5 Times Conservatives Failed to Make Memes Great Again


Republican memes are just as incoherent and misinformed as their 2016 party platform. We count the most hilarious of them down.

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At their best, memes are a language of empathy, esoteric and yet universal, that allows people to commiserate about abusive employers (Scumbag Boss), gracious neighbors (Good Guy Greg), and the extremes of emotional expression (Crying Jordan). At their worst, they reduce complex personal and social situations into crude “gotchas” that vilify and mock women (Hypocrite Feminist, Scumbag Stacy) people of color (Successful Black Man), people with disabilities (“I Can Count To Potato”), and others marginalized by society.

In that vein, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign  might be the most meme-able candidacy of our time. He is a fascist without ideology, a conqueror without a map. Trump’s M.O. isn’t that far removed from your average far-right conspiracy-theory-spouting aspiring racist uncle. He makes ridiculous claims (like Obama co-founded ISIS, or Ted Cruz’s father helped kill John F. Kennedy) and then shuts down any attempts to interrogate or refute those claims by calling you an idiot, brainwashed, or in on the plot after all. This deftly-executed vapidity suits the culture of political memes, where the real-life implications of oppressive social dynamics are excised and sterilized to create snappy take downs of straw men.*

They want to make memes great again. But memes were never great. Many lack a consistent subtext, and others uphold oppressive institutions, which is the anti-thesis of political humor’s function in society. They aren’t making conservatism better; they’re just making memes worse.

I’ve compiled a modest list of examples.

1. Sexual Email Relations

Source: FullRedneck

This was found on FullRedneck. It’s a mash-up of Bill Clinton’s famous soundbite and Hillary’s e-email scandal. It’s clever in that respect, but it fails at the most basic premise of a meme, which is to convey a shared emotional reaction to relocatable situations. None of us have sexed an email. We may have read an email while sexing ourselves, which I think is actually quite admirable. You’re keeping literature alive in a media landscape increasingly dependent on audio-video content. Just make sure you use proper barriers and protect yourselves against unwanted attachments.

2. Shining Girls

Source: Anti Hillary 2016 Facebook Group

The twins from The Shining are likely ghosts or manifestations, and so don’t “grow up” because ghosts represent our terror at the thought of dying with unfinished business. God, read a book that doesn’t have “treason” in the title sometime. If the twins did grow  up to be Hillary and Elizabeth Warren, then it would show they’ve put a lot of work into developing individual identities and styles, and thus wouldn’t really be “creepy twins” anymore. I mean, can we all at least agree on a definition of “creepy twin”, as a country? If your concept of creepy twins involves two people of the same gender who work in the same field, I have some bad news for you friend—our country’s presidency and vice presidency has been run by creepy twins for the last two hundred plus years.

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3. KKK and Hookers are Equal

Source: Anti-Obama Memes

This is one of the more cogent Pro-Trump memes. It attempts to apply the (seemingly) reductive logic lobbied at their candidate back at his opponent. The major flaw in this otherwise cunning plan is that “racist” is not a job. Many racists have jobs, but not even former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, who is probably one of the few people who could claim “racist” as a job, would put that down on his tax returns. If he pays taxes. Honestly, it’s hard to tell the “taxes are tyranny” conservatives from the “white genocide” conservatives and “juice boxes are turning our children gay” conservatives. You usually can’t tell until they’re pulling their shirt off and aggressively quoting the Bible at your server at Applebee’s.

4. Antifreeze Drinkers

Source: Pinterest

Making this list has turned me into that jerkoff who sees a band they like and complains the whole show when they won’t play their older stuff. While Hillary’s camp have shown an appreciation (spoofed in the recent “Hillary Clinton: Meme Queen 2016″ video) for the classics, most conservatives forego the tried-and-trues in favor of confrontational avant-garde. Damn it, play Freebird already, I have to return a DVD to RedBox.

They aren’t making conservatism better; they’re just making memes worse.

And people already do drink anti-freeze, though it’s usually because they’re being poisoned. Just like these bad memes are poisoning our discourse, man. Really makes you think! It should, at least. Have a good, long meditation on how you’re using a social media platform aimed at women to mock them. You’re not the person your mother hoped you’d be. It’s probably why she’s poisoning your Mountain Dew with anti-freeze. It’s odorless and very sweet. They used to make wine with it! You have no way of knowing for sure unless you move out. Give her lots of books about feminism and recognizing women’s labor so she’s too distracted to come looking for you.

5. Ready For Hillary

Source: Riverside County GOP

The guy who made this mean and posted it to an official Republican Twitter account was fired from his job. A week later, Donald Trump openly suggested his followers should assassinate Hillary Clinton if she won the election. He’s still the nominee. The Republicans are bad not only at making memes, but also keeping a consistent party line on issues like “should people who disagree with us die?”

Many anti-Hillary memes focus on accusations of being a corrupt politician or even a war criminal. I don’t disagree that Hillary, who I intend to vote for, has murdered innocent people. As has Barack Obama, as has George W. Bush, and probably 95% or more of their predecessors. But rather than thinking of ways how we can limit the POTUS’ power to do harm, which fits squarely within the purview of “small government”, we get these cockamamie ideas to build an authentic Medieval gallows, complete with period costume. And you can’t really get any of that at Party City. It’ll probably be dry-clean only. The taxpayers are looking at a pretty hefty bill here.

Now who’s the “tax and spend” party in this country?

Next: Check out more Viral Silliness on Culturess

*(I know “straw people” would have been the more inclusive way to say that, but I fear inciting a tweet-storm from Mr. Trump about how he has several straw people working for him and they think he’s sexy and cool and that he should totally build a wall and make Knott’s Berry Farm pay for it.)