10 Things Meme Makers Are Sick of Hearing
Memes — it seems like they’re everywhere these days. While they were once known only to a few teens posting on obscure message boards, they’ve made their way into everything from big brands’ advertising campaigns to your grandfather’s angry, right-leaning Facebook wall. And while they may seem to come out of nowhere, the fact is that memes don’t create themselves. They’re the work of creative caption-ers with a love of both clever quips and the visual arts. But that doesn’t mean making memes is always smooth sailing — besides the angry comments of Redditors who don’t get your sense of humor, you often have to deal with IRL (in real life) comments like these ones:
10: “Isn’t it pronounced ‘mee-mee’?”
Imagine going up to a doctor and asking if the bones in your back spelled “spine” ‘are pronounced ‘spee-nay’?” I got news for you, until you’ve gotten over a hundred upvotes or likes on a meme, you haven’t earned the right to tell the people who labor away on captions every day how to pronounce their chosen medium of art.
9: Why Don’t You Make A [Kermit the Frog/Minion/Scumbag Steve etc.] Meme?
The thing about memes is that you often come up with the idea first, then find the perfect image to match it. Asking someone to make a meme based on a common picture shows you’re getting the creative process totally backwards. You wouldn’t go up to Stephen King and say “Why don’t you write a book with the word ‘breadcrumbs’ in it?”
8: “That’s not a meme, that’s a macro.”
Pedantic meme nerds will often get lost in the woods of differentiating a “meme” that features a small amount of new text on a common image from a “macro,” the more general term for captioned pictures on the internet, but the fact is, today everyone knows that memes can be any picture with text that you post online. These are the same people giving you a hard time for saying “Frankenstein” instead of “Frankenstein’s Monster.” Get over it!
7. “You’re just captioning other people’s work”
Are we still doing this? Haven’t you heard of Remix Culture? I suppose Aretha Franklin never should have covered “Respect” because it was originally sung by Otis Redding? If anything, it takes MORE creativity to come up with a new take on a meme everyone’s seen a million times, not less. By these meme-shamers’ logic, someone taking a photo of the Mona Lisa and carefully applying a really cool Instagram filter isn’t as creative as the person that painted it.
6: “Memes are stupid”
Some people claim memes are “stupid” because all they do is express a common sentiment over an unoriginal picture — but by that logic, people doing funny IRL jokes like “that’s what she said” or quoting “Anchorman” are “stupid.” Memes are just the latest example of a form of humor where the laughter is generated not by surprise but by remembering the first time you laughed at something and then laughing at it again, a natural human reaction that is hardly unique to the “stupid” among us.
5: “Have You Seen [Some other meme]?”
Do you like it when your significant other brings up some mutual acquaintance just to say how ‘hot’ they are? Of course not, and meme makers are subject to the same jealousy as anyone else, so do us a favor and don’t bring up other memes when we corner you at a party, pull out our phones and start scrolling through our saved albums of memes, asking “what do you think of this one?” and staring at you until you respond with a laugh or a “that’s… that’s a good… is it pronounced ‘mee-mee’?”
4: “You Should work for [Big media company]?”
It’s the dream of every meme-maker to work for Buzzfeed or some other “listicle” organization posting daily memes recapping the previous night’s television events. But in the meantime we hate being reminded that right now we’re getting paid in ‘likes’ and Reddit ‘karma’ and not actual dollars, so let’s stop rubbing it in, mmmm K?
3: “What is a meme?”
I don’t care how old and out of touch you are, you MUST have heard of memes. There’s no way anyone is asking this other than to insinuate that memes are somehow less important than novels or symphonies or any other form of art. You want to be snarky? Instead of putting down meme makers, why not just make your OWN meme? Oh yeah, you’re not a genius like us meme-ers!
2: “I saw a funny meme where [describes non-meme]?”
While everyone knows what memes are, there’s nothing more irritating than when people don’t even do a little research into your world before trying to discuss it with you. Imagine going up to a jazz musician and saying “I heard a great jazz song” and then describing a Justin Bieber tune that happened to have a saxophone solo. That’s no different then approaching meme-makers and telling us about a “meme” that is actually a GIF, a Vine or, heaven-forbid, merely a Tweet.
1: “I could make memes if I wanted.”
Oh really? You could make memes but choose not to? Have you even heard of websites like MemeGenerator.com or apps like Meme Factory? You want to talk the meme talk, let’s see you walk the meme walk. What’s that? You’re scared you won’t get any likes on Facebook or you’ll get actual DOWNVOTES on Reddit? Meme-ing isn’t for the faint of heart, so respect our craft! Because if you don’t, guess what… you’re the real SCUMBAG (Steve).
Tony Zaret is a meme maker who has created over 50 original memes and currently has a Reddit “link karma” of over 2,000 points, all thanks to upvotes on his memes.