I love memes–I really do. Even if my first post (Read Part One here) about memes suggests otherwise.
I savor the combination of font, photo, and philosophy all distilled into one quick nugget. Some are fabulous, like this one:
The text doesn’t have to be confined to 140 characters or less, even though politicians, Hollywood-types, and sports coaches desperately try to be pithy and twitterable. Memes can be just a bit more.
A good meme should:
- have words from something or someone with at least a little bit of credibility–spiritual leaders, philosophers, scientists, authors. Never repost the anonymous ones, or the grammatically incorrect ones. They’ve been written by people who take advice from beer commercials;
- have a readable font. It can be cute and fun, but NOT too twisty or tangled, or so full of different fonts that anyone over 40 has to take off and put on their reading glasses multiple times just to get through it;
- have, if available, original art. This can be a photo or an interesting background, but NOT the sun setting on the ocean! PLEASE! No more walking-on-the-ocean-at-sunset photos with any old random saying attached to it. Such as:
A caution about memes: be careful with any that try to define the condition of one’s heart, eternity, or life. Especially when coupled with a sunset. It’ll make your brain all squishy, and you’ll think, “Hey, that just might be deep.” Here’s a hint–if you don’t understand it, it isn’t deep. Don’t be fooled by that beautiful sunset: it’s all jibber-jabber!
(I know, because that’s my photo and my saying, and I still don’t get it.)
There are many bits of color and words that fail any logic test, yet somehow have bedded down and made a living in Facebook and Pinterest. For example, the blob below:
There should be a rule that memes shall not channel fortune cookies, or blatantly lie. (Or have grammar problems, but that’s another rant.) No one can guarantee success, certainly not a melted cherry popsicle with spaghetti noodles on it.
This one below breaks two cardinal rules:
First, the font is all twisty-tangly, and second, it makes no sense. The teacher in me thinks, “Laziness!”
The English language has, according to the Oxford Dictionary, over 170,000 words, and there are PLENTY of ways to say them! (I suspect these are song lyrics from some emo-college band, written when someone suffered a terrible break-up with their significant other of three weeks. Get back to us when you CAN find a way to say things.
And please don’t add any sunsets when you do.)
I also don’t think memes should make vacuuming difficult:
Now, the photo’s nice, the font clear, but the message . . . seriously, have you EVER tried to clean up after someone trailing glitter?! Oh yeah–you don’t forget that chick any time soon.
Then there’s this:
Now this one’s just cruel. It’s a bald-faced lie, but enough people have bought into it that it’s made the rounds.
Ok, maybe it’s a metaphor that you will somehow, someday, for some odd reason, suddenly float away. Some unbearable lightness of being?
But if you think about it, that’s also a bad metaphor. I mean, look at this—it’s a BALLOON!
And what would happen if you were a balloon?
Well, if you don’t pop immediately—or have the helium sucked out of you by some people who value beer commercials and want to create their own memes—and if you’re lucky, you’ll float for quite awhile, buffered and batted about by the winds. But then you’ll start to deflate and sink into some dreary wilderness where you’ll be eaten by some poor wild beast which will then get you stuck in its gut and cause it to die.
Hmm, on second thought, maybe this an apt metaphor for life . . .
This next one is just simply dangerous. “What makes you happy”?
Well, what makes ME happy is not making dinner.
Not cleaning up the cat barf.
Not cleaning up the house, at all.
Not washing my hands . . . you get the idea.
Do MORE of that?
Sometimes I think we value memes because they introduce a new concept to us, even if that concept is rubbish, as beautifully illustrated here:
Great memes, however, make you think, then think again. They have photos that illustrate, and don’t use sunsets. Their words come from creative people who have dug deep into the world and found some nuggets worth holding up and sharing. Like this:
Each of Terry Pratchett’s books has about fifty meme-able sentences. Maybe I’ll make it my life’s hobby to meme them all.
Right after I find out who’s been meme-ing this other brilliant writer, Neal A. Maxwell: