Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Layers, Like an Onion

I’ve been online for a very long time.

I sent my first email in 1986, back when it was still the ARPANET. I was introduced to the web when it was still text-based and you had to use Lynx to get anywhere. I remember Yahoo’s daily list of all the new websites that its search engine had found in the previous 24 hours – a list that rarely exceeded two dozen sites. It’s been a while.

One of the benefits of this kind of longevity is that after a while the long-running inside jokes start to become clear.

Apparently these sorts of multi-level memes are a thing, particularly on Tumblr and Instagram for us older folks, and also on whatever new site people who are actually hip and trendy are using. I wouldn’t know, of course, as my mere presence on such sites will switch them instantly into the first category by default so I try to stay away of them as a favor to the rising generations. No need to thank me, young people! It is a service I provide.

But sometimes you just have to go down the rabbit hole and follow the joke wherever it will lead.

I remember when this one came out a few years ago:

I don’t know when the cool people found it, but it came across my social media feed in 2019. I thought it was funny and posted it on Facebook where it got some chuckles from my friends, and then everyone moved on. As far as I was concerned that was it.

But this was not true back among the people in the trendier parts of the internet, or at least those parts that were trendy in 2019. The first law of social media, after all, is that whenever you post something you think is funny a Humorless Person will be assigned to swing by and overexplain things to you, which is why this appeared under the original meme (i.e. not my Facebook post):

Which got the only possible response:

Which of course led the Humorless Brigade to double down:

Naturally that could not stand, and the exasperated Reality Squad shot back with both a detailed explanation of why the Humorless Brigade had its head wedged firmly into its collective lower intestine, followed by a general commentary on Tumblr.

And there things sat for a while.

But of course, they can’t just sit there. Not online.  Pretty soon the whole thing got incorporated into new memes such as this one:

Which of course led to this one:

And this one:

And finally, this one:

By the time you get to that pristine white corridor the entire joke has come full circle, except that in order to explain it to someone just running into it for the first time you would need to go into a full-scale reconstruction of half the internet since before the pandemic.

And that just starts the whole process over again, really.


LucyInDisguise said...

Where to begin?

The beguine.


David said...

I see what you did there...


LucyInDisguise said...


Hmmm. Okay, then. Well, one of three things, I guess:

1 - No Cole Porter fans out there.
2 - We're so old that that just went right over everyone's head.
3 - No one is home out there and we're just talking amongst ourselves here.
4 - Left everyone utterly speechless with my cleverness.
5 - Everyone's too lazy to bother leaving a comment.


I'm gonna go with #4, just as a case of wishful thinking.



David said...

Well, I got it and that has to count for something. There's at least two of us!

I'll go with answer #4. Why not? Who's going to contradict us?