Death of the Meme

On Thursday night at the Michigan Difference Leadership Event there was a portion of the show dedicated to “dying memes and other cultural phenomena.”

What does this even mean?

It was a montage of Honey Boo Boo–who I luckily avoided on my recent hiatus from tv/internet, the Harlem Shake–aka appropriative white people convulsing to a bastardized song, someone driving a car–sadly not Glozell, Taylor Swift–singing without goats (because that gem will never die), and others. Put to sad music we “mourned” this YouTube video while staring at a screen, in the union, in Ann Arbor: far away from anyone who is connected to these glimpses of “culture.” I felt like I was cheering for a cement wall so I decided to eat more cheese.

But these “cultural” phenomena won’t pass away. There will always be someone getting their own TV show for being “different,” white people will always be awkward and offensive, people will always drive (not me!), Taylor Swift will continue to age but sing for adolescent girls while she simultaneously shames their existence.

Even then, these “2012-2013” memes and videos will live on. Bon Qui Qui and Nyan Cat are still out there, Afrocircus? Still out there. As long as we have Internet we will always have our entertaining distractions.

That’s what fascinates me. Do things ever disappear from the Internet or get destroyed? Or do they stay on the web forever? Will we be able to access these things in years to come? Decades? Centuries?

New forms of art have a lifetime that is infinite and preservable. That awkward vlog you made will outlast you. That offensive tweet I tweeted will stay on twitter till it tweets its dying tweet. My rage toward the world on Facebook will be eternal rage. That’s badass.

So as I write my final papers, study for my last exams, drink pots of coffee, check the weather for NYC (and not Ann Arbor), dress inappropriately for the rain, accidentally leaves bits of clothing everywhere I visit, and eat carrots—that man’s abs I reblog that are “artsy” or that video I favorite will never leave the world. They may leave my vision, or my mind, but they are only a click away.

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