It has been awhile, I apologise. Things are happening, and I finally do not need to worry as much as I did before.
Today I wish to talk about the social media version of email motivational quote spam. You know, the sixty or seventy emails you got from your mum’s best friend wishing you prosperity, being cured of cancer and wanting you to hug a tree? Remember how you had to wear sunglasses due to all the computerised glitter? Fun times! Now this woman has friended you on FB! (She also likes to use exclamation points.) All social media platforms have various forms of these spam offerings, but we know them now as memes. Are the motivational quotes with white girls in First Nations headdresses considered memes?
I seem to think so. Hell, memes like this one are all annoying, regardless. I will give credit to the meme-o-makers; they are now a far cry from cats with terrible grammar.
I have been complaining a lot lately regarding this very issue. I find my Facebook page littered with sentiments; sentiments created by one person and shared by millions. Now, I do not mind the odd post like this, as sometimes there is a quote or a line that catches my eye and I share. I have seen some people post twenty or thirty of these – a day. That is why I got irked. I was called out, asked to take a break from Facebook, unfollow the person. Sure, I could do all those things, but the person is invading other peoples’ space needs to take a break as well. Understanding Street runs two ways.
I do question how many moods a person can be in when I see a boatload of motivation. Also, though the idea of the post meets your need, it is not you, they are not your words, they are put together to be shared by millions. You could say the same about sharing a poem by Keats; however, there is room for discussion and exploration. Those types of posts encourage communication.
Here is where I get most of my displeasure from – fake news. Gawd! I just wrote that. Goodness, gracious. Like the email spams of yore, memes have (besides a lesson in how not to form sentences) a source for false information. I had to block my uncle for sending a barrage of self-help emails; all sent with kindness, all dumped in the bin with grumpiness. The meme below is one of my favourites (not the exact one, but you will get the idea), as praised by a woman I used to work with who got all her cures for cancer from Facebook:
To make a further claim, fear mongering and hate speech have found a friend in the meme, which is not surprising. As these vehicles are easy to create, all you need is an audience. Mind you; the same group found their way into email spam as well, only now we have a better way to report it. Not that it means anything.
For the sake of myself and to not add fuel to the bigotry fire, I will not post any racist or xenophobic meme of any kind. I have watched family members go off the rails over certain events, like the Syrian refugee settlements, the Brent Kavanaugh hearing, Islam in general, the Climate Action Incentive (aka: The Carbon Tax!!!) and any other subject that may be linked to immigrants, the LGBTQ community and snow in the middle of June. The memes related to the topics mentioned above are vile, violent and incredibly disgusting. They are now a source of news for some people – literally. These memes are created out of anger as the motivational ones are made out of love. Much like the cinnamon-honey picture, the idea that a person gets their news information from a home-made create-a-meme program makes me sad. Just like the Quote of the Day, these images and messages cloud our spaces, and there is not much for us to do.
Yes, there is. There is a conversation. As I have done, in not so subtle ways, I have made my position clear: take it down a notch. I see good people, caring and charitable, who post disgusting memes about veterans, the homeless, the marginalised and the government – always, the latter is failing the former – sometimes combining all four. Okay, we are free to dislike the government, but to post something that encourages violence or uses derogatory language is not allowed on my space – I will call them out. On the flip-side, kind-hearted people want to share love and joy through visual art and words, but if they do it too much – I will call them out. I have considered the Sarah Silverman approach, but you cannot change those who do not know the difference between possessive and plural and those who do not understand the meaning of cliché.
Now, I realise the meme posters will continue to do so, as is their right. I will scroll past, say the f-word, then find a story about dinosaurs in Peru or naughty pictures available at The British Library.