Horrible puns aside, when I first started taking notice of memes on the internet, it probably wasn’t until I was in college and actually used the internet for more than just school work, games and YouTube videos. For the most part, the entire subject of memes is an interesting one, because it is intriguing how they come about and propagate all over the World Wide Web. Sometimes, I see a meme and laugh at the topic because I understand the references made through the text and pictures; other times, I end up having to look up the origins of the meme I am looking at on Know Your Meme, because the reference eludes me. Andrea Terry, on her blog COMM 663: Digital Religion, says that “’meme’ is derived from the word, ‘enthymeme,’ a type of Aristotelian argument that leaves out one of more of the premises, or comes to an incomplete conclusion.” From my understanding, memes are used by people to express their thoughts on a subject in a sometimes humorous manner. Based on the subject matter and the associated picture, a meme can either be successful and relatable in some form or it could be unsuccessful and completely miss the point that it was supposed to convey in the first place.
Speaking of relatable memes, let’s take a look at one of my all-time favorites: Grumpy Cat. According to the page on Know Your Meme, Grumpy Cat was created in 2012 when Tardar Sauce’s (the name of the cat) owner, Tabitha Bundeson, posted pictures of her online. Bundeson’s brother later took those pictures and posted them on the /r/pics subreddit, where the meme then spread and became internet famous within 48 hours. This first example of Grumpy Cat turns the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” on it’s head. The whole idea behind the Grumpy Cat meme is that she hates the world and everything in it, so any kind of positive statement or feeling is not something Grumpy Cat puts up with.
With any catchy jingle, anyone who watches television or listens to the radio should recognize what this image macro is parodying. Whereas State Farm is “always there,” “like a good neighbor,” Grumpy Cat would rather everyone just stay away from her in general. It’s funny because you can replace the lines from the original jingle with this image macro and it would sound just as catchy, just with a different connotation. It’s odd being able to sing a happy sounding jingle with words that convey a message of wanting to be left alone.
Further proof that Grumpy Cat does not have a care in the slightest about you or any of your problems. She just wants to see the world burn and be in endless turmoil and sadness. I definitely would not recommend going to Grumpy Cat for advice or consolation; you will get no sympathy from her. I am pretty sure she would only make your depression worse. I feel like the next sentence that would fit with this image macro is “Get the f*ck over it;” cruel words, but probably nicer than anything else the internet could come up with to add to that statement.
The first half of the picture shows an adorable cat that wants to spread cheer to all, quoting the saying that “smiles are contagious”. This does nothing to prevent Grumpy Cat from continuing to mope, as apparently she has been vaccinated to prevent smiles. Not even any attempts at making Grumpy Cat happy is good enough to change her outlook on life. Her constant anger is only matched by her strong sass. Granted, she probably has a legitimate reason to be angry at the world; I think I would be upset too, if someone named me something as ridiculous as “Tardar Sauce”.
The following image macro has perverted a children’s nursery rhyme, turning it into a threatening blurb that should not be taught to any kid ever. Just like with the State Farm jingle, the words in the caption fit the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” quite well. This is just a reminder to never let Grumpy Cat sing you the song of her people; it is probably your death knell.
It’s amazing what the internet has done with a few images of a cat that appears to be constantly mad. How they managed to create an entity filled with rage contained in an adorable, fluffy animal is beyond me. With the sheer amounts of content and products made from having images of this one feline go public, it is no wonder that Mike Rugnetta of the PBS Idea Channel theorizes that the internet is cats. Honestly, I’m okay with that idea; I love cats and this is one of my favorite string of memes ever.