I’ve been plastering White Plains NY with memetic masterpieces on and off for almost a year now. A wguke ago, I made The Meme Bomb Collection, Volume Aleph, and it got me thinking about the meme bombs we’ve been generating.
A lot of the meme bombs we’ve come up with are effective in that they are self-contained information packages which in themselves suggest an attitude or position.
My favorite meme bombs are the ones which…
–Give the reader pause. It’s really easy to get lost in the “zombie lurch”, the “9-5 crawl”, the “pedestrian trance”, or whatever you want to call it. I like meme bombs which jar the reader out of that and make them suddenly focus on the present moment rather than where they’re going. Some meme bombs which accomplish this are ones which successfully address the reader. “Hey! You, in the Khakis!” (if you’re actually wearing khakis, it might be startling).
–Suggest something bigger going on. Such as “Congratulations! You’ve just found clue #3! The man in the green jacket will tell you what to do next.” These meme bombs make reality seem a little bit weirder than the pedestrian might expect. Is there some crazy game going on? When and where is it happening?
–Provoke critical thought. Such as “miscarriage is manslaughter“. When taken at face value their meaning seems clear – but they actually suggest something else entirely.
–Add some levity or humor to the reader’s day. I really wish people would stop taking their day-to-day shit so seriously. Sometimes hearing a joke or seeing a funny graphic right in the middle of your walk back from lunch is exactly what you need. The BIP refers to this as rearranging the machine’s local components to (hopefully, eventually) provoke a change in the whole system.
–The Absurd and the Surreal. The Principia calls these Mondos. like “If the telephone rings today, water it!” At first they seem to make sense, but the more you think about them the less sense they make. Personally, I get these phrases stuck in my head all day. “The womb is a prison – FETUS LIBERATION FRONT!”
I like meme bombs which appear friendly or light. Some of the meme bombs developed by the PD Community are hostile and bitter, or preachy and cerebral. Frankly, far left propaganda tastes just as bad to me as far right propaganda, so I dislike political meme bombs. I also dislike the ones which specifically seek to make people feel worse without provoking action. (such as: “Your wife is cheating on you.“)
I also feel that graphics and icons are essential to getting the reader’s attention. An attractive visual packaging makes the memebomb more likely to be remembered.
An ideal memebomb is something which the reader will repeat to others. Little kernels of wisdom are good for this, but I feel that most of them are a bit too dense or “heavy” to pierce the pedestrian trance.
a discussion from PD about memes and graffiti follows…
Continue reading Goals for One Line Meme Bombs