1: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture memes (discrete units of knowledge, gossip, jokes, and so on) are to culture what genes are to life. Just as biological evolution is driven by the survival of the fittest genes in the gene pool, cultural evolution may be driven by the most successful memes.— Richard Dawkins
2: an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media… the band encouraged fans to make memes to advertise the U.S. release of their EP …— William GrugerThe grumpy cat meme frowned its way onto the Internet in September 2012 and never turned its dissatisfied head back. Since then, the image of the cranky cat has grown more and more popular in direct proportion to appearing less and less impressed by fame.— Anastasia Thrift
I’ll admit it now. I’m conflating the two definitions; I don’t care. The right is good at making amusing and interesting pictures or videos. However, the left is fantastic at spreading ideas from person to person. Here’s how I know:
The left has promulgated its beliefs so thoroughly; people display this ugly sign in their yard, hoping other people will like them for it. No one makes yard signs with right-wing memes. When the right says the left can’t meme, they really say that the left isn’t funny. How could they be? They’re true believers. The left isn’t funny for the same reason Bible-thumping evangelicals aren’t funny. There’s no room for irony in zealotry.
I’ve remarked the sign above is the Nicene Creed of the church of woke. It states everything the left believes in. The only surprising thing about it is that it doesn’t end in “Awomen.”
Each line in that sign represents a large and complicated political issue. But the genius of it is that each line frames the argument as a moral false binary.
Black Lives Matter = You’re a racist if you think black likes don’t matter. But what does it represent: Police Brutality.
Women’s Rights Are Human Rights = You deny women deserve equal rights. Sexist. But what does it represent: Abortion.
No Human is Illegal = You’re against the founding principles of the United States. All men are created equal. Bigot. But what does it represent: Immigration.
Science Is Real = You oppose rationality. You disagree with this statement, so you admit to being an imbecile. Moron. But what does it represent: Recycling.
Love is Love = You’re against love? You’re a monster. Disney has taught us that love conquers all, and Christianity has told us love is the most important thing. It’s just hateful to be against love. But what does it represent: LGBT+.
The more I think about this yard sign, the more beautiful it becomes. It’s just amazing how it took what could be difficult academic arguments and converted them into obviously true statements.
It converts the rational into the emotional.
It converts a complicated discussion into a phrase you can hashtag. A phrase that means very little if taken literally, which is where the genius lies. Any person can argue for these slogans. All you have to do is negate the statement, and the opposition becomes a cruel, disgusting monster.
Are you saying Women’s rights AREN’T Human rights?
The argument practically wins itself. Who doesn’t want to be on the side that can easily win arguments? Who doesn’t want to be on the side of human rights and love? Nobody. This is why the left is great at memeing.
“All lives matter” is better in that your gut knows what it means. But it lacks specificity, so it doesn’t steal your attention. It has no novelty and is a platitude.
In essence, it was lame. Who wants to be on the side that can’t easily win arguments? Who wants to be lame? Nobody. This is why the right is terrible at memeing.