CRITICAL MEME THEORY
April 12, 2021
Although it is perhaps not my field, I feel it is necessary, at least on this occasion, to speak about economic theories. After all, the study of memes is inextricably linked to the idea of an economy — certainly you are aware of the concept of the “meme economy,” are you not?
If you aren’t, it is my responsibility to explain. You see, memes — just like real life corporate entities — can be invested in. Not only can they, but they must. They cannot succeed without it, once again, like real world companies. How do you invest in a meme, you may ask? There are several methods.
First and foremost, you may make a meme using a meme template or idea. Examples of this include: “Sarcastic Wonka,” “Baby Yoda,” and “Big Chungus.” This is the primary method employed by both amateur and professional meme investors. By making a meme and using a template, you are adding to its mythos, to its legend. You are investing your time in making the meme, and the result is you own a certain percentage of it, depending on how popular your variation gets. Do note, however, that economic disasters also carry over into the meme economy and should still be avoided. You do NOT want to invest in something only for it to have no return (i.e. a meme only getting five likes when you spent an hour on it).
In this seventh edition of a series of founding documents for Critical Meme Theory, memes (and text messages) will be broken down for the comprehension of the average man, bit by bit. You, the reader, will be presented with examples of the finest and most intellectual meme artistries to be created thus far. While some of these may prove to be frustratingly dense for most outside observers, you are asked to please try your hardest to mentally bear with us, even if your insufficient mental capacity limits your ability to do so.
Within this meme, we can see a microcosm of an economic system. Within the first panel, the character is stated (by an unseen narrator) to have no money of any kind. We can infer this is likely the truth, as the character is frowning, which is a common indicator of sadness (an emotion many people feel when they are poor and destitute).
Not to worry! In the next panel, we can see a similar looking (but ostensibly different, due to clothing) character who, depending upon your interpretation, may be the narrator we were previously introduced to, or he may simply be a new character altogether. Regardless, he looks quite pleased, and the text next to him reveals why. There is, in fact, a multi-step method for obtaining currency, and possibly even unlimited amounts of it. Again, even though economics may not be my field of study, I am aware of some of its intricacies. While many newcomers to the idea may not be aware, it is possible to generate currency for oneself via various methods, both legal and illegal. By stating this, this meme is not only demonstrating a knowledge of economics, but is also attempting to share said knowledge with the reader.
In the next panel (one must return to the leftmost side of the image to see it), we can observe the original character from panel one attempting to, as the narrator puts it, “find a job.” Remember those methods of generating revenue I mentioned? This is where that becomes relevant. In certain circles, the term “job” is a shorthand expression that refers to these methods. The meme is attempting to introduce readers to not only economic concepts, but also lingo and slang. I do hope this is not lost on you.
Now, as we cross into the fourth panel, we see a perhaps befuddling sight: our protagonist seems to have duplicated! The lack of context for such a bizarre turn of events seems confounding; however, there is an explanation for this. You see, our main character is the one located in the centre of the image: a symbolic nod to his importance in both this meme and your life, at least after you have seen his story. To his left and right, we can see two men who look quite similar to him; however, they clearly are not him, due to their aforementioned difference in size.
Within this panel, we can see, in-detail, what a “job” actually involves, and it’s shockingly simple! From the looks of it, these men are earning money by simply talking to each other on the telephone! One must wonder… why exactly are they doing this when they are right next to each other? Could it be that they are hard of hearing, or perhaps too shy to converse face to face? Whatever the case may be, this appears to be a remarkably simple activity! Many more people would likely seek out jobs if they knew of their ease.
In the penultimate panel, the narrator informs us that the next step in the sequence is to “eat [at a] diner and go to sleep.” Really?! After a day of chatting with people around you, the optimal course of action is to treat yourself to a meal at a diner and then proceed to sleep? Why, we all could have been making millions of dollars for years had we known this!
And finally, we come to the conclusion. Our main character, now flushed with currency, has long abandoned the frown he bore at the outset of this meme. Now, he proudly wears a wide and toothy smile, reflecting his triumph and newfound carefree life. The narrator explains that this strategy may be repeated ad infinitum, allowing for, as we expected, an unlimited amount of money. The work ends with a simple question, aimed perhaps at the reader, or even society in general. It reads:
Even though I am by no means an economist, I believe that I am qualified to answer this. If the methods described in this memetic work are indeed as effective as claimed (we have no reason to believe otherwise), then yes, I believe the economy could potentially suffer issues, assuming these methods are discovered by too wide a range of people. Perhaps let’s keep this a secret between us meme connoisseurs, hmm?
Well… I certainly hope this issue of Critical Meme Theory educated you, and maybe even emotionally affected you in some kind of way similar to the way it did me. Hopefully, you all may have an easier time making ends meet now.
As usual, while it is possible the analysis of this message may have proved rigorous and in-depth for most, it will be only the seventh in a long series of memes to be dissected by the eye of Critical Meme Theory. It is advised that you reread this document several times over, until you feel as though you properly understand each of its minute concepts. As both a citizen of the modern world and a consumer of modern pop culture, it is your duty to understand and critique every meme (and even every discussion of memes) you should come upon, no matter how complex it may appear to be. Always remember to be as ready as possible.