A Moan about a Meme

I ful­ly real­ize that this is an odd thing to feel strong­ly about, par­tic­u­lar­ly with all that is going on in the polis right now, but I real­ly hate the lat­est viral meme that is mak­ing the rounds on Face­book (and per­haps else­where) in seem­ing­ly tire­less iter­a­tions. You’ve seen the one I’m talk­ing about: four or six hasti­ly-select­ed pics gleaned from an image search arranged on a black back­ground with a pro­fes­sion or inter­est group for a title and a pro for­ma series of cap­tions pro­gress­ing from “What ___ thinks I/we do” to the con­clud­ing “What I/we real­ly do.” Some do a bet­ter job than oth­ers of cov­er­ing the most well-worn stereo­types of the giv­en group, but none, for me, have done any­thing ter­ri­bly well.

I don’t want to fault any­one for get­ting their yuks where they can find them: laugh­ter is a healthy and indis­pens­able part of a bal­anced life, and any­one who knows me knows I crack up at (almost lit­er­al­ly) the drop of a hat. But, boy, I just find the thing any­thing but fun­ny. I can tell it is sup­posed to be fun­ny; the intent at humor is unmis­tak­able. But in ver­sion after ver­sion that pops up in my news feed I can­not see past the thrown togeth­er nature of these paste-ups, the evi­dent haste with which the cap­tions were com­posed, and the lead­en plonk of the punch line, if it can even be called that. And the over-the-moon enthu­si­asm that peo­ple seem to respond to these with only adds a fur­ther lay­er of baf­fle­ment and iras­ci­bil­i­ty to my own reaction.

Ulti­mate­ly, I sus­pect, the ire that this meme’s explo­sion has aroused in me is pro­jec­tion on my part: I’m mak­ing this cycle of trite­ness the whip­ping boy for a very real rage that has almost noth­ing to do with it. What am I real­ly angry about? My fail­ure to make things. So while yes, I sin­cere­ly think most of these things are crap, and unfun­ny, uncre­ative crap at that, I am painful­ly aware of how I am spend­ing my own pre­cious time — look­ing at these things and get­ting pis­sy about them. And deep down in my murky depths I am already seething because day after day, month after month, near­ing year after year, I am not mak­ing any­thing of my own, crap­py or oth­er­wise. I have become sunk deep in a rut of con­sum­ing for far too long, and my diet (to bela­bor the metaphor) has been far from healthy to boot. I have been unable to push myself to find the moti­va­tion to climb off my back­side and get scrib­bling. I guess there is only one way to fix that:

I need to climb off my back­side and get scribbling.

1 Comment

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! I had the con­sump­tion with­out cre­ation prob­lem for a long time and could­n’t get past it until very recent­ly.… (but I know you write for school and also must engage in some sort of dis­course so it may not all be as bad as you think it is)… all in good time.

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