We here at the Atlantic Wire have an abiding love of Internet memes. The Lady Gaga military parody, the Mike Tyson cannoli interview, and the jihad against triscuits have all made our recent rotation. So we're reeling at the alarming argument made in today's Washington Post by none other than Joe Randazzo, the editor of The Onion. Randazzo declares that we should end Internet memes. Forever.
What used to be an amusing byproduct of Internet use has mutated into something horrible: an insatiable parasite that impairs its host's judgment, rendering it totally useless. Instead of acting as an organic cultural touchstone, the modern meme -- from LOL, which hasn't been used to signify physical laughter since 1997, to Lolcats -- now sucks the joy out of our interconnectedness. It destroys uniqueness. Once an "enjoyable thing" becomes a "meme," we stop enjoying the thing for its own sake, but consume and regurgitate our enjoyment of it as a symbol of hipness, as if to say: "I am aware of this thing's popularity -- therefore I, too, exist!"
It's unclear what we're all supposed to do with our day in a world without Internet memes. But Randazzo's heartfelt conclusion gives us a hint. "Life on the Internet moves too fast," he writes. "There's no time to let experience meet friction, or to absorb and truly reconstitute information. So slow down, breathe, and appreciate what's real in life."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.