A few weekends ago, there was a video that went around of Clint Eastwood opening for the 2012 Republican National Convention. Mitt Romney was being nominated as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party for the 2012 election. Clint would go on for over 10 minutes, incoherently, around how great America is and that it was time for a new president etc etc.
Don’t feel obliged to watch it; the video is only there as a reference.
What drew a lot of attention from this was the fact that during the speech Clinty started talking to an empty chair as though Barack Obama was sitting on it. A “meme” was born out of Clint’s odd behaviour called “eastwooding”, where photos of people talking to an empty chair started to pop up on the interwebz. I think it deserved a little chuckle, but that was about it. There’s so many pictures of chairs you could endure before the joke gets old really quick, i.e. 1.
Then the media suddenly got involved.
“Eastwooding makes the rounds on the web”
“Eastwooding goes viral as celebrities lampoon Hollywood icon”
“Is Eastwooding the next Planking internet meme”
“Clint Eastwood speech inspires empty chair “Eastwooding” internet meme”
I felt a bit violated.
Memes are the most democratic form of communication on the internet. It is decided solely by the citizens of the internet with their participation by sharing or creating their own. The legacy of the meme is then decided by how long it sticks around for, how many times it’s shared/ used and how many forms it takes. How much involvement can the mainstream media have until it feels kinda ‘weird’? (Unless it’s for reporting things like this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzNhaLUT520).
People decided that cats are funny and cute, therefore kajillion pieces of cat photos and videos is churned all over the internet. People decided that High Expectations Asian Father was needed to describe the unrealistic expectations of their parents . The people decided that Scumbag Steve was needed to describe the dicky things their friends did. And who doesn’t love Condescending Wonka – now there’s an outlet for that thing we always wanted to say to our friends!
Memes are decided by the internet, and if there are any outside influences trying to force it, whether it be mainstream media or commercial interests, it kinda goes against what memes ultimately stand for and the purity of its process.
Although this has left a a little sour taste in my mouth, I’m quite confident that the internet will ultimately and correctly decide whether eastwooding stands the test of time.