I don’t really go in for memes. For the same reason I don’t go in for musical comedians, San Cisco or the last six years of Chris Lilley’s career, I got it the first time. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand the appeal. Skilful chord progression can trick you into laughing at the same joke thrice. Scarlett Stevens is really cute and a totally adequate drummer. Summer Heights High was good satire and a welcome contribution to the zeitgeist, and memes can make even the most overweight mouth breather in your office feel like a Hedberg level joke crafter with little to no effort. At the same time though, the addition of a guitar doesn’t make your horse-rape material better. Angry Boys was only okay. That fucking Fred Astaire song is one of the most cynical pieces of shit ever released, and that includes the Hangover part III.
Okay, I’m joking about the Hangover part III thing, I didn’t see it. I’m a person. Anyway, the point is I don’t really go in for memes. By definition, a meme is a joke retold, millions of times over and progressively worse each time. Traditionally, memes follow the same basic format. A viral image, usually of an unsuspecting person who for whatever reason, be it their facial expression, physical appearance or perceived personality, is reduced down to a simple caricature, which is then used as the basis for millions of variations of the same ‘setup-pause-punchline’ joke. Occasionally they will be used to communicate a hastily invented sob story in order to win internet points, be they Reddit karma, Facebook likes or the smug satisfaction that the creator stuck it to somebody that day. Oh yeah and they’re always typed in IMPACT font, because their shitty joke is that goddamn important.
Memes of this nature (For instance: Scumbag Steve, Good Guy Greg and Bad Luck Brian, which by the way, aren’t even the people behind these characters REAL names) while annoying and pointless, are at least easily avoidable. Site-blocking r/AdviceAnimals, unfriending anyone who has ever ‘liked’ a Facebook page with the words ‘funny’ or ‘humour’ in the title and staying the fuck away from 4Chan (as if you need an excuse) are all efficient ways to protect yourselves from the offending image macros. However, in the more broad usage of the term, a meme is simply an idea or trend that spreads exponentially and with great speed. The Arab Spring could be classified as a meme. The Occupy Wall Street movement could be classified as a meme. Twerking could be classified as a meme. I know those three aren’t exactly comparable, but I don’t make the news.
While more subtle and less infuriating, these memes are also not without their pitfalls, and some of the more dangerous memes will disguise themselves as actual information you may be interested in. It is here that we discover what is quickly becoming the most threatening new meme: The click-bait list of what some fucking GQ writer who’s never swung an axe in his life thinks it means to be a man in the 21st Century. Like the memes described above, these lists are lazy, unoriginal and every time someone Facebook messages me a link to one I want to fucking kill myself, and not just for the usual reasons. All of the advice listed in these articles have no basis in science or fact (just like religion am I right? Huh? Yeah, fuck everyone who doesn’t think the same things as me) and are simply the opinions whichever smug ‘journalist’ is compiling them. Evidently the end goal for these ‘writers’ is to create a uniform definition of what man is and to weed out those they deem inferior, which historically has always worked out fantastically.1
The thing is though, and this is just my opinion, men don’t give enough of a fuck about what we think of them for this to be effective in anyway. Their beliefs in the world and in themselves are sturdy enough to not be shaken by a hastily written article in Esquire they read in the waiting room of their doctor’s office while waiting to get their prostate examined. Because that’s the only time men have the opportunity to read these articles. The rest of the time they’re busy doing things for other people and ignoring their own needs, which is why they’re just slightly disgruntled all of the time. The people who actually read these lists and take to heart their content are boys who want to play pretend. They’re the same people who constantly say they were born in the wrong decade because they don’t really get the point of Lana Del Rey, but who would sincerely think of killing themselves if their internet went out. Because then they couldn’t read articles about how they’re not really men and that they should be more like Steve McQueen and beat the shit out of their wives too. Either that or they’re just doing research for a thing they’re writing.
Like all memes, ‘You’re not a man and here’s why’ lists all contain pretty much the same pieces of ‘advice’ within them, most of which can be classed under the umbrella of ‘be nice to people and not overly mean to animals.’ However and undoubtedly one of the most oft repeated and borderline dangerous ‘recommandation’ is that we should all be shaving with straight razors. This is fucking terrible advice. First of all, shaving? Okay college boy. Secondly, there’s a reason we decided to stop using straight razors, and it’s the same reason they were succeeded by something called ‘safety razors.’ Saying someone is less of a man because they don’t use a straight razor is like saying someone is less of a man for wearing a seatbelt. I’m not saying you should steer full clear of anything with a sharp edge, electric razors can suck my dick. Just use a fucking Gillette two blade or something, your beard is made out of hair not titanium. Unless maybe you’re Wolverine, in which case just use your Wolverine claws. Idiot.
The point is memes are gay as shit and need to go. They are an even bigger waste of internet bandwidth than Wikipedia pages for pornstars, because seriously, who the fuck is doing a sixth grade report on Asa Akira? Okay, maybe you’re doing some Women’s Studies essay on why the over sexualisation of women in the media is wrong and that prostitution, sex work and pornography are all empowering feminist protests but you’re going to need references for that shit. Peer reviewed journal articles or you’re just throwing money away.
Also, if I’m going to switch to using a straight razor it won’t be because of GQ, it’ll be for the same reason I have an alcohol abuse problem, think vodka has any business being even near a martini and am belligerent around women, I saw James Bond do it once in a movie. And if anyone tries to tell you you’re not really a man because of some insignificant superficial reason, punch him in the fucking face then ride away on your motorcycle. Motorcycles are rad.
1 I know comparisons to Hitler in order to ‘win’ arguments are in themselves, a meme. Fuck off. Nerd. You’ll probably cack yourself at that stupid Wolverine joke later. Don’t send me emails I never even saw the fkn movie.