that it isn’t even funny. Part of the humor in jokes is not seeing any immediate connection between the setup and punchline and then figuring it out. There’s an “a-ha!” moment that makes the joke funny. These lack that cleverness.

HUEHUEHUEHUE GETIT?!

They’re also shared almost exclusively by older people who apparently have a fondness for this type of humor. It makes me wonder if in 30 years I’ll be sharing jokes that aren’t funny on whatever social media is around then. I fucking hope not. But a few younger people share them too, usually males (obviously). They’re typically the people you’d expect to share them too. They’re the ones constantly posting sexual memes and jokes (almost like trying trying to end up on r/ihavesex on purpose) and have a general sense of vulgarity about them. Luckily I’m not friends with many of these people so that’s good for me at least.

Sports

Take a look at this:

Okay. I don’t even know what to say about it. You don’t like the Packers. You watch football. It’s a Packers’ logo on toilet paper. You know, what you wipe your ass with. Ha.

Shit like this is usually shared by the demographics from above, but you could find any diehard sports fan sharing it as well.

2deep4u Posts

Here ya go:

These things are exhausting because they’re everywhere. I’ve always liked to bitch amount images that are just images of text, because, why? For fucks sake put some background on it or something. Even worse are the 2deep posts that are pictures from someone else’s Facebook post. Like this one:

Making things even worse is the fact that many of these actually have decent advice to them. The first image is a perfect example of this: the actual words make sense really. Sometimes it is wasting your time to talk to a headstrong dumbass. The problem arises because the person sharing the image is likely to be one of these people, ironically. If you really felt this image resonated with you you probably wouldn’t be sharing it on social media. Also, with the multitude of these on social media they lose their meaning an effectiveness. After seeing 30 of these every time you look at Facebook, you simply find yourself not caring about them anymore.

A friend pointed out that there is a brown version as well!

Remember when I mentioned that social media should be a conversation deleted and rewrote the introduction? A two-way conversation? These fail miserably on that goal. Even if the outward appearance is one of information — what if the poster just wanted for other people to see it? — they’re usually posted to say something about the sharer and aren’t directed to an audience at all. The poster is saying something about themselves — that they can understand different perspectives and aren’t a dumbass — and how deep and complex they are. It’s egotistical as fuck. They’re not trying to prompt others to keep an open mind, they’re only circle jerking themselves.

2deep4u Fake News?

This one is a subset of the 2deep4u posts but with the added benefit of having a questionable factual basis:

I don’t know anything about wolves really, so maybe the image is true, but my bullshit radar goes off anytime I look at it. The worst part? Posts like these you’re not bothered enough by to actually fact-check them. While I suspect it’s bullshit I don’t want to make an effort to find out it actually is bullshit.

Informative Fake News

A few posts might actually be helpful or make some sense at first. Like you can tell the sharer isn’t being self-centered or looking for attention and is actually trying to help their friends and family have some useful information. Once again many of these set my bullshit alarm into high gear. Here:

Floor polish and pumpkins? Once again I don’t know enough about the ingredients of floor polish and how pumpkins decay so I can’t outright say that it’s bullshit, but come on. This one I’m not even going to research either. I don’t want part of my internet search history to be about floor cleaner and pumpkins. The next time I’m on Amazon I don’t want endless ads for Brite floor polish.

Or this one:

News just means, ya know, “new stuff” and if it’s printed on paper you might be tempted to call it a “news-paper.” It’s no surprised that a newspaper would be called what is is. Come on people.

Its not really informative like the pumpkin one but it still purports to have an interesting fact that, once again, screams of bullshit. In fact I’m like 95% sure it’s bullshit. Even worse is the woah reacts to it that I’m assuming are from people who gobbled up the bullshit like a swarm of hungry flies would.

And this:

There’s a general theme here of my ignorance on a topic giving claims something to work with even if I suspect there’s bullshit around. Once again there are claims that seem factual; charcoal can affect medicine uptake, but is charcoal used to color food that much? It seems like it would affect the texture or something. Who knows. After some quick Googling apparently charcoal is used to color foods, among with other possible ingredients. Basically known what your medicine shouldn’t be taken with and figure out if charcoal is in your food. Which you should’be been doing even if you didn’t see this shit on Facebook!

I think the same will be true for my conclusion paragraph as the introduction paragraph. I don’t have shit to say and am just going to stop. If anything, check the shit you share for factual basis before sharing it. I can’t believe I even have to mention that.

Publishing (and Selling!) ebooks Sucks

Last week I was on vacation and as an attempt to save myself the self-hatred and directionlessness that I feel while on vacation I made it a goal to finally finish and publish an ebook. I’m proud to say I’ve accomplished this but at the same time any actual “victory” seems to not be much of a victory at all. While I’ve finally published a book, it really doesn’t mean much in the long run and surely isn’t an instant ticket to success even though I wasn’t really expecting it to be.

What did I write about? I wrote about Facebook. I elaborated in a few recent blog posts about how I was thinking of collecting my Facebook Sucks posts into an ebook: it would be easy to do and I wouldn’t have to feel any pressure for it to be perfect. Perfection is always a hurdle when doing anything for the first time. For my first ebook why would I want to spend months or years making it perfect when it would surely end up as trash and not sell? By gluing blog posts into a book I wouldn’t be making a masterpiece but I could take the first step needed to actually be a writer.

I want to cover two things here: how it was actually writing an ebook and how it was publishing that ebook. Luckily (for this blog at least) each aspect sucked giving me plenty of content to write about!

You’d think that gluing individual blog posts into a book would be really easy but it wasn’t. Each blog post was written as its own stand-alone format; when you try to smash them together as “chapters” in a book you’re left with a really disjointed book. It sounds like what it is: a bunch of shit just tossed together. While most of the content was already written I still had to reread and edit all the posts to be “chapters” instead of “blog posts.” This wasn’t really difficult but wasn’t exactly as easy as I thought it would be. I also had to give some thought as to the general flow of the book, how the chapters would fit into the entire project, and edit them accordingly.

And obviously you can’t just slap a handful of blog posts into a book and call it day either! You need to make it, well, like a fucking book so I had to write an introduction and a few more “body” chapters to ease into where the blog post chapters were taking me. As before this wasn’t exactly hard (mostly as bitching about Facebook comes as naturally to me as breathing or eating does) but it was something I didn’t expect to be as laborious as it was. In fact I think previously written blog posts made up less than half the book; I tired to write an “easy” “blog-based” book and ended up writing a book that had a few blog posts for chapters. Most of the book was totally new content so that was more work than intended.

Then there’s editing the damn thing! You have to pour over the entire document proofreading for proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, as well as making sure you don’t sound totally fucking stupid in your writing. This part could’ve been avoided by finding a “proper” editor instead of doing it myself; that entails its own list of bullshit like being social and actually talking to people. While I wanted to finally write an ebook I wasn’t trying to be social or anything and wanted to rely on others as little as possible.

Along with everything else, actually publishing wasn’t too difficult but still tossed up its own unexpected troubles here and there. My book was ready to go but was there anything else I had to worry about? Yes. Consider a book cover: this is the first and usually only thing people see about your book. If you fuck it up the cover one will think about reading it. It could be the next Great Gatsby but no one will read it because the cover is shit. I felt immense pressure trying to make a decent cover and while I think I did a decent job it still looks unprofessional. If you totally forgot the fact that your book needed a cover you’d be in a difficult spot trying to publish a book.

My book cover. Kinda cool but kinda amateurish at the same time.

Kindle Direct Publishing throws a few more immensely important tasks at you beyond the book cover. What is your book’s keywords going to be? This is how Amazon relates search terms to actual products so these have to be dead on accurate. Even worse is you only get seven terms to use. Each one has to be near perfect. The same is true for your book’s category: it has to reflect what the book is about. Plopping a fantasy fiction book in the “technical writing” section of Amazon simply won’t do you any favors and I ran into trouble at this point. Was my incessant ranting about Facebook a “social science” book on the effects of social media, or was it a commentary on internet and computer culture? I still feel bad about the categories I selected because they don’t seem to reflect the book at all. Hell, I don’t even remember what categories I slapped my book in.

You also have to write a “summary” of your book which, after the cover, is the second most important thing people use to decide when purchasing a book. After going through the exhausting process of writing and editing and making a cover you probably don’t want to write more in a desperate last-minute effort to summarize your book. If you’re thinking of publishing write a fucking summary ASAP. At the very least have an idea for one in your mind.

After dealing with all of that intense decision making you upload your book (in a .doc file or whatever) and check out how it’s formatted. I didn’t have any issues here. The rest is pretty simple: pick a price for your book and all of that shit. After a 24 hour(ish) period your book appears and, well, you’re now a published author. Congratulations! But you probably don’t have long to feel accomplished because you probably won’t actually sell anything…

I shared my book to the Everything Sucks Facebook page as well as my own personal page. I figured at least a few of my friends would check out my cheaply-priced $2.99 ebook because they were curious or felt some sympathy for me. Even a week later my sales stand, pathetically, at zero. Check this out:

If this picture looks bland it’s because I didn’t sell any fucking books.

It’s hard not to feel like shit over this, especially after doing all the work to actually write a book. I recall when one of my Facebook friends made an ebook (it was a single short story too, not even a real fucking book); I paid the 99 cents to support him because I’m a nice guy like that. Of course a bunch of other people also supported him and he was just amazed at the positive feedback his book received! I figured I could count on selling at least a few copies out of “support sympathy” or whatever you want to call it, but nope. The goddamn book only got two likes on my personal page. Fuckers.

I guess I don’t want to bitch about my friends not buying my book because you can’t be a successful author limping along with your only reliable readers being your friends/family. But I do want to bitch about the fact that doing anything is fucking hard. And, once again, doing something for the first time is the hardest. Doing anything for the first time usually involves the greatest amount of effort because you don’t know what you’re doing at a time when you have zero self-confidence keeping you motivated and focused. When you do persevere and accomplish your “first” the reception is usually either luke-warm (or nonexistent) and this can totally crush any self-confidence you’ve accomplished at achieving your goal. This is a really risky and dangerous time because if you’ve busted your ass to make progress and have had no success afterward, why would you want to continue?

Luckily I don’t think I’m dumb enough to fall for that trap again and am already working on a second ebook because who gives a fuck? Sometimes I think the real measure of success is just chipping away at something because you don’t actually care if it’s received well. I could stress out constantly over the fact that no one will probably read anything I publish and hate myself for it, or I can say “Fuck it. I’ll publish another one.” and shrug it off. What else is there really to do except make progress? So while I’ve accomplished actually publishing, had it be recieved anticlimactically, and feel kinda shitty about it I know that I need to keep moving forward because the first of anything is usually shit. So, yeah, publishing (and selling) an ebook kinda sucked.

If you want to actually check the book out here’s the link. It’s only $2.99 so it shouldn’t break your bank account.

The Little Mermaid Sucks

Goddamn this entire topic is stupid. Initially I was pissed over the entire “debate” about what race Ariel should be in the upcoming live-action Little Mermaid movie, but the more I thought about it the more pissed I became at social media and people in general. Without social media people probably wouldn’t be foaming at the mouth over something so fucking trivial, pointless, and stupid. I think the “debate” of the Little Mermaid casting choice isn’t the actual problem here: it’s just a symptom of the “outrage culture” that is enabled by social media and especially Facebook. It’s nearly a perfect example of how social media can whip people into a frenzy over something that isn’t a big deal at all.

Let’s also not lie here: this is currently a Hot Fucking Topic and I want to rake in viewers/readers/subscribers while the going is still good. Let me in on all the drama while things are still hot. You know people will totally forget about this in a week so time is of the essence.

To recap a bit: Disney loves making stupid-ass live action movies lately. I’m assuming there are a few reasons for this. They’re cheap to make (they don’t need to make a totally new movie), they can capitalize on nostalgia, and who the fuck knows, maybe Disney is simply getting lazy lately. Either way they’re churning out live actions films that no one really seems to actually be asking for and The Little Mermaid is one of the upcoming ones. Whatever.

Apparently people are going rabid over the fact that Ariel — a white girl in the original film — is now being played by a black girl. HOLY FUCK GUYS, HOL UP! There are a wide-range of arguments going around both for and against this choice: Originalists want Ariel to be white simply because she was white in the animated movie. Fair enough. These people have no real racist motivations to be against a black Ariel, they just think the remake should be as close to the original as possible. Other socially progressive people think that, sure, an African Ariel is also okay as it really doesn’t matter who the hell plays a goddamn mermaid: it is just a movie. I suppose I can see a little truth in each sides’ arguments (At least the typical ones I’ve heard. There are a few raving racists talking about “white culture” being stolen by blacks or some shit like that, but fuck those guys.) but have stayed mostly neutral over it because it is the stupidest thing you could ever argue about (besides the color of a striped dress. Those were the good ole days).

A realistic depiction of “dolphin Ariel.”

Let’s also visit what is being discussed real quickly: the race of a mermaid. I’m sorry to disappoint anyone, but mermaids aren’t real. If you want to really get technical, an aquatic human/fish hybrid probably wouldn’t have any pigment in their skin at all and might look the color of a damn dolphin, once again, if they actually did exist. They wouldn’t be white or black but a kinda cloudy-day-grey color if they actually did exist. This is just me guessing by the way. The fact that people are pissed over the race of a mythical creature is insane. It’s like being pissed if someone put a blue unicorn in a movie. “But unicorns aren’t blue!!!!” What fucking color would they be then? (I think a blue unicorn makes sense: it would have perfect camouflage for flying in the sky. This could help the species evade it’s natural predator, the fire-breathing dragon. Dragons would also probably be blue for the exact same reason lions are orangish.)

Another reason I’ve heard against an African Ariel is some overarching idea that Disney only made this choice for politically correct/public relation reasons, sort of pandering to others so they company appears “racially conscious” or something like that. Implicit in this is the idea that Disney is pandering to a minority of people (blacks) at the expense of pissing off a majority of people (whites). This belief states there is a right and a wrong choice by equating Disney’s pandering with a lack of sound financial reasoning. Basically if Disney really wanted to make a ton of money — according to this line of thought — they wouldn’t piss off white people by making Ariel black. But this doesn’t make sense if you think it through: Disney is a huge, take-over-the-world type of company that (especially since they’re publicly traded, ticker of DIS) wants to rake in as much cash as possible. This is literally their job and they have tons of resources to allow them to do this as effectively as possible. Disney has a small army of smart, talented, mathematically-inclined people accompanied by sociologists and researchers collecting tons of data and doing surveys to find out the exact risk/reward of a black Ariel and have found that it is a net positive for the company. If anything pissing off white people and making Ariel black clearly makes the best financial choice because this is what they decided to do. Disney is in this to make money, and they’re not going to take some feel-good, PR/PC choice if it will lose them money. I honestly think this choice will not backfire on them in any way.

I suppose I view the entire issue as Disney’s choice/problem anyways. They own the rights to the movie so could cast a fucking Indian midget for all I care. I mean it wouldn’t make sense to me, but it’s their movie so fuck it, they’ll do what they want to do. While Disney (the huge company) isn’t a genuine artist (what with all of that money-raking/keeping shareholders happy thing going on), I put all artistic decisions on the artist. It’s their work and they’re in control of whatever they want to do. They are beholden to no one because that’s not how art works. Not that a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is necessarily high art but you get the idea.

And to bring this back around, it’s probably social media’s fault anyways. It is the venue where all of this bullshit drama can actually take place: people wouldn’t get this fired up if they had to actually have a conversation about it. I imagine a conversation would go something like this: an Originalist would say “I think Ariel should be white — not because I have anything against black people — but simply because she was white in the original.” And the other person could say “Hmm. I guess I understand that, but it doesn’t change the fundamentals of the story. It isn’t hurting anything for her to be black. It gives black girls someone to identify with.” And they could agree to disagree with a little appreciation for the opposing view. On social media it’s just posting/sharing foaming-at-the-mouth posts that just piss everyone off who disagrees with you. As always there is no real conversation and is just people shouting what their beliefs to others. We pick our sides, start posting/screaming, and hope to drown out the opposite view through shear force and the consensus of the crowd.

And then there’s me: a person who is complaining about people complaining about a silly topic on social media. The irony isn’t lost on me either so no need to point this out. If you guys want to start a dumpster fire in the comments below or on this blogs Facebook page with your Hot Opinions, go right ahead. It’ll be fun to watch. The Little Mermaid Sucks.

Facebook Sucks: Anonymity and the Futility of Chasing “Likes”

Note: This is another “chapter” from my “upcoming ebook” on why Facebook Sucks. It seemed like it would fit well enough here so here ya go. Once again it is pretty rambly but whatever.

I’m a huge fan of the social media website Reddit. If you really want to check it out here’s the link (You lazy fucks. Google it yourself). They also have an app if you’re one of those people. Others on Reddit say the app is kinda shitty so do what you want. The thing I really like about Reddit after the dedicated subreddits for any and everything is the fact that it’s a semi-anonymous site and they pull it off beautifully. You might think that being fully-anonymous or non-anonymous would win out on any pro/con analysis but I don’t think this is true. Let me elaborate.

The shitty website called 4chan is totally anonymous: you post stuff and no one knows it’s you. This is nice in a way because you can be your unabashed self. If you discovered as a teen that you really like hentai and furry-porn, you can indulge your hearts (or any other body parts) content on 4chan and no one will judge you for it. Sure people might judge the graphic tentacle monster and underage anime girl you posted, but they can’t judge you as an individual person with an identity. They can’t say “Did you see what Jimmy posted the other day? Holy Fuck he’s strange.” You’re simply free to post and comment whatever you want. Obviously this comes with the downside that when people are free in anonymity they can say some really hateful, racist, homophobic, and other -phobic ideas (LINK NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!). 4chan isn’t a website for the faint-of-heart.

Facebook, on the other hand, has the opposite problem where you have no anonymity. Sure there are some people with fake profiles, but I think for the most we are ourselves on Facebook. Since your Facebook profile is a representation and projection of your real self you have to worry about your “internet self-image” or some shit like that that sounds really stupid when you write it out. If you are the aforementioned furry-porn enthusiast you might not be able to represent that facet of yourself to you boss, grandma, pastor, wife, mother, or whoever else you’re friends with. You’re restricted in what you can be open about and this restriction is a huge downside with any form of social media. In our normal IRL selves we already have this restriction so extending it to social media doesn’t help any form of self-expression.

The upside to not being anonymous is the fact that you can have a “record” of your social media exploits, i.e. how many “likes” and “shares” you get and (usually) other people can see this. Sites like 4chan have no way to track your “progress” because you’re anonymous. This is where Reddit really shines with its semi-anonymity: you are a person with a username, although this isn’t connected to your IRL self at all. You can collect “points” (in the form of something called “karma”) and see how popular your comments and posts are by how many “upvotes” you’ve gotten. In short you and others get to see a “record” of what your profile has accomplished, how popular you are, and some redditors on their respective subreddits are nearly famous in the quality content they create. Reddit lets you be a person that is free to act however you want but also gives you an identity to work with all without the worry of committing a “social media faux pas” of posting furry/tentacle porn on your Facebook page.

People on Reddit joke about “fake internet points” aka “karma” and they’re totally right with the terminology. It doesn’t make any sense to accumulate “karma,” “likes,” or “shares” at all (or whatever form the “fake internet points” take on your favorite website), and in all objectivity these things are totally fucking pointless. But for some reason knowing your shitpost on r/WallStreetBets has gotten 5,000 upvotes makes you feel like you’re progressing as a socially-adept human or something. I really think Facebook would be much more addictive and potent if they had a “total reaction and share” counter for your posts so you have one or two really quick and concrete numbers to see how popular you are with your Hot Facebook Opinions and Influencing Posts. Then the whole point of Facebook then would really be to shitpost your way to more Internet Points and you’d have a counter for it.

What I’m trying to get to in a roundabout way is how chasing these fake internet points is a hollow sort of pursuit and one that doesn’t fulfill you in any meaningful way. In a way everything is kinda pointless and chasing money, degrees, fancy cars, sexual partners or anything is really the same level of pointlessness (in the grand scheme of the universe) as anything else. Probably everyone as an edgy teenager has had this extremely nihilistic outlook but quickly abandons it because of the inability to actually function in life when you think that everything is, in the end, pointless. Eventually you reach a point where you know that everything is pointless but you need to do something in your life because you can’t just not exist to spite the universe. Mostly because the universe doesn’t give a fuck about you.

So what makes farming for Facebook “likes” less fulfilling than actual IRL progress? For me it is the amount of self-fulfillment you get out of actually doing something difficult. As stated, Facebook is like a lazy-man’s form of social interaction and social interaction that is as easy as typing shit on a screen isn’t going to be as satisfying as actual interaction. Consider talking to a romantic interest: it’s really easy to just send a creepy Facebook message and slide into those DMs, but it’s immensely difficult to actually talk to them. So when you actually do go out of your way to talk like a real person does, you feel so much better for it. You feel like you’ve accomplished something. Actually interacting with people is almost always more satisfying than “interacting” on social media even if it is something trivial.

Another thing I noticed is that getting “likes” or “shares” is a pursuit on its own. Getting a college degree is the final product of years of hard work and I think we like to think of farming internet points as a “final goal” but really those are like the “years of hard work” with the caveat that it doesn’t actually have a final goal. What I’m trying to say is that farming Facebook “likes” has no end: you’re always chasing the next accomplish in getting “likes” and other forms of social media approval. There will never be a point to where you’ve “succeeded” at having “likes” on Facebook. You’re never finished chasing the social media approval of others.

What happens is you get addicted and accustomed to the upward climbing views/shares/likes/upvotes on your posts and you start to think that this is like a rule or a law or something. You might think that you’re just that cool of a person and people really like you. You naturally want these numbers to continually grow forever so when they don’t — when you post something that isn’t quite a popular as the rest — you feel like a failure. Did you do something wrong? Do people not like you anymore? Are you socially not part of “the cool crowd?” You might even put more effort into carefully crafting the next Successful Post and if that’s successful, congrats, you’ve temporarily saved your mood. If that fails, well, you just feel like a fucking failure.

The YouTube channel Veritasium recently had a great video explaining this phenomena in terms of YouTube burnout. In short he argues that as the YouTube algorithm changes, popular YouTubers find that they aren’t popular anymore. This is totally outside their control and while they have been making quality content non-stop have taken to blaming themselves for the lack of “quality” or “getting away from their roots” or something that is their fault. While the problem of chasing Facebook approval isn’t at the mercy of an algorithm (as much) like YouTube the main points are still the same; people get used to increasing approval and popularity and when it wanes people feel like shit and blame themselves. This is true in almost any pursuit but the fact that this can happen so quickly in regards to social media approval is scary. Like athlete or a writer might take years and decades to really “peak” while you could find a “social media approval” peak in a month or two. Then you can repeat the cycle over and over as you never learn your lesson.

The problem with “likes” being your pursuit is that it is too easy to let the growing approval get into your head. There’s nothing to moderate the addiction. When you get this mindset — consciously or unconsciously — you will never be satisfied. If you had a wildly successful post you will crave the next successful post and do everything you can to top the last one. This is true with everything, but the accessibility of this in terms of Facebook “likes” is especially dangerous to the average person. We get corrupted by the idea that we might be the next big YouTuber or influencer that we put much more time, effort, and energy into something that will eventually, certainly let us down and is in the end pretty fucking pointless. They are just Fake Internet Points as Redditors jokingly call them.

Using Facebook Responsibly

An Update of Sorts: I recently decided to make an ebook about Facebook Sucking. My reasoning was that I had a handful of blog posts about it and have always wanted to make an ebook but never knew where to begin. This seems like a good opportunity to 1. bitch about Facebook in order to save the fabric of society 2. put my bitchings into a collection and 3. actually publish that on Amazon or something for no one to actually read. So stay tuned for that.

As I mentioned here I have a cyclical nature with Facebook. I go through periods where I get on the site, actually enjoy myself (somewhat), but eventually I get depressive and go into hiding. This usually involves me deleting my page and losing everything such as pictures, friends, posts, etc. When the cycle restarts I need to make a new page, find my buddies (while inevitably losing some in the process), and attempt to be social again. Luckily this last iteration I wised up and only deactivated my page so I still have my friends, pictures, posts, etc. I’m learning that this is a futile exercise and that Facebook has a firm grip over me. That and I have my blog pages on there.

What happened this time was, well, time. As time passes you naturally meet and befriend new people; in my case I became better acquainted with my coworkers. I work a seasonal sort of job (shipping packages) and Christmas season, being our peak season, allows for plenty of overtime. While that time of the year is hell due to the weather and the amount of work we have to contend with, the terrible workplace conditions really help to build a sort of camaraderie between yourself and your coworkers. You really get to know them and appreciate them as you all suffer through the shittiest months of the year. I mostly reactivated my Facebook page to find these people and become “Facebook friends” with them as pointless as that really is. They’re cool people and I enjoy working with them and it’s nice to “know” them outside of work, even if Facebook isn’t exactly doing that.

Going without Facebook has actually benefited my mood significantly. This shouldn’t be a surprise because I bitched about the negative aspects of Facebook already, but it’s always nice to see you’re correct when you are. I swear getting off Facebook and not drinking has done my mood wonders and I’m almost not a total depressive, anxiety-ridden creature of fear that I thought I naturally was. Anyways, getting back on Facebook has given me quite a bit of anxiety because you need to learn how to use the damn thing properly. By properly I mean not getting sucked into the bullshit and keeping your mood in tact.

Facebook holds some danger for the same reasons I bitched about: if you get carried away and let it dominate your life your mood can and will go to shit. Browsing Facebook bored at 2 a.m. just because you have nothing else to do and seeing Happy People, political posts, fake news shit, and the many ways the world is collapsing around you makes you feel awful. Awful for yourself, what your life consists of, your inability to change or help the world, and, well fuck, now you also won’t be able to sleep because of it.

Making this even more dangerous is the fact that this Facebook disease slowly creeps up on you. It really does remind me of alcohol in a way. You drink here and there to relax but over a few years you’re now drinking 4 or 5 days a week and feel like shit for the remaining days. You’re not exactly sure how and why things ended up this way, but here you are. You might start using Facebook here and there but after a few months you’re scrolling at 2 a.m. drenched in self-loathing and unable to sleep. That’s when you got a problem.

So in an effort to keep my mood from being as shitty as a sewage treatment plant I’ve determined that I need to use Facebook properly this time. This being the Everything Sucks blog how is that shitty? Because why the fuck would you ever expect to have to learn to use a website in an appropriate way? It’s not a fucking drug. It’s stupid when you think Facebook works that way somehow. Just as I’m learning to drink properly and not use it as a crutch to get through life I need to use Facebook as a tool and not as a way to fulfill my social needs.

About six months into Facebook Iteration Number 4 or 5 I’m still happy and going strong. Here’s some things I’ve learned so far:

Limit Your Time There

The easy thing to do is to find yourself bored and then mindlessly open the Facebook app to piss away time. The only problem with this is that you never actually do anything useful while you piss the time away. It’s also a repeatable problem: you’ll just finish spending 15 minutes on Facebook and find yourself opening the app again. This is a problem with social media and the internet in general but Facebook is, as always, a prime offender.

So set a mental timer for yourself — 10 or 15 minutes is sufficient. Scroll around for that long, realize that nothing is actually enjoyable to look at, and get off the app. Don’t immediately get back on either. If you didn’t see shit the first time, why would you see anything worthwhile a half-hour later?

Log Yourself Out

As a related tactic with “limiting your time” as described above you can also log yourself out when you’re done browsing. You might not think that’s going to help a whole lot but people are lazy as fuck. It only takes a few seconds to type your email and password but this is plenty of time where you might just say “fuck it” and find something else to do on your phone. Also by logging yourself out you will stop yourself from being spammed with notifications that are meant to hook you back towards the app/website. It’s an easy thing to do — logging yourself out — but it is probably the most useful thing you can do to limit your exposure to Facebook.

Stop Scrolling When You Get Upset

Sometimes you’ll hop on for a quick five minute stroll through Facebook and instantly see some pressing and dramatic shitpost about politics or religion or whatever that upsets you. A side rule is to never read the fucking comments because it’s just trash there. People are stupid. But I will get off Facebook if I see something that upsets me. If there’s a news story about how much CO2 we have in the atmosphere where scientists are saying that climate change will be catastrophic in the next few decades I naturally feel upset, crummy, and useless over it. When I see posts like that I’ll just get off because there isn’t any reason to get worked up about something that you, as a single person, can’t change. There are things you can do to combat climate change but reading a story on Facebook and arguing with morons isn’t one of them. In fact your heavy, angry breathing will probably put more CO2 and further contribute to the problem.

This is how it is with a ton of topics too. Trump? Yeah, he’s a fuckwad just slowly destorying the US, but there isn’t any point in getting hopped-up angry about it on Facebook. As much as I despise Trump I don’t want to hear about him or anything else going wrong in the world. You might think I’m hiding in my safe space but fuck it: my mental health is the most important thing to me.

I ranted a bit but if you come across some stuff that makes you feel shitty, get the fuck off ASAP.

Don’t Try to “Fix” Anything

The fact is that people like to correct others. This isn’t a bad thing because if someone has some bullshit idea of truth in their head it’s doing them (and everyone else) a favor to convince them otherwise. This naturally extends to social media but this is where the problem lies: you can’t actually convince anyone of anything on Facebook. Don’t even try. You might have noble intentions but your hot opinion on Facebook will not convince anyone of anything. Debbie has been spewing anti-vaxx bullshit for the past three years, expert opinions aren’t convincing her, so why do you think you’re brutal Facebook comment on her shared post will do anything? It won’t and will only upset both of you so there’s no point in even trying really.

Don’t Farm For Likes

I used to post cool shit (stuff that I thought was cool that others might like) and would get pissed when no one would actually like it. I like everyone else’s shit and no one likes mine!? I post some really cool stuff and no one cares!! That sound really immature to think that way. I used to also share those “pressing stories” from above in an attempt to get people to care but that also seemed futile. The fact of the matter is people probably don’t care what you post and you shouldn’t be trying to get approval from others. Currently I post stuff that I find interesting and leave it at that. If no one likes it who gives a fuck. I’m just trying to not fall into that mindset where the amount of likes my stuff gets determines my mood for the day. It’s just fake internet points anyways.

Don’t Use Facebook For Social Interactions

I think I’m a normal human being in that I need to periodically interact with other human beings to be happy. I’m pretty shy and reserved but I still have some need to interact with others. It’s kinda a pain in the ass really because social interaction is hard and scary. During high school and college this interaction is automatically provided for you and you almost forget that it’s somewhat required. You get used to having people around as a kid/young adult and when you don’t you start to feel isolated and alone. This is where Facebook comes in.

Facebook gives you an easy and convenient form of social interaction but there’s only one problem with that: it’s not real social interaction. It’s easy to assume that interacting on Facebook is the same as interacting IRL because no one has any reason to believe otherwise. That is until you try it that is. Facebook is a poor substitute for real interaction because, well, I don’t actually know why. I just know, for me at least, that Facebook isn’t the same as talking to real people at work or at the store or whatever. Like saying “hello” to a stranger in their yard is immensely more fulfilling than liking a friend’s photo on Facebook.

Especially as an introvert, you can slowly get sucked into replacing real social interaction with Facebook’s faux interactions. It’s just easy to do in the comfort of your home. Instead of trying to talk to coworkers or strangers that you don’t really know well you just hop on Facebook and “talk” to people on there. “Talking” meaning liking and commenting on random shit that no one actually cares about. Sure, you commented on a friend’s photo but that isn’t really “interacting” with them. Real social interaction is hard and scary whereas Facebook is easy and convenient. But it isn’t satisfying social interaction even though it seems like it.

Facebook is like an addictive drug that you have to fortify yourself against. It reminds me of trying to drink just a few beers when I’ve been a drunkard for the past two years. It’s like trying to balance one-footed on a ball where any wrong move will knock your ass down. Facebook itself isn’t really harmful, but the ways that you use it can degrade the quality of your life and you need to make sure you don’t get “sucked in” to all the bullshit that Facebook promotes. Personally, I’ve found it helps to limit your time on the site, log out when you’re not using it, abandon ship when something makes you upset, and to not hunt around for approval from others in the form of likes. The biggest issue though is not allowing Facebook to become a substitute for genuine social interaction because it isn’t: it’s just some shitty thing that looks like social interaction. Facebook is a tool you can use to interact with people but you still need to do the actual work of interacting with people IRL. Facebook still fucking sucks by the way.