Sunday, August 24, 2014

Memes and Water

Earlier, I posted on FB: "I hate memes. Everybody stop posting them."

I expected, of course, for my friends to post a barrage of memes. I wasn't disappointed. My favorite was a picture of me from my birthday party, with the same text I'd posted. That's funny. 

Why? It's funny because it's a) topical, b) original, and c) in context. 

And that is why I tend to dislike memes. They're lazy, they' re general, and they typically don't have any respect for context. 

(I'm speaking in generalities here, obviously. I find some memes very funny. And there's something to be said for shared experience and knowledge and using that as shorthand for quick humor - I like referential humor, provided you don't wind up beating a particular reference into the ground as geeks are so wont to do.) 

I wound up deleting the post entirely, because I can't just say "no more comments" on a FB post and the memes and comments were starting to make me uncomfortable. Obviously I didn't literally mean that other people should stop posting memes; I don't have any right to demand that and it would be a stupid thing to ask even if I did. 

But, if you're interested, the genesis of my comment was that I just saw one too many people posting memes saying, in effect, "this ice water thing is bad and you should feel bad." (See what I did there?)

I was all set to post and explain why I get annoyed by people talking smack about the ice water challenge, but Forbes went and did a very nice article that covers the basics. Mostly, I was very moved by the video posted by a young man who was recently diagnosed with ALS, and that he, too, was moved to see someone paying attention to the disease, which is rare. 

Yes, there are other causes that affect more people. Yes, the ice water challenge might waste some water, so maybe use dust (like a chinchilla!) if you're in California or something. Yes, it's a stupid gimmick. You don't like the method? Fine, there are valid reasons not to.

But don't simplify down to a picture of Morpheus or something. Think about the topic and say something. 

Or, y'know, don't. TL;DR Cool story, bro.