No matter how many zillions of munitions we drop or drone-fire onto the territory controlled by ISIS, we’re woefully far behind in the propaganda war—and nowhere is this more evident than the increasing Meme Gap. But internet legend turned senator Cory Booker wants to turn the tide.
During today’s Homeland Security meeting on “Jihad 2.0,” The Intercept reports Sen. Booker became frustrated by how much more advanced the ISIS online media wing is compared to Western efforts:
“There are easy tactics...I know them...how to get more voice and virality to messaging...I know something about memes...look at their fancy memes compared to what we’re not doing!”
He’s literally clutching printed out “fancy memes.” And he’s not wrong! Below, an example of jihadist meme creations I found on Tumblr:
The graphics and typographic work are top-notch—I’m half-tempted to join myself! ISIS also knows how to hit that very important youth demo:
Now compare that with the State Department’s counter-programming, published as part of a government program called “Think Again, Turn Away”:
No offense, but do you guys want ISIS to win? This is terrible:
Just really, really bad meme-ing. Booker is right to be indignant. And as his committee colleague Sen. Ron Johnson put it, no one in the world should be able to create fancier memes than the USA:
“Let’s face it: We invented the Internet. We invented the social network sites. We’ve got Hollywood. We’ve got the capabilities… to blow these guys out of the water from the standpoint of communications.”
You’re fuckin’ right we invented the internet (ha-ha-ha only sort of). Think of humankind’s greatest memes: from All Your Base to lolcats to Star War Kid to Booty had me like, Americans lead the way in viral bullshit. And if our ability to paste text over a photograph is so shoddy that disaffected youths are willing to blow themselves up for the other team, then we ought to be ashamed. I propose that Homeland Security recruit Jonah Peretti, OSU Sidepiece Girl, Hero Cat, the Goatse man, and as many Redditors as can be assembled without causing an overpowering odor—put them under Cory Booker’s control, and let’s do what we know is possible, what is our national birthright as content creators.