Look, we all post memes on Facebook. They can be very addictive. They say what we feel and in a humorous way usually, and they get directly to the point.
They thus function as shortcuts to long drawn out arguments, save us time in research, and let us feel sublimely satisfied that we have done our part to enrich the grey matter in thousands of heads.
Yes, we have wild dreams don’t we?
The trouble is, that like every shortcut, we try to use it all the time, even when we are going in the opposite direction, because we are en mass, lazy. Lazy breeds error Louise, or didn’t you know that. And if my meanderings through the Facebook hallways is any indication there is plenty of arrested thinking going on out there in the Internets.
Breaking News: ALL MEMES AREN’T TRUE, IN FACT PROBABLY MOST OF THEM AREN’T.
See, creators of memes are sometimes well-meaning people who look shit up and then save you the trouble of doing the same. They create these precious memes that say so much with so little. But not all creators are well-meaning. Some are just snotty kids with lots of time to screw around, and they too create memes. Except these memes aren’t vetted for accuracy. Their only point is to superficially make some “point” that is amusing, or anger provoking, or otherwise successful in making your nod your head in any direction as long as it’s vigorously.
And these memes, the gawd-awful not true ones create havoc among the mostly rusty and ill-experienced body politic. For some reason, I end up trying to correct this nonsense, at least as to those that piss me off the most.
And I end up arguing with idiots.
And that is boring, irritating, and not worth my time.
So for once and for all:
- LOCAL MAYOR REFUSES TO REMOVE PORK FROM SCHOOL CANTEEN MENU AND EXPLAINS WHY. This meme goes on to explain in great detail that the mayor of Montreal received complaints from Muslim parents and a request to remove pork from the menu of the local schools their children attended. He basically told them, according to the meme, to adopt “Canadian values” or move some place else.
This was accompanied by a lead in that said, “This is what every country or city should feel and mandate!!”
Now folks. First of all, this meme is a hoax, a common problem on Facebook these days with fact being stranger than fiction. In fact the original hoax started with it being a Belgian mayor.
Several posters exuberantly agreed, however, one explaining to me that “they should not impose their values on the majority of this country.” When I asked who “they” were, and what values she was speaking of, a huge silence ensued. I tried to explain that dietary laws of one’s religion are not “values” but actual laws, the same that Jews have engaged in for centuries.
Of course the meme is harsh, cruel, and would not seemingly reflect the beliefs of any thinking normal person, but thinking normal people aren’t posting and agreeing with it either. Non-thinking folks are, because they have bought into the Fox Noise scare machine.
Seemingly the poster and those who so happily agreed, forget that back in our time in the 60’s we all had meatless Fridays in the cafeteria at school year round because we respected the dietary laws of the Catholic church. Protestants went along even though their faith traditions carried no such restriction.
Somehow with Muslims it is different. The conclusion is obvious.
This one refers to “illegal aliens” or now refugees. It similarly is nonsensical.
There is no doubt that vets are being denied a good many benefits, but there is no relationship between that and either undocumented workers or refugees.
When we talk about veteran benefits, we talk about increases in pay, increases in disability pay, better services at VA hospitals and clinics, better educational opportunities, perhaps in grants and loans, better job opportunities such as preference in the job pool. We may talk about the availability of food stamps, something used by thousands of vets to get by. These issues have nothing to do with immigrants or refugees.
There are no benefits coming to either. Neither group is entitled to food stamps, assistance, medical health care insurance, or anything else.
It is a false dichotomy. When prodded, posters and those in agreement refuse to explain what veterans are not getting that these other groups get instead. That is because they cannot answer. They just find the meme soothing to their anger.
Their anger arises because they have bought into the hate machine that is Fox and other right wing fanatics who tell them that immigrants and “others” take their jobs, use up their tax money on free stuff the government gives them, and destroys their culture (meaning the way white folks like to do stuff). None of this is true of course, but Fox and right wing crazies depend on deflecting the real anger of how American operates back on victims of the system rather than the perpetrators (business oligarchs who control government).
The point is, the meme creator knew that using veterans in the meme would get immediate sympathy. We love to tout our love for the troops. We aren’t so good at touting our hatred of war as a solution but we sure wave flags at the wounded. So the veterans is the “victim” and the immigrant the “bad” guy as the meme creator intended.
The fact that there is no logical nexus between the two is irrelevant. A statement is made and hopes to find fertile ground in the untilled soil of the average non-thinking American.
3. Perhaps the silliest of them all is the perennial “war on Christmas”always resurrected in November of each and every year and harped on by Fox and the rest of the right wing babblers.
A string of seemingly defiant posters and commenters all shout dramatically, “Merry Christmas” and feel that they have done as much as anyone who hid a Jewish person in their attic during World War II.
Except folks, it’s all in your imagination.
The first question I ask is “who is telling you you can’t say Merry Christmas”? Silence.
“They are trying to change our values.” Who? Silence.
Who has ever objected to your use of the phrase Merry Christmas? “Someone has. . . .”
Silly folks, this crap goes back to the late 50’s and the John Birch Society. It rose again under the tutelage of Foxy Noise and is brought up every year.
The truth is that SOME businesses find it PROFITABLE to use more generic terms (INCLUSIVE?) to refer to the holidays in the hopes of engendering a BROADER clientele who will come shop for the “holiday”. Unless you work for them and are constrained in how you speak to customers so as to abide by this PROFIT DECISION, you are not similarly constrained.
You may shout Merry Christmas all day and night and the secular police won’t be knocking at the door. There is no secular police. There is no “they”. There are no “values” at stake here.
So take your Starbucks cup and paste on some fake snowflakes and tell yourself that now Jesus is happy and shut the fuck up.
Look, memes are fun. They can be informative. But they can be both misleading and deceiving. We all make mistakes. We live in a world where truth is stranger than fiction oftimes and insane memes can sometimes be absolutely true. We have all been caught by hoaxes. We all must be more diligent.
There are serious issues that confront this country and this world. Poverty in all its ramifications stifle the best that humanity has to offer in favor of the few who live easily and can devote their time to discovery. Climate change threatens us all. The rule of oligarchs endangers every so-called democratic system. We are woefully under-educated in other people, other places, and other ideologies and faith systems. We need thinking meaningful conversations on these and many other issues.
We don’t need to waste time on hating the OTHER. We don’t need to waste time on non-existent dangers. We need to focus our meagre free time on information that is truthful and enlightening.
Take a moment to think before you post. Cuz I’ll be foaming at the mouth and leave nasty remarks if you don’t.