Memes are serious business.
It wasn’t always like this; they used to be irreverent, funny or largely pointless. Some were even deeply offensive, but no one gave a crap. At least, not until Pepe the Frog became an actual campaign issue in an actual Presidential election. Why the hell are these older figures suddenly taking up the tactics of 4chan shitposters? Well…
They Don’t Know Millennials
One of the biggest reasons is that politicians – like a lot of businesses – treat talking to under-35s like some kind of puzzle that must be solved. If we’re not listening to somebody, it must be because they’re not using enough advice animals or whatever the “cool” trend of the moment is.
Flooding The Media
Politicians want to blast their message everywhere they can, and there’s no escaping them. First it was buses, billboards, leaflets, phone calls, TV adverts and newspapers. Now they want to reach your Facebook feed, and what better way than with a patronising photoshop image that’s supposed to go viral?
Nobody really “owns” a meme, yet they’re the internet’s most famous faces. With a basic image editor they can be made to say anything, and before you know it Pedobear and Courage Wolf are telling you how to feel about mass immigration. The EU Referendum even saw an attempt to paint Grumpy Cat as a Leave supporter (above).
They Last Forever
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 19, 2016
Once you put something on the internet, it’s never going away. The posters might come down, the manifestos quietly shredded, but that silly image macro you posted is going to be circulated, chopped, changed and twisted over the course of its life – just look at how long that Skittles post has lasted. That’s why you find yourself making the same arguments again and again.