Really, say no more. Never do this to us again.
Creating A Narrative Across Memes
It sounds like a fun and inventive idea but bruh, this was not easy. Memes are these concise, little story units unto themselves and combining them is not a simple task. Even trying to get meme templates to “jive” with each other is challenging. Also, I find it difficult to superimpose another meaning atop a meme with a strong context of it own, especially if that meaning is not necessarily in the “spirit” of the meme. For example, this activity asked us to create a cohesive narrative out of five memes about how digital alchemy can combat darkness online which is a very serious and direct topic that can conflict with the free-spirited, lackadaisical, nonsensical, often subversive nature of most memes. Similarly to how providing attribution to memes online is kind of antithetical to the free-access, anti-establishment medium in some ways, attributing a serious, “this is a real problem” meaning to a meme seems somehow contradictory. Maybe that’s just me though and everyone else had a grand ol’ time doing this activity. Idk. I’m one memer of many. Perhaps I’m also over thinking the task or I’m not creative enough for it. That said, I did not particularly enjoy this activity.
Still did it, tho.
With varying success.
You be the judge of my handiwork:
I meant for this work to be a commentary on how, often, a lack of input from invested and engaged citizenry in sociopolitical decision-making processes can be just as great a contributing factor to many of the issues we now face with the internet as unregulated data tracking and surveillance. In order for positive changes to occur in America specifically, we as citizens of the country are going to need to step up and activate the power we can have as a collective of concerned individuals. I hope at least part of that message got through (in a nice enough way).
Another challenge I faced in doing this activity is that I don’t usually write positive stories??? I like writing harsh words filled with “mean” and mercurial characters that are able to give as good as they get from an unapologetically brutal world. Anyway.
Here’s a more comprehensive breakdown of the images I sourced to create this story:
- The first image used makes use of the Distracted Boyfriend meme template and was sourced from the Somniporta’s “A Meme Countering Internet Darkness” collection. The meme in the collection is titled “Helllooooo” and is described as a meme intended to emphasize the growing disconnect between increasingly digital surveillance of American citizens and common sense. It was created using the imgflip Meme Generator. I think is opens discussion and allows for a dialogue to occur around it. I use it in my story as exposition.
- The second image used is a bit of a cheat in that it’s a Twitter post. That said, I do believe it is an example of “shitposting” (sharing purposeful nonsense online) which falls under the larger purview of memes because shitposting can also be classified as a unit of cultural transmission that spreads via inspiring further iterations of itself or the idea contained within. This post comes from @sosadtoday and I believe was posted during the US government shutdown(?) so it may have originally been referencing that. I use it to introduce a problem/create rising action.
- This third image was one I created using the imgflip Meme Generator. I used the “My Parents Are Dead/Batman Slapping Robin” meme template. I use it to address the previously introduced action–that everything going on online is stupid and contradicts common sense. I guess it’s the climax of my story? It addresses preconceived notions about the previously stated problem head-on and demands a reevaluation of those ideas.
- My fourth image was made using the “Hard to Swallow Pills” meme template and was also created using imgflip Meme Generator. I use it to summarize what was really implied by the last image–that change, in regards to the problem at hand (lol), is possible and within reach. This change, though, require reflection on our part and action that addresses some of the roots of the problems currently occurring in unregulated, online arenas. It’s my denouement, I guess.
- My fifth and final meme makes use of a lesser-known text-based meme format that is known as the “Inappropriate Audition Songs” meme. (Read even more about the format here and check out more examples.) I used the template provided for it (hi i’m auditioning for the role of [character] and i’ll be singing [song that is inappropriate for the role]) and created my own version of the meme using my own tumblr account (hence the lack of attribution–it’s mine and I don’t feel like giving ya’ll my tumblr handle). I reference the second meme which conveys a rather apathetic sentiment to fill in the first blank of the template and, for the second blank, I reference a song that is all about making your own luck and finding your own sense of hope in an otherwise cold world. It’s the conclusion of my story and is meant to convey that while things may be bleak, if we can gather our forces and commit to change, there can still be hope~
ain’t it sweet
I hope the explanation here doesn’t take away from the story. More, I hope you enjoyed my story and I hope it challenged you in a good way.
Please, let me know what you think of my story and be sure to check out my main post on memes! It’s where all the really hot takes are 😉
~Till next time~