Memes fascinate me in three different ways: Creatively, sociologically, and technologically. I am amazed at the stuff people come up with, intrigued by the ones people choose to share, and curious about what makes a meme go viral. So, I have decided we need an occasional meme series. Now and again, at random intervals, I will post three memes and judge them. The winner moves on to the next round, and the next round cannot happen until I find two memes to compete with the current champion.
Just to make things even more interesting, the next round might appear on any WordPress site where I have posting privileges. Memes are judged by me on a 5-point scale for each of the following qualities:
- Visual Image Quality
- Interplay of Subtext and context
Here are the memes that made it into the first round:
Morpheus is a strong contender. He gets a 3 for humor, which means I chucked but did not laugh out loud while I liked, shared, and commented. A close-up of a compelling fictional character with a blurred background gets a 3 for visual; the 90’s-Fishburne bone structure bumps it up to 3.333, and the reflection in the sunglasses (is it Trinity or Neo? I cannot tell) earns a 3.5. The subtext-context relationship is good; The Matrix is a full-blown dystopia and the pay phones really have gone away. What with all the spying we’ve been dealing with over the past few years, and which we plan to talk about more in the future, I think a 3.5 is appropriate here, too.Morpheus rates 10 out of 15 total points. See what I mean about a strong contender?
This guy is ubiquitous. He once parallel parked a train. Cuba orders its cigars from him. I LMAO at this one, but I did not ROTFL while I was doing it. Obviously I liked, shared and commented, though. 3.5 for humor. The visual is ok. Composition-wise, it deserves a 3, but I am subtracting .25 on account of the fact that this is an image from a long-running TV commercial. It is good, yes, but it is what we always see.The Most Interesting Man in the World is certainly masculine, and he has good taste. So this is an appeal to his authority to say that assertive independent women are the best kind. It gets even funnier if you consider the possibility of irony. This guy has always struck me as the sort of sexist who would view women the way an art collector views statuary. You don’t have to agree, but I think the case is strong enough to earn this meme a 4 for context/subtext. It probably doesn’t hurt that we’ve been talking about sexism around here a bit lately (read the comments, please). This meme rates a 10.25.
Anyone who has ever been consigned to the D&D hell that is dealing with the Paladin-player and and the Dungeon Master having philosophical differences about the alignment definitions should fall out of their seats laughing and this. Anyone who is even a passingly-acquainted with the Military Orders of the Catholic Church should also fall out of their seats. It gets a 4 for humor from me, and I really did have the strongest reaction to it. But wait. People who geek out on history, religion, or RPGs are a pretty narrow audience. A lot of people just will not get the joke, so it loses a whole point for humor. Visually, it is very interesting. The crosses. The pole-arm heads in the foreground. Who is holding those pole arms – enemies, or an army he has raised? The background is fabulous. 3.5 for visual. The subtext/context is the thing that makes the difference. This meme says something more, but I am not sure what. I have to project some D&D or religious history onto it to find the meaning. This is where it fails as a piece of art. 2.5. So, even though it is as good as Morpheus visually, as a critic, I must give it the worst overall grade – a 9.0 (but I personally rate it a 10 because it made me laugh so hard). That is a very good grade for a meme, but not good enough to compete with The Most Interesting Man in the World, who will appear in the next round.
Now, the fun part: Judge them in your own way. What criteria will you use? Which one do you think is better?
And do you have a better meme than the winner? If so, talk to me. We can’t have a round two until I find two more memes to compete with the winner of this round.