A meme about stealing memes - a hairless cat hording coins

I Love Memes. So Does Everyone Else, Of Course

I love memes. Which is something pretty much everyone can say. They’re like visual one-liners – a short, sweet statement (usually a joke, but not always) to laugh or nod your head at, and move on. Since Facebook, Twitter, and other social media setups are shared with your friends, you more often than not already know the cultural references being made without having to ask anyone.

Now, I used to term “meme”, but meme’s aren’t what the original term meant anymore – it evolved into the idea of a quick bite, nearly universally understood image (or animation) with text on it. There’s even a couple of semi-official formats for it, such as black border with white Impact font text on it for the top and bottom text.

As for the term meme it’s self, it roughly meant a an idea that spread quickly (like a virus) from person to person with a commonly understood meaning – trust me, I’m simplifying that – and had some characteristics that followed a sort of Survival of the Fittest concept. But, it wasn’t strictly an image or video, instead it could be anything. It also had a sort of cultural DNA to it, which could result in it being short lived, or long lasting (but slightly mutates over time.)

I simplified the hell out of that. And, some people would spend great deals of (wasted) energy explaining to me how the modern interpretation (of a rather modern word) is wrong, and it’s not an image. I would normally retort, in a long winded fashion, about how the meaning of terms and concepts change as they drift, sort of like maybe words (particularly in the fast communicating, quickly evolving Internet connected world) have a Survival of the Fittest thing that goes on with them.[1] They might explain how that’s different, and what is meant is an “Internet Meme”, at which point I’m gonna have to explain that only their grandma and news reporters looking to fill time on screen (and explain it to grandmas in the local broadcast area) use “Internet Meme”. it’s just meme, and the term’s meaning flexed with common usage. Common vernacular use is a thing.

That’s completely outside of the scope of little introductory post.[2]

Memes – the image and video type – are also extra interesting because they’ll become viral, be a thing for a short bit, then *POOF!* Everyone forgets they existed. Two years later, you may see the same meme suddenly go viral again as if it never previously existed. It shows that an idea can be damned near universal as a concept, but the details can be quickly forgotten, I suppose.[3]

At one point I started saving the memes I was sent, posted, or that intrigued me. I had an idea: there should be a way of classifying them, and maybe even pinning down a sort of DNA system that shows how they’re connected, their lineage, and their mutation. Because, well, they all are connected one way or another, if you start tracking long enough. Think of it as Six Degrees of Demotivational Posters[4] – it’s all connected if you go back far enough.

There’s a couple problems with this concept:

  1. I hold no degrees in Anthropology, Communications, and / or Language. All of the above are fields that would be required to really make it work.
  2. As I hold no degrees, it also means no one would be paying me to do a massive research project. That is not a small issue.
  3. I have ADHD
  4. Because the whole thing moves so fast, any conclusions or research done is at least a year behind what’s really happening by the time the research is done

Which means I have a cool idea, a metric fuck ton of memes, and nothing to do with them. I mean, I could delete them – even if some of them are ones I created – because the Internet holds them forever-ish, even if we individually forget them.[5]

So, instead of deletion, I’ll turn it into something fun; Hump Day Memes. A page of 24 or so memes posted every Wednesday starting the first Wednesday in 2024. This is well… a lot. there’s some memes that only get posted in certain communities. There are some memes that are sort of odd to post because the original context for them is already gone. There’s some memes that I have no clue about. Some are quite a bit more racy than I’d post on Facebook, but would easily post on Discord or one of the closed Social networks I’m on.[6]

In conclusion; please enjoy this horde of stolen and original memes of various levels of quality. 😉

FAQ, Though No One Has Asked Yet

Q: How old are these?
A: Some of the oldest ones date all the way back to 2008 – you can tell by the image quality, back when sites skimped on pixels 😉 Then there’s a bit jump from 2010 to 2018, I think, but I’m not positive. Part of the collection was lost because of stuff like drive crashes or whatever (that directory wasn’t part of the important backed up stuff). Most recent stuff would be (as of this writing) December 2023.

Q: How long are you going to do this?
A: Uh, good question imaginary reader. Right now (December 2023) I have posts auto-scheduled weekly until February 2025. No, that’s not a typo. UPDATE: I found another directory of memes. So, now it’s new posts until July 2025.

Q: How many memes are there?
A: At the time I wrote this, there are 58 posts. Each post normally has 24 memes on it (there are some variations, but not much) so we’re talking 1,392 memes. Holy crap that’s a lot more than I thought it was – I never did the math on this until now. UPDATE: Make that close to 2k memes.

Q: You made part of these? Which ones?
A: That’s to questions no one is asking. Yes, some of them are mine, no idea how many of them. There’s at least one that’s easy to identify because it’s got my face on it (May the 5th Be With You, I think?)

Q: So, this FAQ – it’s basically just you talking to yourself?
A: Shut up.

[1] I’ll admit to feeling way too happy with myself about making that circle around, even if it’s completely dorky. It’s the small things somedays.

[2] But, I’m not letting it rest.

[3] Or not. I mean, that statement jumps to a conclusion without actually having any information. But, if I could stick it on two lines and give it an image, it would make a great meme that people would somehow assume had depth of thought behind it.

[4] I specify the Demotivational Posters for a reason. Motivational posters had become a thing for a while – I mean, more than just a poster of a cat on a tree branch that says “Hang in there”. Motivational posters had become codified for a bit – black background, bold image in the center. Add text below that – usually one word like “SUCCESS” with an explanation in in smaller text below it, something like “Success is never guarantied. You have to work for it.” Those, of course, started being put up in offices around the US to motivate workers – that way, you felt good about your SUCCESS, which brought the owners more money. Someone got smart, and created Demotivational Posters: same format, but now it would read things like “SUCCESS” followed by “Some people dream of success, while other people live to crush those dreams.” The Motivational Posters were a commercial product, the Demotivational Posters were commercial parody, which quickly gave way to a new format: Black or white background, image in the center, headline text on top (in Impact font), explanation or punchline at the bottom in smaller text.

[5] Memes are a good example of why AI needs to be carefully trained with curated data, rather than big pools of information pulled from the Internet. There a lot of memes that are bad stuff out there, created by humans. Training AI with it means there’s gonna be more bad memes, and it’s all going to turn in to a self-feeding system of bad memes. Which is already happening with the humans in certain online communities, but AI speeds the process up.

[6] A sort of anti-social network.

2 thoughts on “I Love Memes. So Does Everyone Else, Of Course”

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