There was a time—early 2012?—when memes were "cool," and "funny." In those days, I often laughed at the memes when I came across them in my browsing, sharing them with friends via Twitter or Facebook, and even posting them on Gawker.com.
Those days are gone.
I no longer enjoy memes. Today, I believe every popular internet meme is invented and propagated by a secret elite vanguard of advertising creatives honing their skills at manipulating the internet in order to more quickly bring about a future where all human communication, from the most mundane Tweet to the deepest artistic gesture, is in the service of Brand Awareness.
And yet, I love this one meme right now, Doge. Doge is a meme which, at its most basic, consists of a picture of an adorable shiba inu dog photoshopped onto a scene, then surrounded by a cloud of multi-colored words and phrases. The words are supposed to be the dog's internal monologue, and the dog is astonished, it seems, by the very fact that it is having an internal monologue. (Dogs aren't supposed to have monologues, see.) The text consists of short, ungrammatical exclamations of surprise about the situation the dog is in and of which it finds itself suddenly, unnaturally aware.
Like any good meme, the text adheres to an easy-to-follow formula, which starts with "Wow," then continues something like "Such X," and "Many X," "So X," where X is words related to the background image.
There are doge memes for everything, sports, politics, food, whatever. Some of the better doge specimens come from two competing forums on Reddit, /r/shibe and /r/supershibe. (I can't exactly explain why there needs to be two forums dedicated to the memes? They seem to have some slight difference or arcane feud or something.) My favorite doge memes are actually the ones that speak to such a specific interest, like anime, or pro baseball, hat I have no idea what the references actually mean, and I can just stupidly bask in the weird pattern of words and images.
Peake doge, so wow, much analytics pic.twitter.com/Yc3u0TXThG
— Asher Wolf (@Asher_Wolf) November 7, 2013
I just discovered doge a couple days ago, along with a lot of other people. I can't explain the reason for the sudden spike, except that the meme had been honed and perfected to the point that it just inevitably exploded. You will be seeing a lot of Doge from this point on, if you haven't already.
And if you are like me, you will be plunged into crisis when you find yourself struck with this sudden love of a meme, so long after it became clear to you that memes are not only dumb but inherently evil. I do not understand why doge has captivated me while other memes premised on animals and misspelled words, like Dolan or—sorry to even bring this up—Lolcats, make me want to quit the internet forever. Will the doge meme eventually seem as hackneyed and sad as lolcats? In five years time, will I read this blog post on my futuristic face-based computer (which has become the way everyone looks at the internet) and realize that by writing it I played a crucial role in transforming doge from a fantastic weird thing into just another viral marketing opportunity, proving once again that writing about internet culture is basically inseparable from ruining internet culture?
It is a testament to the pure gut-level power of doge that I don't even care. Doge is funny as shit. Praise doge.