Saturday, January 30, 2010

know your meme

The only thing I maybe like more than internet memes is the "scientification" of them, such that they are transformed into post-hip objects of analysis.  For example:  explain Advice Dog to your mother and you have participated in the un-cooling of an internet meme.  Fun!  Web-nerds are very possessive about their memes, so if they suspect them of being "exploited" in some fashion, they'll typically respond with hilariously absurd and inappropriate outrage.

As such, I love this site:  Know Your Meme.  If you're just not spending enough time on the internet to know about Ninjas vs. Pirates (and RealUltimatePower), then visit here and absorb the data kindly collected by the fine folks at the Rocketboom Institute for Internet Studies.  Or if you prefer the sublime laziness of video...

If the topic intrigues you, you might also want to check out this article from the latest Wired, on Ben Huh, the founder of LolCats, FAIL Blog, GraphJam, and more.  Perhaps more than anyone else, he has exploited internet memes for his own profit and selfishness, making "FAIL" usage so widespread that it makes you want to stab yourself with a pencil.  But, of course, I love it.  "Fashionable" memes spread until they become so popular that they're unpopular.  "Oh, you know about that too?  Well, I guess that Keyboard Cat is lame now."  How awesomely pretentious.  The internet has sparked a unique (and yet so played out) manifestation of the cool contest, perhaps best exemplified by the music nerds of yesteryear ("Oh, you know about King Missile?  Well, I guess they suck now.").  There's nothing more satisfying, perhaps, than watching the hipsters squirm as their fashion sense and musical taste, and now internet knowledge, are co-opted by the Oprah Winfreys of the world.

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