In the morass of a meme war, who you should count as your ally and who you should count as your foe is always unclear and shifting.
Where one moment you may temporarily befriend the College Republican out of necessity to defeat a sudden Minnesota Gopher insurgency, you’re never safe from betrayal. Tragically, this is the reality of a meme war and is often hidden from normies among the no-mans-land beneath the “Read More” button in the comments.
The battleground, “UW-Madison Memes for Milk-Chugging Teens,” is pockmarked with these skirmishes. Take a scroll down the Facebook page and you will travel back in time, seeing in reverse the great memers and their causes rise from defeat into supreme dominance, only to see them reduced into obscurity just as quickly as their short-lived ascension.
As a reporter on the frontlines, it is difficult to fully grasp the enormity of the war, as the fronts across which the war is fought are many and new factions seem to appear out of thin air like ghosts.
The clash that occurred when massive numbers of QQ partisans were forced to defend their establishment’s bottom-tier Chinese food from a guerilla effort orchestrated by those carrying the banner for Paul’s Pel’meni and its unremarkable Russian dumplings is a perfect encapsulation of this war’s futility.
Jack Bryant, advancing the cause for QQ’s styrofoam containers filled to the brim with tasteless noodles, delivered an infamous blow to Paul’s Pel’meni’s troops with a simple image of the eatery’s small balls of potato and/or beef.
“Are you a homeless dog? Does this look good to you?” prompts Bryant’s low-effort post, amassing roughly 300 likes from people who think Happy Wok is authentic Chinese food.
If it weren’t for Karim Nassef’s powers as moderator of the meme page and his capacity to rally disparate forces around a cause, QQ’s would have easily dispatched with Paul’s. But, with only a humble Harry Potter meme, Nassef and his comrades nearly tripled Bryant’s total likes, momentarily stalling their inevitable defeat.
For soldiers of the war, the conflict was shattering and made it nearly impossible to return to a normal life. Most troubling for them is coming to the realization that someone who you sit next to on the bus or in class – or someone you might even count as a friend – could choose to not only eat out of necessity but also enjoy food a starving raccoon would turn its nose at.
For objective reporters of the war, the reasons for the conflict are so useless, stupid and absurd that they invalidate the concept of war itself. Of course, rational people will agree Paul’s Pe’lmeni is miles better than QQ’s, but war in its most pure form is irrational and distorts reality.
In between moments of strife, however, the meme-war can expose the raw connections tying mankind together.
Like the Christmas truce during WWI when opposing trenches across the Western Front paused their fighting to solemnly celebrate Christmas as one, a meme war can similarly bring together mortal enemies when the exhaustion of endless warring and the beauty of chance intersect.
Such a moment happened recently when Lori Berquam, the vice provost for the Division of Student Life and a God-tier milk-chugging meme, announced her resignation from the university.
The fighting, between socialists and libertarians, Gophers and Badgers, B-schoolers and literally everyone else, suddenly stopped for a few beautiful moments.
Harmonizing, the memers all cried, “Don’t go.”