The Internet Food Chain
A look into how jokes travel through the fibre optics
With all the sudden surge of posting memes in Facebook by every Kuddus, Mokhles and Sokhina, our curious minds start wondering about how these people got to know about memes in the first place. Then we think is there anything original in the internet anymore? Then we stop thinking about unnecessary things and plan to make our next internet changing post.
If you are one of those people who have never wasted hours before an important assignment browsing through photos of kittens and moderately funny inanity of people, then you are probably super-human or an alien.
Let's just briefly explain to you how the contents in the internet evolve. First, there is the mother of all contents: 4chan. 4chan is hardcore internet, and the average human beings would have a hard time getting the jokes of /b/. A major amount of 4chan's content is also things that would seem downright revolting to you or me, but due to long exposure on the internet, their meanings have diluted down. Suppose 4chan digs out a video of an extremely brave dog saving a guy's life in a shootout. The dog is worshipped for a few days as the newest, most awesome thing in all the internet and photos are made into memes, and 'courage wolf' is born.
The content then makes its way to sites like reddit.com, where they get a makeover as a less offending version of the 'original' one. Over-enthusiastic users would try to recreate the success of that content into trillions of others just like it, involving a few pun threads and a couple of atheist spins on it. By the time they get tired of it, the content is sterile and servable to the aforementioned Mokhleses and Sokhinas in places like 9GAG.com.
As 9GAG takes a piece of the action, the meme or content is as dead as your hygiene deficient friend's toenail. They try putting their own spin on it, with the limited internet knowledge that they have and unsurprisingly end up ruining it even further while dumbing down the humour even more for their friends who prefer to write lyke tHizzz. Some of them even start talking like the memes in real life, just to sound smart and internet-savvy, but we don't even want know what their deal is.
After a short journey, everything makes its way to Facebook, where all the parents and grandparents know about the rage comics and troll faces and the posts become as readable and as fascinating as 'Share this with 200 of your friends if you think <3s can cure cancer' and EVERYONE loses interest. Thankfully the internet has created some other new inane stuff by then and the whole process repeats itself in seven days.
I step on the scale. My heart rate is accelerated, the whirring of elliptical machines and treadmills a steady hum at the back of my head. In the squash court visible through the glass walls of the gym a young blond man, blue T-shirt clinging suggestively to a well-toned torso, is driving a racquetball ferociously into the wall. I am momentarily distracted by his shapely man legs as the scale calculates my weight.
Thoughts crash into each other, and then there is a mind-numbing silence. A hundred and forty-two pounds, a hundred and forty-two pounds of congealed body fat on my five feet four frame. I am close to tears.
Freshmen fifteen had been a myth until this point, something that my friends back in high school and I joked about as we ploughed our way through greasy cafeteria food. “Ramen noodles and soda,” we remarked, “that's a surefire way to pack on those pounds.” Yet we had been largely unconcerned that the summer before we all parted ways, only looking forward to the four month-long fiesta of cholesterol-laden food and group pictures before we went off to college. “I'm not going to let freshmen fifteen happen to me,” we told each other, casting sidelong glances at each others' figures svelte or otherwise and calculating, inwardly, how fat or how skinny we would be once winter break rolled around the corner.
And now here I am. I am a whole twelve pounds heavier than when I had started off my first semester of college. Not even one bowl of Ramen noodles consumed, barely a glass or two of soda, and still I am only three pounds away from freshmen fifteen.
It shouldn't have been a big deal. “You don't even look like you gained any weight,” my well-meaning friends from Texas reassured me over Skype. “Don't worry about it.” Yet I felt it. Layers of blubber rippled under my skin while all around me peppy girls in their crop tops and leggings strode around campus, all about taut sinews and definition, years of athletic training clearly stated in their slim figures. “You can't compare yourself to them,” my roommate told me the one day I confessed my frustrations to her. “You don't come from the same circumstances. You can't let this get you down.”
How can I not, though? Every morning trip to the gym is a lesson in self-pity. Rows of attractive girls, in their athletic shorts and tank tops, do crunches and pull-ups while I struggle to do twenty-minute rounds on the bicycle. They glow, the picture of health, while I stew in my resentment that I cannot ever be quite like them.
No figure-flattering dresses can work for me, no crop tops or leggings or accessories can hide the wide hips or the more-than-generous thighs. I stand in front of my roommate's full-length mirror, sucking in my breath, hoping that this morning will be different, that this morning I will look five pounds skinnier, that my paunch will not spill over the waistband of my jeans when I sit down at my usual spot in the library. Yet every morning it is the same reflection: five feet four, a hundred and forty pounds; a decidedly dumpy physique on a campus full of beautiful people.
The self-pity is all-encompassing. I go to meals with my friends and vow to breeze past the dessert aisle, only to come back half an hour later for a cookie or a brownie. “Just this one time,” I tell myself, as the last crumb disappears down my oesophagus even though I know I will be back the next meal and the meal after that. Inwardly I calculate how many calories I've consumed. “A hundred and fifty for each cookie that's half an hour on the bike.” I try to scare myself out of my indulgence and fail, every single time. “From tomorrow I will quit,” but tomorrow never comes, and every morning it is a frustrating forty-five minutes on the gym and another three minutes while the scale recalculates what my self-esteem is worth, in pounds and ounces. “Why do I never learn?” I ask myself, every morning in front of the mirror, sucking in my breath and trying to fool myself into thinking that I look an inch slimmer, a dress size smaller. But the dress tag is always a Medium, always a size 8, and even as Jennifer Hudson drops four pant sizes and People Magazine features people who lost half their weight I cannot be moved.
What will it take? I step off the scale, and across the hallway the attractive blond in the blue t-shirt puts down his racquet and drags an arm across his brow. What will it take?
By Shehtaz Huq
Space is a wonderful space
No planet has a face
Earth has living things,
Mercury has no rings,
The sun has no moon,
But shines bright.
Pluto is a dwarf,
But not invisible.
There are nine planets,
Each one is special,
Just like the sun
There will be fun for everyone!
By Sophia Rahim
Stinson Elementary, Texas
Freedom is my thinking place,
No critics, no lies,
Emptiness in the smallest space,
Though filled with thoughts that don't leave a trace.
Freedom is more than dark shaded grays,
It's unmatched beauty that comes rare these days.
It's where happiness plays,
It's where thought frays.
Freedom is consistent love,
Free flying thoughts like a dove.
Glued to a corner in a room with no walls.
Enjoy your life,
While death stalls,
Let go of the stress
Because no matter what, life's a mess,
So live it to the full
or it'll become dull.
We can be FREE.
By Alyna Rahman,
Grace International School Year 9, Age 13