By Randall Leclerc
It’s not unusual to see old brands and establishments turning to the internet to gain the approval of younger people, but did anybody expect that to include the White House?
As of April 2013, the President’s cabinet opened the official tumblr of the White House; promising quotes, policy details, and of course, gifs. It seems like cut-and-dry government stuff, yet it also tries to play the internet funny angle. But do we really need internet memes to help us decide on health care policy? Does the most powerful nation on earth need to talk down to its citizens with “#lols”?
Using memes to promote legislature is the laziest system of government since the Ten Commandments. Outside of a certain Disney Channel series, I don’t think the government “talking down to the kids” has ever worked once in the history of human civilization.
As a form of communication, internet memes have all the tact of a fart in a crowded elevator. I can understand the need to communicate to young people. Of course, their purpose is to appeal to us, a demographic commonly seen by the old guard as having lousy social skills that won’t look at anything without a Pokemon on it. But that’s not really us… is it?
A lot of the posts are admittedly helpful: there’s a bunch of infographs and statistics being posted each week. Plus, it’s nice to see some behind-the-scenes looks into what goes on each day at the White House (especially since citizens can’t just go visit anymore.)
But then we see this Quickmeme garbage that reads “PASS IMMIGRATION REFORM: SAVE TAXPAYERS $897,000,000,000.” It doesn’t teach us anything, and I can’t just link it to my spiteful Republican relatives, so what’s the point? I for one would like to know where these trillions of dollars come from, Mr. President! Do they fall out of the sky?
So I’m afraid I can’t side with the White House on this one. I’m all for open government, but it should still look like government. A little curation goes a long way. I can’t say I would be enthusiastic about a future where dorky interns turn C-SPAN into BuzzFeed.