“Meme Fail” Part 2–worst advice anywhere

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:

well said

Absolutely LOVE Maggie’s expression.

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:

sunset meme

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:

big success meme

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:

words meme

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:

glitter girl meme

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:

fly meme

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”?

make you happy meme

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:

unique fork meme

Just because you are unique doesn’t mean you are useful.

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:

Terry Pratchett bike history

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:


Ah, meme-worthy!

“Meme-fail” The world’s worst advice, available everywhere.

You’ve heard of “Pinfail”?  Pinterest items that look oh so good, but work out oh so bad? That’s because everyone has a fancy camera and access to photoshop. Check out my experience this morning. On the left is what these banana oatmeal cookies are supposed to look like (since when does baked banana look yellow?!). I purposely left off the recipe to keep you from making the same mistake that I did–believing a photo and text.

On the right is what I came up with. They taste much worse than they look. too. I was suckered, but no more.

banana pin fail002

I’ve decided we also need to acknowledge “Meme-fail”—those moving quotes and self-affirmation in cutesy fonts over photos that, when you really think about it, are some of the worst bits of advice out there. Unfortunately we get suckered into believing trite bits of philosophy and squishy motivations.

Memes are addicting, I know. I’ve tried my hand at a few just for fun, and something empowering happens when you see text on photos.

Suddenly it seems real, official, sanctioned, stamped-of-approval, God likes it so it MUST be true!

The problem is, nearly any idiot can create them (I submit, for your consideration, me. If I can figure it out, anyone can). Many of these idiots don’t understand punctuation or spelling, thus propagating the myth that they aren’t necessary because these “real, official, sanctioned” nuggets of crapology don’t use them correctly, therefore we don’t need to bother with grammar either.

But that’s a rant for another day. Today I present just a few of the memes I’ve collected that fail to be worth the space they hoard on Facebook and Pinterest. Not only are they potentially dangerous, they’re potentially stupid-fying.

The “Unrealistic Expectations” category

bad meme 1

The cool fake-chalk writing aside, what this really means is, “Always set yourself up to expect far too much.”

What kind of “wonderful” should I believe will happen when I go grocery shopping? That someone ahead of me will pick up my $150 tab? And when that doesn’t happen, how do I face the rest of the day?

Something “wonderful” should happen when I changed a dirty diaper? When I cook dinner? When I pull weeds? If I’m expecting something “wonderful” to happen at any moment, I’m going to be hopelessly depressed at the end of what was probably a very ordinary and perfectly lovely day.

I don’t need to throw myself into despondency, thank you. Memes in the category below do that already for me.

The “Look at me!” category, for those who never quite outgrew grade school affirmations.

bad meme 2

Ugh—the very definition of narcissism. This must have been taken from the t-shirt of a self-absorbed teenager. If you have a friend who posts this, run far away. While I can think of several ulterior meanings to this, the implication is: I’m really quite perfect as I am. You should love me for my amazingness. What, you don’t feel perfect right now? Oh dear, must be hard to feel like you have to improve yourself . . .

The “I have no idea what life is really like” category.

bad meme 4

I once had a freshman student from Japan. On the second day of school he informed me he was withdrawing and going back home. Why? Our small private liberal arts college was nothing like the American movies he saw in Japan. He truly expected life would be a party.

People who believe this are also the same depressed ones who think something “wonderful” is about to happen just down the road. No wonder many people start drinking in college . . .

The “Dangerous thinking” category

bad meme 5

Uh, but what if something needs to be fixed? Attended to? Resolved? Pondered over? Just let it go, dude?

Why do I picture a hippie with smoke rising faintly from different orifices when I read this?

The “Pointless philosophy” category

bad meme 6I still haven’t the foggiest thing as to what this is supposed to mean. And I don’t have smoke rising from any orifices, either. Some memes are just that . . . what they are at the end of the day.

The “Worst love advice” category

I have two for this one, because there are so, so many of these. Likely based on sappy love songs that never quite make any sense, the first is so schmaltzy it isn’t worth the post-it note it allegedly was written on.

bad meme 3

This second one–well, you just know she owns a t-shirt that claims she loves who she’s becoming. I doubt with this much self-love there’s little room for anyone else.

bad meme 7To be honest, I hadn’t the foggiest idea who Carrie Bradshaw is. So I Googled her. Turns out she’s been googled, along with a few other strange things, because she’s a “Sex and the City” character. I can’t think of a worse place to get one’s love advice.

Memes–the scary part of these is that people perceive these bits of advice to be true. Reality and thought don’t even enter in. We see a clever font, a charming photo, and we assume that equates TRUTH (yes, capital letters, because so many memes like those, too). This deception of text combined with image likely explains why my five-year-old loved this one:

bad lincoln meme(Sorry the image is small. It says, “The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you never know whether or not they are genuine.)
“That’s Abraham Lincoln!” my daughter squealed. “We learned about him in kindergarten! He’s a good guy. That’s why he likes Star Wars.”

Now I fear that Abraham Lincoln and Star Wars will be forever connected in her little mind, all because a meme told her so.

Got any memes that make you scratch your head? Send them to me. I still have so many, I’ll be doing another post of them, and I’d love to add yours. Remember–a meme is a terrible thing to waste.