Gentlemen, ladies—here at Meme Labs I greet you. I know I’ve separated much of you tragically from your current studies: Kenny, from your work finding weeping athletes to superimpose with important news of the day. Audrey, from your digs into the seventh layers of 4Chan for the perfect Matt Furie frog looking sad. And don’t worry, Richard, “tea lizard” will still be there when we are finished here.
Ladies and gentlemen I have called you in here today because sadly I have discovered The End. Ladies and gentleman, my dear researchers, your heads ringing with the music of Rick Astley and your fingers rich yet bloodied from typing “Delete your account” to politicians’ Twitter Feeds—I have calibrated what will be the final meme. The meme after which there shall be no more. Although this picture of Toad using the popular gay hook up Grindr seems like it will pass in the fog it will be the end of the meme as we know.
From now on no longer will people laugh at the repetition of a vaguely silly image ad nauseam. No longer will people send it forth to the world as some kind of greater cultural signifier. Who knows what we will all return to. Maybe fine poetry? The doubling down of street fights and violence? Anonymous ejaculate passed through mirrors and windows at a greater pace than ever before? I don’t know. I only know the end is nigh and Toad showing off his abs into a mirror will be it.
We knew this was coming. And while we have time to pack our belongings, publish our final findings (this isn’t due to hit until 2021 at least), simply know that it’s time to find other occupations. The legacy, the glory is over. Will we find other modes of employment where people desperate to not stand out too much trade in images and laugh through their noses at signs of vulnerability? Potentially. Stephanie, your records of Nyan Cat will serve you well in exploring the secrets and wonders of the universe. A recommendation letter to NASA sits in your desk. And Jeff, you spent most of your time sending the troll face to women online. You said it’s to measure the weapon’s power. In any case I have a letter for you to clean up shit in a pooping club. I want each of you to find a home.
When you first see this image it will seem innocuous. It may come in the form of Yoshi with a realistic humanoid dick holding the phone in front of him. It may take the image of Luigi looking too sensitive as a sad string of emojis spells out some sort of long, jaded sexual awakening at the bottom of the screen. Maybe it’ll just be Wario with the words “bi and looking” at the bottom. You will gaze at them. You will know in your heart they are bad. You are not wrong. They are bad.
Do not bother researching them, for they will be the final meme. People will look upon them and grow tired. They will grow older. More miserable. Twitter feeds, Reddit accounts, even Facebook pages made entirely out of memes of Tweety Bird adorned with Islamophobic sayings— all shall quietly drop off. These sites and apps will all quietly disappear, their users entering back into society.
The areas of the brain infatuated with repetition shall at last be free to absorb new information. The 22 films a year where the same characters people liked since they were twelve years old that support the cinematic economy will be replaced by new ideas done once—with the artists rather than the IP supported. People won’t be disgusted as much by the old and passé—and those that are will at least pour that energy into feeling that way about stuff like fashion and music rather than gifs of Tina Fey rolling her eyes or Michael Jordan crying.
It will be a renaissance. It will come with the image of Bowser using Grindr.
It will arrive with the tale of Birdo complaining about receiving too many messages in her 150 character profile.
It will flow to us with a teen Bowser Jr. and his boyfriend who is the star from Super Mario Galaxy looking for a third.
It will free the minds of the nation.
And it will mean our end.
2021. Mark that day well. Make your final plans now for when the national populace grows sickened by the actions of the internet and the everlasting repetitive image and rebels by becoming good human beings with functioning minds and hearts at long last.
Yet for now I urge you to continue your work. For Michael Jordan has wept. And it must be Photoshopped onto David Cameron resigning at long last. For while we see the end is near in a scant five years, know that our duty to humanity will never be lightened.
To quote the founder of this endeavor “Our Duty Iz 2 God and God Alone Wow!” And God has spoken our fates and given us the gift of warning. Godspeed.
Alex Firer has written for The Onion, Splitsider, Funny or Die and more. He’s on Twitter @AlexFirer.