The case of the hijacked meme.
Lately, social media has been letting me down. I’m afraid as a society, we’ve been lulled into this false belief that if we send out a quick tweet with a link to an organization, or change our profile picture, or take 20 seconds to write a status update- that we deserve a hefty pat on the back for making a difference.
At the moment, my Facebook stream is filled with updated profile pics of cartoon characters. I’ve started seeing Rainbow Brite, Smurfs, Roadrunner, and good ole’ Wile E. Coyote.
You see, everyone is posting a pic of their favorite childhood cartoon.
Here’s one version of the status that is attached:
In support of anti-child violence, change your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood. Until Monday Dec. 6, there should be no human faces on Facebook, but an invasion of memories. Join the fight against CHILD ABUSE. Invite your friends to do the same.
This is the status that evolved around Decmber 3rd- or so. But according to sites like Know Your Meme.com, and Huffington Post, the meme originally started in Greece, in early November. Here is the supposed original message:
From the 12th to the 22nd of November, change your profile picture on Facebook to an image from a cartoon from your childhood. The goal of the game? Not to have a single human face on Facebook, but an invasion of our collective childhood memories for the time of a week. It’s up to you to take action and to forward this message.
It was originally supposed to be a game- a fun way to remember our childhood- and for a moment, forget about the grumpy, old adults we’ve become. Leave it to us Americans to hijack a meme, slap a cause on it, and pay a lot of lip service.
I’m over it, people.
It’s like hanging your sweaty shirt out the window, letting it air out, then putting it back on and pretending it’s washed.
It ain’t freakin’ washed.
The only “awareness” I feel is being raised, is that for the violence against Wile. E. Coyote. And if that’s the goal- then fine. Lord knows, one animal can only take so many anvils.
But if you want to raise awareness about violence against children? Or join the fight to stop child abuse?
Then post something like this:
Almost five children die everyday as a result of child abuse. 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way. Go to www.ChildHelp.org to learn how you can help spread the word, volunteer, or donate.
Or even something as easy as this:
Do you know or suspect a child is being abused? Call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-a-child.
I’m not saying there aren’t people out there with good hearts. I’m saying this cartoon meme is bullshit, and is NOT raising awareness about anything. It’s sparking conversation about why The Smurfs were better that The Little’s. Why? Because we all loved Saturday morning cartoons, and it’s fun to talk about, and to see who liked what cartoon, and what that says about them. And guess what? That is what the meme was originally supposed to be about!
So, to those of you out there with good hearts, I say to you: I love your heart. But it is my belief that change is facilitated when good hearts meet good minds, and take good action.
Or at the very least, include some pertinent information in your status update.