The Biden Memes

 

We’ve all seen them: the Joe Biden and Barack Obama memes. They’ve been around a little bit earlier if I remember correctly, but seem to have been hiding in relative obscurity until that certain thing happened a little while ago. And you also know what the hell I’m talking about: the election of Donald J. Trump to the office of President of the United States.

I think it was a shock to most people. Most polls prior to the election had Clinton with a notable advantage, and as the night wore on things became bleaker for the Clinton camp. Eventually history was made and, well, you know. I don’t want to do a recap of it because I’m pretty sure everyone knows what happened and has plenty of their own opinions on the matter. I’m still trying to fully process what has happened myself, and I’m proud I was able to get some sort of post out within a week.

So what’s with the Biden memes?

 

What is a “Biden Meme”

Here’s one. 

first

Most of them show President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden doing something. They’re usually mundane photographs from some point in the past 8 years that show the two interacting. (Like the previous picture. Obama is on the phone, probably on speaker, and Biden is listening intently.) Or Biden will be looking at a paper with Obama pointing at it. Or he will be relaxing in a chair while Barack has his hands clasped over his face, looking rather exhausted or deep in thought. The pictures themselves aren’t anything fancy and would fit properly as a photo to any typical news story.

What makes them a meme is the silly-ass dialogue that occurs between the two. Confronted with the prospect that the unlikely Trump will soon be moving in, Biden (usually) is seen plotting against the new president in hilarious ways, with Obama (usually) acting like the adult and telling Joe that he can’t follow through with what he is plotting. Biden is a playful, revengeful, teenage-esque character with Obama acting as an adult figure, or maybe an accessory bro to the prank. He might not approve but he does little to prevent Biden from following through with his plot. These include leaving fake birth certificates around the White House and changing door knobs to cats, all of which are hilarious throw-backs to various things Trump has said on the election trail the past year and a half. Some also show Joe being very petty and simply wanting to punch (“offer him a ‘knuckle sandwich'”) or insult Trump/Pence, or him wanting to booby-trap the white house ala Home Alone style.

home-alone

 

Why, of all things, Biden memes at this point in time?

Despite initially running against each other (and a bunch of others) in the 2008 primaries, they actually are rumored to be best buddies. Check out this tweet from Biden:

Isn’t that cute? It’s from Biden’s official twitter page too.

It’s this camaraderie that the memes speak towards: Biden and Obama really do seem to be best buds with a relationship that many other Presidents and VPs probably don’t share. Can you picture Bush and Cheney in these memes? How about McCain and Palin? Hillary and Kaine? No way. I mean maybe you can picture JFK and Johnson being bros, but Trump and Pence….no way. It’s a serious matter between those two. To quote our future president: Sad.

The memes aren’t true, of course, and this is where they turn bittersweet. I doubt that when Obama and Biden leave the White House in a few months they’ll hang out on the weekends or watch Netflix together. Maybe they’ll visit each other occasionally, but they’re not actually roommates, contrary to the memes. We’d like to pretend though. It’s cute to think they really are the best of buds, even though they likely aren’t as close as portrayed. And sadly, they really won’t prank Trump or Pence. Biden won’t really say “A loser say’s ‘what?'” as he blocks the door to the White House.

And we are talking about Barack Obama and Joe Biden here. Imagine a president who is set to lose all the policies he enacted in the past eight years, perhaps immediately. Is he worried about his legacy? Is he angry? Regretful? He still act’s respectful, but you have to imagine the man screaming inside. The first African American president who will be followed not by a female in the name of progressiveness, but by Trump. The same goes for Joe, too. The man lost his son not very long ago, and was the reason he himself didn’t run for president. Some of the photos in the memes are from right after his son died. The man was grief stricken, and you have to give him credit for staying as strong as he has been in his position.

And this is where the memes get their strength: they reflect the current situation between these two men who have been in the White House for the past eight years; they capture their humanity even in the highest office in the land. And even though they acknowledge a Trump presidency and their own legacies look to be lost, they take it in stride by simply wanting to prank them as they leave. They’re happy, carefree, and not worried about the future one bit.

The memes are literally a coping mechanism for something that is hard for a lot of people to grasp. Harambe was another popular “tragedy” that has been memeified. The gorilla, shot and killed over something he was unable to comprehend, was an unsettling thing to think about. It was a nuanced issue: did the ends justify the means? Would the kid really have been hurt? Were the parents to blame for Harambe’s death? It just doesn’t seem fair how the entire thing ended. We were affected as a people, and we turned to memes of Harambe to laugh, to cope, and to help us get by. Now, when we reflect on Harambe, instead of the confused grief we originally felt we can smile as we imagine “dicks out for Harambe,” and how the poor gorilla has been enshrined in our cultural lexicon as a meme and a way to make people laugh.

dicks

So here we are: people are terrified of Trump, his rhetoric, and what the next four years will bring. Imaging yourself as a child of an illegal immigrant family, or a Muslim, or anyone else Trump’s rhetoric has targeted. Maybe you’re dependent upon the Affordable Care Act. Maybe you are a proponent of sustainable energy and science. You’d be very pessimistic of the next four (and possibly eight) years. Those who didn’t support Trump, or who feel they might be future victims, are terrified and utterly powerless now that the election is over. It’s a scary prospect for them. So what do we do?

We make memes of Joe and Barack as they prepare to booby-trap the white house. We laugh, and secretly we cry. It’s a way to cope with our fear and how our voices didn’t count this time. It’s how we mourn for the two leaving the White House. We have nothing else to really do–what’s done has been done–so we nervously laugh and smile. We share and others like them on facebook, and we don’t feel so alone. There are people out there laughing at the memes and we’re united in creating, liking, and sharing them. Even though it’s all pretty silly and futile, we’re enshrining Joey and B’Rock into our cultural lexicon. When we recall the past week to our kids and grandkids, no matter what happens the next four years, we’ll still have the memes and memories to put a smile on our faces.

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Making of a Meme and OC

This will be a slightly different post than what I usually do. I’m just going to write the damn thing, nice and easy without proofreading it numerous times and posting it days later. This is also in the “Politics” section, a section I might delete soon simply because I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said by everyone else. The election sucks, Donald Trump is the worst person ever, Hillary Clinton is crooked and that’s about it. And it’s not like saying anything about politics ever changes anyone’s mind anyways.

I’ve always been frustrated by the amount of sharing that goes on on Facebook. I don’t have concrete numbers, but I’m assuming about 99% of every post is a shared post. This is disregarding actual status posts, personal photos, and shared news stories or videos. People just share other people’s shit. I find it fascinating that 1% of people make 100% of the things that the other 99% share. It’s such a small section of people doing all the creative heavy lifting. Maybe this is closer to 5%, but still, why doesn’t anyone else make anything themselves?

maymay
Like you’re unable to make this stupid-ass thing yourself? A prime example of low-quality Facebook trash. But so deep though…

It’s not like it’s hard either. A bunch of things on Facebook are just a photo (or a blank screen) with words placed over it. Here, I’ll go find one. These are the worst. This took just a few minutes to find. Hell, I even had about 30 in front of it but they weren’t as bad as this. Just look at how pixelated it is! The only thing it’s missing are some emojis, which would also be terribly pixelated. Any dipshit can type something, screencap it, and share it. No one makes OC – Original Content – and if they did it would make the world a better place. Why follow in someone else’s steps when you can make your own path? Do other people really speak how you feel better than yourself? Maybe some do, but no one wants to try to solo it?

Anyways, I’m not a professional OC creator myself, although I do dabble from time to time. It’s not hard to make something, but it is slightly harder to be inspired enough to make something and have it be relevant. And even if you do make something original it doesn’t mean anyone will care. That could be why such a small number of people are creative. It takes work, confidence, creativity, and a slight bit of time so I guess I can’t blame the masses. I suppose my gripe is mostly towards the terrible, low-quality crap that is displayed in the image. You can’t make shit day after day, and there are funny Tumblr posts to share, but the crap above is inexcusable.

Today I had some inspiration. Donald Trump has had a terrible week, and rightfully so. It’s been written enough, but he is a dirtbag to the highest degree. While you can say Clinton lies or is corrupt (those Emails!!!!), at least she was good and became corrupt. The only good thing about Trump is that he doesn’t give a damn enough about anything other than himself to be corruptible. Or that he is naturally corrupt and has been since birth in a way that makes him “pure” in his corruption that he can’t actually be corrupted any further? That sounds really dumb but also sounds terrifyingly accurate. Either way, he’s on a whole new level of evil than Hillary supposedly is. Like that video from Friday? With Billy Bush? C’mon. With all of the shit I heard about him recently, I just simply thought “I really hate that man.”

WOAH WAIT! Wasn’t that from a movie? It didn’t take too long to pinpoint where it was from. You can probably place it as a line from Jurassic Park, a classic movie from the 90s. Go watch it if you somehow haven’t seen it. Anyways, this line appears in the movie as the character Ian Malcolm is being a total jackass. The park owner/creator doesn’t like him and states that, “I really hate that man.” Thinking of this I immediately visualized the scene and how easily it would be to “shop” Mr. Trump’s face onto Jeff Goldblum’s character. I set to work.

It was easy. I pulled the video up, screencapped what I needed, and saved it. I found a terrible picture of Dolan Trump and cut his head out in MS Paint (I don’t actually have access to Photoshop, but the results are sometimes wonderfully shittier by doing this in Paint. Check those pixels.). I copied and pasted it onto Goldblum’s head and scaled it to approximately the correct size, although I did get it slightly bigger. Whatever. Who cares. There might be a pun in there somewhere. I then put a caption on the damn thing in IMPACT font – THE meme font. Here’s the results, which is also the header image. But you probably don’t want to scroll all the way back up.

hatethatman

My point is that making OC is easy. This took me about 15 minutes. No one is expecting it to be good or impressive. Sometimes, if it is crappy, it adds to the effect of the work. I love when people load their own pictures and posts up on Facebook because you get to learn a bit more about them and see what they do. You can see they’re a person. I like when people share news stories because you might be able to learn something, and the same goes with videos. Videos are a bit more work to make anyways and can be entertaining; I’m not expecting people to upload original YouTube videos all the time. But all the shared images of words pasted on top of a picture? They’re so cliched it’s not even funny in an ironic sense anymore. They’re just bad. Or lazy. Or stupid. Make your own stuff guys, or at least try it.

Oh, and if anyone wants to poach this image, go right ahead. Share it everywhere. As much as I just bitched about the lack of OC, I still don’t mind a goofy picture of Trump to make the rounds. Making people laugh is always a good public service.

Politics and Facebook Likes

I’ve been dabbling in stock market investing for about the past year and a good deal of this involves evaluating companies’ financial health and their market outlook. In mid-May I decided it might be a good idea to incorporate our good friend Facebook and page likes as part of my company evaluations. Ideally you’d like to see a company grow likes at a very high percentage; this could be a good sign of a strong up-and-coming company that you might be able to catch early on and profit from. Despite boring people with how all of that data is coming along (boring), there is other data that may be more interesting to others.

Around this time I decided, “Hey, why not?” and decided I could do the same for the people running for president. I doubt it is very scientific and has tons of pitfalls (Sander’s fans are more likely to be young and internet-savvy, Trump is an ex-reality star, etc.), but it does help to show who has momentum, at least on social media. So here we go!

 

The Basic Numbers

At the start of my project (mid-May), they’ve had these many likes:

Trump: 7,965,747

Clinton: 3,609,810

Sanders: 4,034,824

Gary Johnson: 448,653

 

And at the end (August 8):

Trump: 10,222,319

Clinton: 5,452,059

Sanders: 4,210,602

Johnson: 1,048,673

 

Using a standard compound growth formula, which shows the “average” weekly candidate’s growth gives:

Trump: 2.81%

Clinton: 4.69%

Sanders: 0.47%

Johnson: 9.89%

 

Over the course of the past few months, you can get a few general impressions of each of the candidates and their numbers. Trump has a ton of supporters on Facebook, nearly double that of Clinton, but she has a higher growth rate. This may be attributed to Trump having been a businessman as well as a reality star for the past however many years (I don’t follow that shit), which may give him many residual page likes from long ago.

Sanders was cruising along for the first few weeks with growth numbers around 6%, but this quickly ceased once Hillary clinched the required amount of delegates. Also, the week he endorsed Clinton, his weekly likes went down by 5%; people were pissed the hell off and you could glean this from the numbers. Currently he seems to be holding steady and I’d expect him to continue this trend.

Gary Johnson, the semi-popular third party candidate who is capitalizing on the Shitshow Election, is killing it in Facebook page likes. One week, I believe it was the week following the Republican convention, his page likes grew by a massive 20.4%! The only downside here is that he began with a paltry half-million likes, so would have quite a ways to make it to near 11 million as Trump has done, even with double-digit growth.

 

What about in November?

Just because I like to play with numbers, let’s project the growth percentages of the past to the first week of November. There are 12 full weeks until election day, so…oh shit…math. I’m not too comfy with exponents anymore. Brb, learning.

In 12 weeks, around election day, and with the past growth rates staying the same, the candidates should have the following Facebook page likes:

Trump: 14,255,200

Clinton: 9,449,800

Sanders: 4,454,300

Johnson: 3,251,900

Facebook pages likes aren’t a very concrete and reliable data source, but I suppose if you know their shortcomings you can get some useful information from them. Trump has a bunch of likes which may be residuals from his reality-star days, Hillary has good momentum, and Johnson really has momentum but is starting from nearly nothing. If you really want, check back in 12 weeks and see how accurate these numbers are. I’ll definitely write them down and check myself.

Stupid Election

I wasn’t too excited for the election in the first place. A few years ago, when most of the candidates announced they were running for president, there was really no one interesting that stood out. The Democrats had Hillary Clinton (Eh. Okay.) and a little-known Bernie Sanders (Who?) while the Republicans had a whole shitshow of candidates that had me terrified and laughing at the same time. Maybe the election would somehow clean itself up and start to mirror other years with each party picking someone sort-of-cool but not really magnificent. Where we could just relax and say “whatever.” Boy was I wrong. Since the primaries have finally worked themselves out and we are left with @realDonaldTrump and “I’m with Her,” I find myself not really giving a damn but also giving a damn because I sort of have to because I like this country. This election season is apathy. Apathy where you get to vote.

Let’s get the Republican side out of the way first: Donald Trump is nuts. He makes the Planters Peanut Guy look like a normal Joe. I get people are angry at “the system,” but nuking it with a Trump presidency is a terrible idea. It’s like if your house has some issues, let’s say it has a leaky roof or something, and your fix is to torch the thing down to the ground and rebuild the entire house. Yes, that is one way of fixing the roof, but it probably isn’t the best way to go about it. Fixing American politics could be accomplished by electing Trump, having a nuclear war, watching society collapse, and by rebuilding a few hundred years later. Maybe that system of government will work great! But all of that doesn’t seem like the best way to bring about change unless you want IRL Fallout 4. Things are dysfunctional, but not that dysfunctional. Donald Trump in all of his anti-glory will probably occupy a few dedicated blog posts later as he’s basically a goldmine of “What the fuck happened?”

There was Ted Cruz, and him picking a VP a few weeks before he dropped out. And Jeb. Remember Jeb Bush? “Please clap.” There was also something about Chris Christie being held hostage, but it’s all a bit fuzzy. And tiny hands? Right? I’ll just ignore the rest of the Republican primary because I don’t want to work that hard to remember what a terrible mess it was. You can sum it up easily enough: shitshow.

The Democrat’s side was a bit cleaner, not a blatant shitshow and a bit less enthusiastic, with the two obvious front-runners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. There was another guy and another guy in the first debate or so, and even some guy named O’Malley. Right? But we all knew they didn’t have a chance in hell between the mighty Clinton and Bernie with his feel the Bern. Everyone expected it would be those two with Sanders probably not winning the nomination. Clinton damn near won in 2008 against O’Bama-rama, so you knew she was looking forward to 2016 to be swept into the nomination without question. It also seemed that she was given preference by the really important people in the party – the Washington people. To them, Bernie was nuts. Not Donald nuts, but still nuts.

Bernie put up a damn good fight; it was a hell of a lot closer than I would’ve expected, especially since he has a big, dirty “I” for his party designation and with that SOCIALISM word being thrown around.

Socialism
Boo!

He did a damn good job, but his nomination was not to be. Mrs. Clinton surely and steadily climbed higher towards the magical goal of whatever number of delegates was required, almost as if it was predestined. On the Democrat’s side, there are also these things called superdelegates which are a way to ensure the party elites have their say-so in the election. This sort of ended up screwing over Sanders and his supporters. Curiously, if the Republicans would’ve had superdelegates, they probably wouldn’t currently be dealing with Uncul Dolan.

.

Merica pls
pls mexican

 

Sanders and his supporters like to point out things like, “The system is rigged against Bernie!” The superdelegate issue might have hinted that, yes, Sanders and his supporters weren’t paranoid and that things were rather shady with the party elites, but I wasn’t convinced. I like hard, non-debatable evidence of collusion and lacking this evidence I concluded that Bernie lost fair and square. After all, America might want more tried-and-true politics than the big, scary SOCIALISM. Change is scary.

Whoops. That didn’t last long. Enter the DNC email leaks. Bernie didn’t lose fair and square; it was more like biased and circle. This side of the election really is a shitshow! We just didn’t know it yet!

Hill
Hillary doesn’t get any may-mays. Too serious.

Apparently the party elites did secretly try to undermine Sanders. Apparently the system was rigged all along. But by the time all of this stuff was out in the open the primaries were over. Had these leaks occurred earlier, we could have pointed fingers, yelled at each other, had Wasserman Schultz resign, made up, and carried on our nominating way towards a totally fair Clinton or Sanders victory. But of course all of this shit went down after everyone voted. The whole damn thing leaves a bad taste in your mouth; it’s all so dirty you just don’t want to give a damn anymore because giving a damn doesn’t actually do anything.

So that’s this election in a nutshell: there is nothing to be excited about anymore. We have our candidates and…meh. It’s all a shit-show and while it is sometimes entertaining, it isn’t really that good. I rate it 4/10: Would not relive. It makes me wish for the old Gore vs Bush or Obama vs McCain days. Ya know, when we had some asshats running but they weren’t the sort of asshats that you couldn’t stomach voting for. You might not agree with them but you also didn’t expect them to rewind civilization back to the middle ages. The only thing this election has going for it is trying to protect the United States from Trump. It’s a choice between a guy who is nuts, and a woman who is meh. Who knows.