Voice of Real Australia: Why are people so meme?

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by Rob Inglis, a journalist at The Examiner in Launceston.

Meme? Why are people so meme. Geddit?

Meme? Why are people so meme. Geddit?

The internet changed life as we know it, introducing us to a revolutionary form of communication hitherto unimaginable.

Yes, I'm talking about memes.

Coupling humourous images with short bursts of text, memes have transformed the way we express ourselves. Some would say for better, some for worse.

Here in Northern Tasmania, a meme wizard is using the format to affectionately poke fun at towns in the region, creating a visual language instantly recognisable to denizens of the North.

The Examiner's Frances Vinall spoke to stand-up comedian and creator of the Launceston Memes Facebook page Russell Redmond to find out what prompted him to mercilessly lambast the city in which he lives.

MEME-MAKER: Russell Redmond is a culture-watcher from Tasmania.

MEME-MAKER: Russell Redmond is a culture-watcher from Tasmania.

The page has more than 29,000 followers, making it something of an institution here.

Redmond tells Vinall the small town of Scottsdale, a mainstay on Launceston Memes, has given him strong feedback about his content.

"The only complaints I really get are people from Scottsdale asking why there aren't more Scottsdale memes," he jokes.

Introspection: via Launceston Memes.

Introspection: via Launceston Memes.

Of course, like literally everything on the internet, memes have a dark side. They've created headaches for many in public life and even served to aggravate bike shop owners.

Launceston Memes, on the other hand, brings people together. And - stay with me - isn't that what the internet was designed to do in the first place?

Memes have penetrated the zeitgeist so deeply that now even political party loyalists are crafting them in a bid to attract young people to their respective movements, as The Canberra Times' Andrew Brown reported earlier this year.

Election memes: via Innovative and Agile Memes during the federal election.

Election memes: via Innovative and Agile Memes during the federal election.

The amount of comedic value you draw from political memes, though, depends on how funny you find pictures of Bill Shorten dabbing or comparisons being made between Scott Morrison and a rotating cast of Game of Thrones villains.

While Shorten might have been the butt of a good deal of memes in his time, his infamous 'zingers' are at least moderately better than Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's.

The Treasuer was in Tassie making a routine appearance at a business breakfast earlier this month when he spotted a plate full of buttery, red-tinged pastries.

"I've never seen red croissants before," he said, setting up a tepid punchline. "If I was making coloured croissants, I'd make them blue." Cue a smattering of polite laughter barely masking the sound of crickets in the park across the road.

Finally, Frydenberg told the story of Andrew Peacock getting feedback on his first speech from his predecessor in the electorate Sir Robert Menzies. "It's too long," Sir Robert told Peacock. "Cut it in half."

Peacock replied: "Which half?" Sir Robert responded: "It doesn't matter."

If only Frydenberg himself had taken this advice. Then he might have had time to field further questions from the reporters braving the chill air outside waiting for him to wrap up.

Brevity is the soul of wit, they say.

Just look to the humble internet meme.

Rob Inglis,

journalist, The Examiner

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