Tag Archives: Memeology

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!

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all.

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.