This website was made mostly for my art, but sometimes my thoughts require more space than social media allows me, so expect the occasional blogpost. In this case I dwell in yet another controversial and super important topic: Can the left meme?

“The left can’t meme” is a rather popular line (practically a meme on itself by now) in the net, used by right wing, centrists, and even some moderate left wingers to refer to political memes or comics made by left wingers, usually social justice warriors, who they think are not funny.

Before addressing the topic, it’s probably relevant to say that my ideas are mostly on the left, similar to those from people like David Rubin or Bret Weinstein, so you can say I’m a moderate left winger, and I’m also an artist who lives from doing comics and drawings. I’ve been doing comics for over a decade, and while most of my comics are non-political adventure/humor comics, I also do political pages when I have something to say. So this analysis will be focused mostly on the Comic part, though it can be applied to simple memes.

Triggerhappy: Final fantasy double standard

So with that said, it’s true that “the left can’t meme”? I would say “Yes”.

I’ve discussed this with other left wing people and I surprisingly found people tend to agree with my reasoning more often than not. Here’s why:

Political comics are kind of tricky to do. It’s not just picking an opinion and drawing it in comic form. To actually do that correctly you’ll need an entire comic issue of 30+ pages to make your point across, (just think about how long you have to write to convey a point to someone in all detail) and it would probably be boring as fuck for anyone who doesn’t agree with you (and probably even for those who agree and don’t want to read their own thoughts again). Also, if you’re just going to do that, then there’s no reason to do it as a comic. To do a comic means you’re gonna use the particular elements of comic narrative because they’ll add something to it. If you’re not going to do that, then don’t do a comic, there’s no point to it.

Political comics usually have to make a point in a few panels, maybe 2, 3 or 4, and need to entertain in some way if you want people to keep reading your stuff. Not all political pages need to have a joke, you can have some pages where you just convey a point without humor in it, but you can’t expect readers to come back if you only make super long and boring pages all the time. The attention span for people in the internet is very low. For that reason, political comics commonly use hyperbole and some other tricks, picking extreme examples or making characters to say ridiculous lines, as to create a joke and make a broad point. So, people from both left and right, don’t go throwing “fallacy” to all comics you disagree with; we know the issues are more complex than what we show in our pages, but this is the most efficient way to do them. You cannot expect a 3 panel comic to be as nuanced as an article of thousands of words, when even those articles usually fail to convey their point to the other side.

Where I’m going with all this and why the left can’t meme? Well, because when doing political comics, I notice that most leftists artists (or meme workers) give preference to the political message over the joke, whereas right wingers and centrists tend to go for a joke first, and then a political message. And I would say this is something that is affecting all humor as a whole. I can’t say when this started happening, but it seems that the “side” with the humor has shifted, and while the left were for some time the ones who challenged the stern right with humor and irreverence, it’s now the left that gets offended by every joke, and the right are those who want to laugh about everything (Just look at Kekistan; we kekistanies have been opressed for so long for our jokes because the left can’t understand them and think we’re nazis).

Gamergate Triggerhappy: FreeKekistan

When we take this into comics (and memes), what we have is that the ones created by the right wing focus on making a joke that can be funny on itself, and then mix that joke with their message. So even when I disagree with the message I can still laugh with the execution.

For example they can say something about immigration or the use of violence I don’t agree with or I think takes things too far, but they do it through the use of some anime meme with a cute hamburger eating cat-girl in a maga hat chasing illegal aliens or muslisms or antifas, which is visually fun even if i don’t agree with the use of violence, or mass deportations, or a new crusade.

Resultado de imagen de animeright meme

Or some stereotypical Mexican lying his way out of been deported by Trump and the vision of it is just too funny not to laugh.

There’s a reason characters like Taytweets or anime girls in nazi uniforms are fun, and it’s preciselly because of the contradiction of something so cute mixed with something so horrible. It creates enough shock value that if you don’t take it seriously (as it’s not intended to be serious) it’s funny to watch. But the left nowadays seems unable to understand that concept and just takes the visuals at face value, considering that those who post them are nazis. Thus, they don’t do this kind of stuff.

Righ wing comics and memes, or those who are done by centrists or moderate leftists who understand this concepts, are filled with this kind of irreverent humor and shocking images, which gives them an extra fun factor independently of the message of it.

Yet when I see comics (and memes) from the left wing, they are usually just some character saying a political message and…that’s it. No joke. Nothing containing any shock value. No use of visual elements to be funny or convey the message in a different way than just a tweet. Nothing. Just a character saying a message out loud and we’re supposed to laugh because we agree with the message (IF you agree with the message).

Just look at the comic on top of this text. What is the joke here? Seriously, where is the joke? This is just a guy saying “there are more options than boy and girl”. That’s it. There’s nothing more. There is no joke mixed in there, and there is no particular reason why this should be in a comic instead of just a tweet saying “i think Pokemon should have more options than boy and girl”. There is no use of the comic narrative to express anything else, or do a joke, and the drawing quality is so low that there isn’t even an aesthetic reason to do it this way, when even a kid could do it. This comic is so bad, that many people at first thought it was a satire poking fun at Tumblerites, and that the joke was that they are so crazy they would shot a console because the game doesn’t have 72+ sexes to choose. But no, this is totally serious; this is just a guy saying what the author thinks and that’s it. Even if i agreed with the stupidity that a game should have 72+ options to choose, i would still think this comic is shit because it has 0 joke, 0 reason to be done as a comic, and doesn’t even say anything new, since the “pokemon should have more than boy and girl” thing has been runing arround Tumblr for years now.

Assigned Male - Cis People and Surgery

Now look at this shit over the text. What IS this shit? Seriously. There’s not even and attempt to a joke here. Worse yet. The comic defeat itself by making the artist look more retarded than the guy the comic wants to portray as “bad”. The total content of this comic is: Guy ask a completelly normal question in an educated manner; artist voice character acts like a retard cis hater; the guy raises a very valid point in an educated manner, and the comic concludes by saying he’s somehow the villain of the story, with no joke, no logical argument, no attempt to hide the hate and contempt the artist holds. This comic (and all the comics this retard makes) are Slam poetry made comic. They have absolutelly no meaning of existance, there’s no reason to do this as comic instead of text, there’s no joke, no use of comic narrative, the drawing quality is horrendous, there’s no argument been made and it just serves to convey the message that the author has absolute disdain for cisgenders but doesn’t see a problem with it. How do readers of this shit expect that anyone who isn’t a crazy tumblerite will find any of this comics funny or meaningful? This is one of the comics i most often see associated with the line “the left can’t meme” and everytime i agree.

 

Another example of a comic that basically only says “i’m going to be violent with people for minor transgressions of my ideology” with no joke involved. The comic is literally just the author self injected character taking out a bat to hit someone cause someone they did a minor thing he doesn’t like. It doesn’t make any point nor has any joke, just that. This comic was so bad it has been parodied lot of times with much funnier results. Also, the comic shows a lack of knowledge from the author about comic structure, cause it shows the answer of the girl in the second panel before the bear speaks, but that can just be me cause i’m too picky with balloon positionings.

In any case, do you notice how many of these far left comics revolve arround violent fantasies of them hitting someone for minor disagreements? This ties with another problem of people being desperate to be a “hero” in an era of peace, but that’s a topic for another day.

Another example of the same thing that Assigned Male does. Simply the author of the comic saying out loud that they hate men, and having the other character simply agreeing with them. No joke, no point. This entire comic could have been sumarized in posting a tweet saying “i hate men”. It’s no wonder people are not going to find this kind of weird “Slam poetry made comic” funny.

It seem that many artists in the left try to rely on the kind of humor that is used in some comedy shows where they talk about daily life things that happen to everyone, like hitting your toe with a desk, and they get you a smile because you go “ah that happened to me too”. The problem is, that kind of humor only works because those comedians talk about non-political, non-partisan stuff that everyone can relate to. If you try to apply that to politics…well, the only people who’s gonna laugh are the ones very invested in the ideology you try to promote. Because even those who agree may not find it funny, since, well, there’s no joke to laugh at. A big part of what makes humor “funny” is because we know the comedian is not being serious. Especially when it comes to dark humor, we laugh because the things said by the comedian are so dark that they clash with our value system and the shock makes us laugh, because we know they’re not being serious.

That’s why things like “slam poetry” or far left comedy shows are so devoid of humor. They don’t try to make a joke. They just cry their ideology out loud, and if you agree exactly with what they say you may smile, but if you’re anyone else, the humor factor is 0, because you know they’re serious, and there’s no joke in there to laugh at aside of their opinion. A joke about gays or about male stereotypes is funny, but a feminist going to a stage and crying in all seriousness that all men are potential rapists is no more funny than a priest going to a stage to cry that all gays shall go to hell, because we know they’re both serious. In the same way, a political meme or comic has an opinion part you may not agree with and don’t make you laugh, but it also has (or should have) another part that is actually a joke and can make you laugh even if you think the message is horrible. That is totally lacking in the lefts “humor” nowadays.

Now let’s take a look at the other side; Right wing comics i don’t agree with, but they’re still funny cause they follow the rules of a humor comic. And probably the best example is Stonetoss. I think it’s safe to say his comics express Right wing ideas, and with half of them i either disagree or i think they take something that’s true to an innacurate conclussion, but still i like most of them, because they’re well made. They manage to convey points and arguments in a smart way in only 4 panels and almost no dialogue, and be funny most of the time. As a cartoonist i can tell you that’s no easy feat.

Using this comic as an example. The message here seems to be that there are IQ differences between human races, and people just dismiss them as economic factors even when they accept the scientifical explanation for other differences. The argument for certain races having less IQ is one that is commonly adscribed to groups like the Alt-right (though i don’t know if Stonetoss identify as such), and while it’s true the modern left embraces lysenkoism and have become negacionists of a lot of science, i don’t think there are evidence enough to prove the differences in IQ testing come from race rather than other factors like education. I don’t want to create some subdiscussion here about race, so i’ll simply say this is a message i don’t agree with. Yet the comic is solid.

It conveys a point, shows what are the arguments against that point and gives it’s own counter-argument, all in 6 panels, using a joke about dogs and a father. Now, the noteworthy part here is that the joke is not the argument about IQ. The joke is the reaction of a father who suddenly finds himself trapped by his own words and tries to weasel out his way of saying something that’s considered racist so instead he just says the pre-aproved party line about the topic when it comes to humans, thus confusing the son. That’s something you can laugh at, regardless of what you think of the message. It’s basically what i mentioned at the very begining, about focusing on a joke first, and the message second.

I’ll throw a couple more of Stonstoss but i’ll make it quick.

 

 

 

I don’t agree with the idea that the twin towers were destroyed by Demolition charges and neither would call a natural process of inmigration an “organized invasion”, yet in the first one is funny to see Alexa; whose basically an Amazon spy; having a hard time, and in the second one it manages to convey the point of england treating any talk about inmigration as hate speech, in a funny way.

Now this other one from Wormwood, i’m not sure if he’s right wing, but the comic seem to express that Free healthcare would be a bad thing, and since i’m pro healthcare i would disagree with that. Yet it conveys the point of antifa and the far left becoming anti worker and defending big corporations in a way that only a comic can do. So even if you say, like me “well some of those things aren’t that bad”, you can still find the humor at the end.

Obviously, I’m not saying that every right wing asshole’s comics and memes are funny, or that there is not good humor in the left. I’ve seen some right wing comics that seem to lack basic knowledge on what a comic is, and instead of using visuals they fill the panel with names of people and things. I’ve even subtly made fun of them in one of my comics, though not many people realized. There are also funny left wing comics and memes, and sometimes a comic can hold itself without a joke because it’s well executed. And of course as I said I do political comics while on the left, and I very well know I try to mix my message with a joke in every page I do. So maybe you don’t agree with what i say but you can still laugh at the random funny shit i do in the pages (and even some of my haters have conceded that much).

 

Gamergate life 89

 

But if I have to go by the trend, I would say that overall, I find myself laughing more at right wing/centrist comics/memes I disagree with, than to left wing ones I agree with.

So yes, the left can’t meme. And i would like it could be able to meme again.