The idea for Viewpoints today came about during a recent editorial board meeting, when reference was made to the UNC Facebook meme page. Everyone present was shocked to learn I wasn’t a member. That shock only grew when I revealed I’d been added to the group three times and removed myself every time.
“Why would you do something like this?” I was asked. “Why do you hate fun?”
I wasn’t able to provide a satisfactory response to my fellow board members in the limited time we had but thought perhaps I’d be able to outline my stance better in a column.
Memes are everywhere. Brands use them to promote products, internet trolls use them to stir up trouble and politicians use them in desperate attempts to seem hip. There are countless social media accounts, Facebook groups and websites dedicated to them. You can't go anywhere online without seeing a meme. Except Google Plus, of course. People have to actually use a website to put memes on it.
The dedication many meme fans have to creating, viewing and disseminating memes has always struck me as odd. One of my favorite sayings is the classic, “moderation in all things.” Who it originated from is unclear, but the idea behind it has been around since at least the ancient Greeks. It means, more or less, that too much of anything is bad for you. This applies to all things in life. Food is fantastic, but overeating leads to obesity. Exercise helps keep you in shape, but overdo it and you can get injured. And memes may be fun, but the obsessive culture that now surrounds them is, well, a little much.