Congress Founds the National Meme Registry

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Submitted: June 25, 2019

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Submitted: June 25, 2019

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Congress Founds the National Meme Registry

By Dess Nuts, reporter for The Voice

Published July 28, 2022


The longstanding media registries of the United States’ Library of Congress, the National Film and Recording Registries, will be accompanied by a new cultural preservation branch for the first time in 22 years: The National Meme Registry.

Three months ago, a bill was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the House, under the title National Meme Preservation Act of 2022. Yesterday, after months of intense nationwide debates, the bill was officially voted into law by Congress.


What is a meme?

The newly founded National Meme Preservation Board, a council of “pop culture influencers,” mediologists, anthropologists, a representative from the website “Know Your Meme”, and three “American Meme Icons” (an honorific bestowed upon the young artist Danielle Bregoli, also known as ‘Bhad Babie’ or ‘Cash Me Outside Girl’, the even younger professional dancer Russel Browning, widely known as ‘Backpack Kid’, and the youngest, Jackson Norello, the ‘Hah Hah Child’, whose recent claim to fame was his widely circulated signature laugh) has deviated from the precedented official criteria for admission: “A meme worthy of admission must be an edited still image or clip that is at least five seconds long, and not longer than a minute. It must be culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant, and must be objectively funny. Like the “Hah Hah Child,” all Americans, across cultural, ethnic, and religious boundaries, must have a “Hah Hah Moment” when they see the meme.” This was also restated by Bregoli at the Board’s first official press conference, who was promptly ushered off the podium after ”she had to clap back” when asked several questions about the criteria.

 

What does this meme- no, sorry- mean?

Sorry, we couldn’t resist memeing there. Every year, the NMPB will convene in three sessions. The first will be to determine the “Noteworthy Meme Formats” of that year. The next will be a lengthy selection process, as the Board will narrow down and handpick the memes from the nominated entries that best exemplify each format, using a nuanced formulaic process to determine their cultural value. The Board will gauge its own reaction to the meme, gauge the reactions of those reacting to the meme on various platforms like YouTube, and mathematically determine the individual meme’s popularity and reception. This mathematical determination will be made via calculations involving like to dislike ratios and view counts. Twenty-five qualifying memes of each format will be selected out of the nominations. The third and final session will be devoted to nominating the year’s “Best American Memers” and new “American Meme Icons,” with the Icon receiving the most votes being inducted into the NMPB, and the Icon receiving the least being kicked off (Many project that Bregoli may be the first one to go). 

After this session, the Board will begin curating the “National Meme Festival,” an annual celebration held in the Capitol that showcases the year’s selection.  Several galleries will be curated, and each will be dedicated to a different format, individually displaying each format’s twenty-five exemplary pieces. The year’s nominated Meme Icons and Memers will attend the event. While the festival is underway, internationally renowned sculptors will arrive in Washington and begin work on sculpting the year’s best memes into the Washington Monument.  The festival will close with the ceremonial burning of “dead memes” on the White House lawn. After the festival’s conclusion, the collections will be archived on the Library of Congress’ website, and some will be featured in a brand new exhibition, housed in New York City’s Natural History Museum, called “American Memes”. 

The Board has also begun work on archiving so-called “ancient” and “historic” memes, and chronologizing them into “meme eras,” beginning with the Top Illudean and Bottom Illudean periods; and designating certain “Landmarks, Figures, and Historical Events” over the course of meme history, such as the “Rise of Chan,” “The Great Meme War of 2016,” and the “Gamer Revolution.”

 

What do people think? 

Ever since the bill was introduced in April, everyone’s jimmies have been quite rustled (To have rustled jimmies is to have a dramatic reaction when exposed to something upsetting). A widely held, controversial view is that the move is and was not “nonpartisan legislation,” but rather a ploy by Democrats to stop Kanye from receiving the Republican nomination in 2024 by “out-memeing” him. A perceived uptick in “meme presidencies”, cemented by President Trump’s current second term in office, has led many to believe that “Ye” is poised to continue this trend. Kanye has publically repeated his intent to run in 2024 several times each year since 2018. The bill’s proximity to a heavily publicized and heavily memed March stunt by Kanye, widely known as “Yeezus on the Cross” (where West installed a 15-foot-tall red cross in Times Square, tied himself to it, and invited passersby to throw their phones at him), makes it even more likely that the bill is reactionary to a new upsurge in his meme popularity. 

Alan Abramowitz, a political analyst who correctly predicted the outcome of nearly every popular vote in the United States, believes that the bill is intended to swing the vote away from “Yeezus”. This excerpt was taken from Alan’s new book, My Degree is Now Useless: “Clinton’s battlecry for young voters to “Pokémon Go to the polls” in 2016 was the very first recognition of the sheer might and potential of the youth vote in our era. But, as we all know, Hilary was reaching for something out of her grasp, something that, when reached for, caused her brittle bones to snap with a very audible crack. Well-known, relatable figures on the Left, like Cortez, are now acting as “Pied Pipers”. They strategically utilize memes in the way that the Piper played his flute, leading [the youth’s] attention, and the flow of their political capital, away from the influence of “living memes” like Trump and Mr. West. This “meme war” has escalated to the point that memes will be the single deciding factor in 2024. He who controls memes controls the election.” 

Other political and social theorists have spoken extensively on the matter. In a lengthy May interview, best-selling author and renowned sociologist, professor Jordan B. Peterson, gave a self-proclaimed “unaffiliated hot-take”. This was taken from the first minute of the nearly three hour long interview; one in which Peterson was asked a single question: “As much as I… dislike young Miss Alexandria, I understand, but do not support, her… sentiment. Memes are quite the… cultural phenomenon… in the new… age we live in. An age… governed by anarchical youth… at the top… the top of the dominance hierarchy… A youth with a severe… detachment from the chaos… they create... Much like, let’s say, the ones who got her… elected.” 

Most Democrats deny the allegations, consistently restating that the bill is not political in any way, shape, or form, and that the bill is “very relatable”. Several Democratic representatives and senators have conveyed this through memes. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Chuck Schumer, Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Cortez herself are considered to be the frontline in this “meme charge”. Senator Schumer posted a large batch to his twitter in late May, in a seemingly unending stream, containing notable works like “When ur tryna pass one in the Cong”. These posts have been swarmed by conservative accounts, in  vicious counter attacks, all of which reply in the millions: “This is proof why the Left can’t meme.” Following these attacks, several Republican congresspeople followed suit with their own memes, lambasting the bill and “roasting” the Democrat memers.

Party leader Nancy Pelosi, in a statement responding to someone, at some point, said this: “Do not listen to this Republican hoax. Trump can spin this really any way he wants, but the fact of the matter is that Alexandria is simply updating the cultural landscape. She’s installing the iOS. She’s downloading the new files. She’s enabling the voice of her generation, putting their phones into speaker mode. It’s really something…” Some weeks after Pelosi said this, Trump posted a tweet on his official twitter account, @realDonaldTrump. It was unclear whether the tweet was responding to Pelosi, or directed at Cortez, mainly due to its content:

 

“This dumb woman cannot keep her mouth shut. Believe me, Memes will end way before bitchin’ Alexandria and her Democrat Goons steal them, much like how they steal from all American families. I’ll deport her, and I’ll deport all the Democrats who think they can steal our Memes and steal the Vote!”

 

President Trump’s near-obsessive opposition to the bill has not done much, as the bill’s presidential veto has been overridden by yesterday’s shocking 53-43 majority. Cortez, coming out of the Capitol with a grin so wide reporters thought she might have had some form of facial paralysis, gave this statement: “My initiative to place memes in the halls of Congress is a major progressive step in creating a more culturally aware and diverse America. Memes are representative of the American people; they can be created by anyone and enjoyed by everyone. My generation understands that memes can be used to express so much in an instant, and I want the power to be placed in their hands... Y-your hands, rather, everyone’s hands! Even wrinkly white ones!”

Okay y’all, this is epic…

The battle over meme politics continues to rage on, even after the bill’s passage and the NMPB’s establishment. Even though the conflict seems to have no end in sight, people from all across the political spectrum have at least found a temporary common ground: predicting the National Meme Registry’s first entries. Right now, thousands of predictions are being made on social media, all of which made us “LOL”, a lot made us “YAAAAS”, some made us “bruh”, and a select few gave us a treasured “Hah Hah Moment”. You can show us your own prediction, or predictions, via our hashtag: #TheVoiceMemePredictionsForNationalMemeRegistry2022

 

Here’s our top picks: 

 

 


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