Cleaning The Meme Off Your Shoe

Prior to subscribing to Facebook, I had never heard the word “meme”. After I leave it, I’m rather hoping that I never hear it again.

I am not resistant to ideas – nor to clever expressions. I look to the history of literature for wit and witticisms. However, I am afraid when I am dealing with this giant of the social media world, that I am getting only a portion of what I might. Half-witticisms, if you will, from the keyboards of half-wits. Vast concepts trimmed to the tastes of the half-vast.

Most items are reasonably harmless in themselves – cats, dogs, and otters and the occasional horse doing funny things. I like the Liz Climo cartoons -as well as a number of other small, harmless drawings. I can stand sunrises and pictures of the sea. I always like airplane pictures.

But some memes are not witty, nor are they pleasant, useful, or fair. If they are attached to politics or religion they are frequently picked up by the least thoughtful of the community and plastered about with abandon. Would that they could be abandoned long before they actually hit the screen.

In today’s political climate, I also wonder if the clever meme has been invented and inserted onto the platform by the disinformation teams from each party – thence to be repeated by the parrots of the net. I don’t value being preached to or railed at by friends on the behalf of strangers.

The answer? Well, that may be mild, or drastic. I’ll experiment with July’s crop of scolding and see which option seems most appealing. I would regret losing the connectivity of some parts of the social media scene, but I would regret losing my happiness and temper even more.


I Shall Be Happy To Support You…

If you are worthy of my support.

This means that the meme you have copied and thrust into my face on Facebook ( Is that where the name comes from? ) will have to be moral and intelligent as well as smarmy. Oh, I like smarmy all right…talk to me after four beers and we can trade smarm…but I am unwilling to sacrifice my good sense, patriotism, or moral principles to gratify you. I am perfectly happy to like your kitten pictures but please keep cheap politics or baiting people  off the page.

I shall also back you to the hilt if you are supporting a good cause that has the primary aim of actually being good. If your cause is selling oleander oil, time-share apartments in Queensland, or the racial vilification of Asians, you are wasting time touting it. In fact you may be opening yourself to the kind of contumely that you are least able to bear. I do laugh readily, and it can be at as well as with you. I can write well enough to set others a’laughing as well.

Please do not regard me as an enemy – I am not. I wish to love you long time, and am dismayed when your actions make this impossible. Help me. Be reasonable. Do not ask me to march up the street screaming against your imagined enemies.

Let me do it against you. I know you. We’re friends…

Hard Times For Soft People

Fate can be very unkind for many of us. Health problems, money problems, personal problems – they can all appear to limit our lives. What we need in these occasions is health, wealth, and happiness as an antidote. The simplest way to get this is to enter the social media and press the “ meme me “ button.

The result is rather like activating a dump valve in an industrial shower stall. You are wise to brace yourself before you hit it as the initial wave of sentimental horse shit can knock the unwary off their feet. Once a steady stream of unwanted advice is established you can turn round in it and get your bearings.

You will be encouraged to forget your troubles as you are forced to remember those of others. And in many cases you will be asked to send support…or even money…to any number of good causes.

Is this a help? In some instances it can be; if you are subject to low blood pressure the sight of some of your advisers can raise that. Then again, if you are inclined to be morose, their profile pictures may cause you to giggle.

And always remember that if they are somewhere else sending you memes, that means they are not at your front door pressing pamphlets on you. You can open the screen door without having to wedge it…

It may be difficult to cheer up, but not impossible. Even the mighty occasionally drive their cars into lamp posts.

Your Email Of The 15th Inst. Has Been Noted

And unlike previous forms of communication, will not be considered to be private, inviolate, confidential, or secret. It will, indeed, be copied innumerable times, and made available to anyone who bears you a grudge. Prospective grudge-bearers who wish to invest in material for future use will also be accommodated at a special early bird rate.

Please note that the privacy disclaimers and instructions routinely included on the bottom of all official forms from this office are for theatrical and humorous purpose, and should in no way be construed as legally binding unless you have more powerful lawyers than we do. In this context, ” Three Finger ” Louie Custozza and the Boys From Missoula are considered to be a legally practicing entity and can be cited in negotiations.

As it is impossible at this stage to determine what the year’s cause célèbre or political opportunity will be, we would like you to send a great many more communications on the computer. It would be appreciated by our Chief of Blackmail if you would moderate your use of stimulating substances before typing, as some of the spelling can be very difficult to deal with if you go past certain limits. Please feel free to express yourself as violently and controversially as you wish as this makes for juicier scandal. Photographs are always welcome. No need to dress…



No More Mr. Nice Guy


There’s no point beating about the bushy bits – Facebook censors pictures anyway. And two wrongs don’t make a right, but three can actually do it. Or to put it another way…

The rise of social media parallels the rise of social disease, but without the initial squelchy fun bit. It just leaps straight to the bit with the swelling and discharge. And I should not be surprised if it drops off in the end…the interest in social media, I mean. What did you think I meant? I put it down to an unhealthy diet made up chiefly of quizzes designed to see if I am gullible enough to buy time-share apartments in Caiguna or porcelain copies of Lassie. It is a waste of time on the part of the Facebook to ask – of course I will.

The strongest shock one gets from social media, apart from a leakage in the electrical power supply, is the crass folly that is presented on it and the ready acceptance with which one’s companions of the screen embrace it. We have been presented with virtual versions of cesspools, and asked to swim backstroke. Better, asked to swim for Australia. One can only wonder what the medals will be made of…

Had we been presented with this stuff in 1960 we would have laughed and thrown it away. The 70’s would have had no place for it. But now – 50 years onwards – we eagerly send sums of money to unknown destinations for the chance to move phosphor dots around a screen. The sums are not large. but they are not virtual – someone is getting real money for the privilege of playing with cartoons on a telephone screen. To a person who paid 10¢ max for comic books in 1957 and traded them for years for nothing, the idea of paying today’s prices is absurd.

We are told that this is the information age and there is an information economy in which games and social media form a large part of the earning power. The only information that seems to be new is that the pressure of population has increased the number of suckers born every minute and also the number born to take them. Mr. Barnum would enjoy the sight, but I fear the pace might leave him frantic.

Still, there is no wind so ill that it does not blow comfort somewhere. My own chosen medium is printed words and illustrations. As this has fallen by the wayside in favour of phosphor dots there is less competition for reading matter. I can sometimes find and afford books that would have been beyond me – when they were desired by more people, they commanded a higher price. I do not think I can ever read out the library, let alone the world, and so I can leave hoi polloi to the screen and the app. Do not be offended if I speak of hoi polloi – no-one can be commoner than I when I choose.

Heading Image: The cultural spirit of the New York Banner made manifest upon a Facebook page. Ellsworth Toohey would have been proud.