Aaron R. Davis
In terms of the Internet, I am old. I don’t think 34 is that ancient — I’m a year younger than Drew Barrymore, after all, and she’s still getting away with her flighty fairy act in movies — but when it comes to the Internet, I may as well be a dinosaur.
You know what the Internet was when I was a kid? One guy in the neighborhood whose dad had one of those sleeves that you put the telephone receiver inside of so you could communicate in numerical sequences with other computers. (We called them telephones back then. And many of them were rotary. Look it up on Wikipedia.)
Today, the Internet is so second nature that my youngest sister, who was born in 1995, doesn’t quite believe me when I tell her what it was like growing up without the Internet. Her generation grew up learning to communicate — or do what passes for communicating — on the Internet. When I grew up, you had to talk to your friends’ faces to tell them a joke instead of emailing them a picture with a misspelled caption.
Over the past five or so years, I’ve watched as the Internet memes have taken hold, and I have to say, I am pretty tired of them. (Well, all of them except for Godzilla Haiku, but I can tell you without reservations, as the creator of Godzilla Haiku, that Godzilla Haiku are awesome. Moving on.) I just don’t know what reactions Internet memes want from me anymore.
Seriously, I just saw somebody Rickrolling people the other day. I mean … people are still Rickrolling? Didn’t that go out of fashion a couple of years ago when Cartoon Network got Rick Astley to appear live and Rickroll the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
Actually, what’s interesting to me about Rickrolling is that it’s managed to survive for so long. Quite frankly, the life cycle of the Internet meme is getting shorter and more irritating.
It used to be that the meme would appear on the Internet, become compounded with overuse and then be tossed in our mental slush pile and forgotten about. That was usually the time when the meme would start to hit real life, and you started hearing it on the news, from late night comedians, or — really hitting the bottom of the barrel — seven months later on an episode of Family Guy. Then it appears on t-shirts and Facebook stickers, and then, with everyone sick of it, it would disappear.
Today, I guess thanks to Tumblr’s meme-friendly set-up, I’m sick of these things about four days after they appear. I’m sure we’re all sick of “O RLY?” and “All your base are belong to us” and the guy in the Tron costume. But, lame as they were, they took a year or so to really get bored with. Now, I’m so sick of Sad Keanu and Strutting Leo and all of the Okay faces and Ragetoons and Forever Alone faces that I’m starting to not be able to remember a time in my life when I was seeing them every goddamn day.
Insanity Wolf? What do you want from me? Your answer to every problem is to fuck it, rip it apart and fuck it some more. You need therapy.
Double rainbow? Put the drugs down and go back to work.
Google Fail. I’m on a Boat. Push Button, Receive Bacon. Fred fucking Figglehorn. Fuck My Life. My Life Is Awesome (which is all made-up bullshit). You can have an entire conversation with just Internet memes now. Not a good one, of course, but if you wanted a good conversation, you wouldn’t be on the Internet to begin with.
Lolcats? Okay, no, lolcats are still funny.
Look, I have nothing against comedy bits or funny pictures. It’s just that, when you’ve repeated them a thousand times in a day, they cease being funny. And despite what Seth McFarlane or Carlos Mencia or Dane Cook would have you think, humor is not just reminding you of stuff you’ve seen somewhere else or repeating a Bill Cosby routine and pretending it’s your own. Hitler gets angry about something … it’s one joke, repeated to the point that I want to puke just thinking about it.
And please, for chrissakes, when you see someone clever doing Selleck Waterfall Sandwich, don’t decide that you should do Bruce Jenner Outer Space Pizza Frog Donkey Cats under the misguided theory that making a picture more of a mess will make it funnier. (Yes, I’ve seen this kind of thing happen more than once. More than nine times, actually …)
The bar is set so low now that fake Facebook conversations between fictional characters, the over-repetition of lines from Mean Girls and putting song lyrics into an imagined facsimile of speech from the 18th Century are becoming the height of humor on the Internet.
And the worst — absolute worst — of the meme bunch: Chuck Norris. People are still making Chuck Norris memes. I hate this garbage the most, because it actively makes the Internet irritating. It ends Internet friendships for me. Just because Chuck Norris made some incredibly lame movies when you were nine, you’ve gone out and made an entire industry out of how bad ass you think he is.
And that’s opened the door to him writing weird, scary, homophobic, extreme right wing, crypto-fascist ramblings online as though he’s a political pundit. So now, when you want to complain about Chuck Norris saying we should tattoo the words “In God We Trust” on the head of every atheist, or that all brown people should be kicked out of the country regardless of whether they were born here, or that all gay people should be sent to reeducation camps, some asshole answers you with “Freddy Krueger doesn’t sleep because he’s afraid Chuck Norris will kill him in his dreams!”
Excuse me; I have to go punch something for a minute just thinking about it.
Internet, all I ask is this: you ruined ninjas, robots, pirates and zombies. Can you please stop chewing those bones and just go ruin something else?
Suggestion: your lives.
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.