The University of Alberta Memes Facebook page took the community’s fancy very quickly — it was near-impossible to not be bombarded by pictures from the page when it blew up. If you somehow managed to avoid having it monopolize your feed, you’d still be messaged by a friend who couldn’t wait to share with you what would happen to Uber Frosh if he partied at Lister. After a couple days, it got to be a little bothersome.
At the risk of sounding like a hipster, it was funnier back at the beginning. That is, before it became a minor fad. The people who first latched on to the meme page are the people who actually know and understand what a meme is. A good meme is like a well-told joke. It requires a proper set-up. There is comedic timing involved. It has a twist that subverts the set-up and completes the joke. A funny meme takes skill.
For the most part, we as a school don’t have that skill.
It’s like how a joke told by a comedian is much, much funnier than the same joke being told by that guy in your zoology class. Being funny is hard, and we now have definitive proof to verify that in the form of hundreds of failed attempts at humour.
For every perfectly utilized Suspicious Fry, there’s 15 painfully executed Scumbag Steves with punchline-free text simply insulting engineers in a very non-scumbag way. What we can take from this failure is that it has now been scientifically proven that it takes a hundred U of A students working diligently for three days to officially run out of funny things to say on the internet.
Our school’s brief attempt at assimilating this part of nerd culture quickly failed, but the horrifying results remain. It’s like a graveyard of twisted, tortured, misused memes that should never again be entered. But no, turns out getting it wrong on Facebook is only one aspect of a larger problem.
As I sat in CAB eavesdropping on others’ conversations, noting their lives sound boring — sad, coming from the guy sitting alone eating microwavable soup — I heard snippets of people trying to talk in memespeak.
Stop doing that.
Don’t ever say, “That awkward moment when…” when you can just say, “It was awkward when…” and finish the story. It doesn’t work when you say it — it’s like how describing a funny picture isn’t funny. You wouldn’t tolerate if I just walked up to you, knocked your books down, kicked them away, yelled “trollface!” and skipped away trollololing. Not understanding the proper context of these memes is exactly why people got them wrong. Embracing memes into our daily vocabulary makes absolutely no sense to anyone.
All good things come to an end, and that end should be now for the meme page. It should be left to die. It was funny for a day, tolerable for a few, and unbearable for the rest. I’m sure a campus of 30,000 students can find another way for engineers and arts students to insult each other. We were all given a chance to use meme humour and we failed. We should leave the medium to the people who understand it.
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