Like this!

Like this if you love your daughter (son, mother, father, total ef-ing stranger). The implication is that by not like said meme, you don’t love whomever. It’s very passive-aggressive. Very. And who in the hell are you to tell me when and where to express my feelings about people I love? Fuck you.

Like this if you support our soldiers. Well, just so you know, I can support and respect our soldiers without being happy about what they do, or supportive of the administration that put them in harm’s way. I have 350 Facebook “friends” and I don’t think one of them is in the military, so how will the soldiers know I support them? Is there some sort of Facebook-fairie out there counting meme likes and then running to Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Kuwait, or wherever else they have been sent! They won’t know – and if deployed U. S. soldiers have the time and resources to be playing on Facebook, counting memes, our resources are not well spent, bring them home!

Isn’t liking a meme like this just clogging up my friends’ feeds? Facebook now has one billion users. One billion! How good are its servers? Is meme-liking a necessary thing? Really? Don’t get me wrong, I like and share things all the time on Facebook. But memes that say like this if… annoy me. They’re passive-aggressive. They bring out the Irish in me.

Like this if you hate child abuse. What does that even mean? Who likes child abuse? Like this if you hate cancer. No, really, I think cancer is awesome – let’s do this thing… Like this if you support women’s rights. Nah, who needs rights? It seems rhetorical to me.

Like this if you think Jesus saves and you’ll go to heaven. God posting Facebook memes, I could see it, a large semi-captive, completely addicted audience… It’d be good press. Who needs church? Or good deeds? Just like the ef-ing meme. That’ll get you a ticket to heaven.

It always amazes me when I see memes that say, “Like this and wait 15 seconds and something amazing will happen.” What? I will realize I have been an ass? Not a Dogberry sort of ass, but rather a Colonel Klink, you-should-get-a-Darwin-Award sort of ass. And everyone will know you’re an ass, because you have just spread your particular stupidity to everyone on your friends list.

The ones that get me, suck me in, steal minutes from my life, are the memes that say, like if you can see the hidden message, count the hidden faces, people, words, whatever. Because it’s a clear challenge. If you don’t like this you’re stupid, blind, foolish, not in the cool kids’ club. I have always struggled with the desire to be in the cool kids’ club. I never was in the in crowd. Ever. Somehow, I think liking something on Facebook isn’t going to change that. It’s an unrealistic expectation. A set-up. I resist temptation.

I do share memes that carry information, and often memes that make me laugh. And I like news articles, editorials, blog posts, even status updates. But I believe that liking passive aggressive memes says something negative about all of us. If I want to tell someone that I love him or her, I call, send an email, a text message—do something nice for them. If I want to commune with God, I find good deeds to do, a tree to hug; there is not now, nor will there ever be communion with God in a meme on Facebook. And if you find such communion, either seek out professional help, or share whatever it is you’re taking!

Recently, a meme to appear (and reappear) in my feed is a photograph of a patch that reads, “I will not be forced to learn a foreign language to accommodate illegals in my country.” Really? Once upon a time, not so very long ago, learning a foreign language was considered a necessary part of a liberal education – and by liberal I don’t mean political, I mean generous. A liberal education means a generous education, that encompasses many, diverse things. And to be fair, most countries insist upon the citizenry learning a second language in school. Most people in the world are taught English. I have taken: Latin, French, and German. I can speak French. I can read Latin, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and bits and pieces of German and Irish. I was liberally educated. The United States does not have a national language; we have a tradition. Learning a second language isn’t political, it is mature, responsible, generous. It is based in the idea that everyone has a right to be understood. Deal with it.

So, please, trust that I love the people in my life – and that they don’t need to reassured by a meme on Facebook. Trust that the God of my understanding isn’t necessarily the same as yours, and might not require such outward expressions or repeated proselytizing, that I respect soldiers, think child, spousal, animal abuse is detestable, and I am not going to change my politics based on a meme. Stop being passive-aggressive, talk to people, don’t duplicate meaningless-memes.

Now, if you saw something funny, ironic, or deep, share it with me. If I repost or share something it is for one of these reasons. You’re welcome, I work to not spam your feed with passive-aggression. Let your liberalism be generous, considerate sort—and not onerous and invasive.


6 thoughts on “Like this!

  1. You had me at: Fuck you. I too loathe the meme tradition, although in my case it’s been the blog award memes. Any time I get one, I lose that blogging friend, because I call ’em for what they are: a thinly disguised chain letter that amounts to eff-all. If you want a giggle, come read this limerick I wrote about memes–and feel free to delete the link from your comments. (I don’t like to push promote) but I bet you’ll get a kick out of it. 🙂

  2. I found this to be a snarky attack (which I like) on anti-intellectualism and the degradations of popular culture, as captured in many FB posts. I am lousy at foreign languages but I value the Greek and Latin that I remember. Latin helped me understand the structure of English through diagramming. Greek actually turns up in English in surprising fashions, mostly in scientific or medical derivations. Both bent my head and helped me appreciate the numerous ways of expressing the past through verb tense, the flexibility of being and the slipperiness of intransitive states, and the elegance of subjunctive expression, particularly in certain Latin dependent clauses containing only two words. My world is richer for even my desultory encounter with these ‘dead’ languages.

  3. This is great! I’m glad I am not the only one who has these sorts of thoughts when presented with stupid posts. As with my fellow commenters Languages in school made my head hurt. I took three years of German in High School and was not terrible at it. (I took 2 years of Latin, but we should not go there, right Ms. Carini?) Now, 35 years later, I was recently put in charge of a group of ten Exchange Students from Germany who are in a program I did not even know existed three months ago. Why? I am the only one in the College of Management who has any understanding of German. I have them in one class and I am amazed how much of the language has come back to me. I interact with them outside class giving them guidance or ideas on places to eat, what to do around Boston, what NOT to do, and much more. Of course they speak waaaaay better English than I do German. Liberal indeed.

  4. Glad you had at that one, Mel. You forgot to mention the addictive quotient of the meme, something Zuckerman must be quite aware of, and the hidden cookies element, something advertisers are giggling over.

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