Meme-Hunting Expedition: Toronto

Toronto’s memes, I now know, were centered most richly in the [Asian-country]-town area, which I unfortunately moved away from upon leaving my Megabus, rapidly discerning less memes (and of lower rebloggability, I felt) until I arrived, ~50 minutes later, at Whole Foods, whose combination of social awareness and professionally modern aesthetic has proven highly unfriendly to the nourishment of young memes—those who don’t “die” early are “snuffed out” daily by managers. Because I was deceived (by the initially abundant flora of memes) to believe, on some level—with increasing desperation and then actually a kind of fatalism bordering on nihilism—that there would be “more memes ahead” many powerful, potentially viral memes were left in the wild. These 5 memes are presented, then, as an inaccurate—a weaker, ersatz—sampling of Toronto’s visual memes.

BUFFET MEME

Associated in any manner with the concept of a “buffet” (an inherently memetic device that seems “what if” in nature but actually exists in 94% of human cultures).

Seconds after leaving my Megabus, after a ~15-hour trip from Manhattan, I perceived this meme—in the distance, across the street. Seems self-explanatory. “Over 100 Item” unconventional-grammar-usage seems both vaguely daring and simply functional (is the “s” really necessary…most would say “no” but few would actually omit it). Seems to feature sushi/sashimi as “enticements”—reasonably, I feel, neither “downplaying” nor overstating the situation. Standing on the sidewalk, holding my iPhone in the air, I peripherally noted that the sashimi was featured using a primitive foregrounding technique, allowing the meme to express a 3D element, presaging the popularity of 3D movies, and that the “Lunch Special” banner, set low (out-of-view of my photograph, I noticed later), seemed bleakly pleasing.

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  • oat

    oh my god is there anything you write these people won't publish

    • oat

      also i know exactly what this comment section is going to look like in 24 hours

      • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

        what will it look like

      • oat

        what it's already starting to look like

      • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

        what does it already look like

      • http://thetimewornwhat.blogspot.com/ shaun gannon

        this

      • oat

        like you'll be shocked by a device inside your macbook if you don't reply to as many comments as you can

      • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

        what does that look like

      • oat

        this conversation

      • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

        sweet

    • http://stephentullydierks.blogspot.com stephen

      Oat, i may have something for you

  • toronto

    just … get out of my city.

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      why…

    • http://stephentullydierks.blogspot.com stephen

      have you tried any of these products

  • Tommmmmm

    hello tao r u still in toronto? can we maybe shoot the breeze?

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      i'm not there

  • http://stephentullydierks.blogspot.com stephen

    lol

  • http://tomhankssuperfan.blogspot.com megan boyle

    lol…

    i want there to be a short film called “the meme hunter” based on this article, starring liam neeson

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      i have some news for you

      'the meme hunter' will be out in spring of 2014!

      sadly, it's not starring liam neeson, but i heard they want him for the sequel

      • http://notatoaster.tumblr.com mary

        'meme hunter' would be one hollywood production i would actually pay actual us currency to actually see

    • http://avantgardebagpipesolos.tumblr.com/ Omar De Col

      “I don't know who memes are.

      I don't know what memes want.

      If memes are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money.

      But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career.

      Skills that make me a nightmare for memes like you.

      If memes let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it.

      I will not look for memes, I will not pursue memes.

      But if memes don't, I will look for memes, I will find memes, and I will kill memes.”

      – THE MEME HUNTER

  • Amy

    Why did you chose Toronto? I liked this article.

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      i had pictures on my iphone from toronto

  • Maggie

    felt a sense of unity with this article and my country, might sing national anthem under my breath

    • Lol

      canada is a bad joke

      • http://twitter.com/adamhump adamhump

        fuck you

      • bad joke

        this article is a bad joke

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      sweet

  • http://hbgwhem.tumblr.com/ HBGWHEM

    i don't mean to be racial in a post-racial society and i fear i'm being rude here, but i've already started typing and i think i've already backtracked enough that this statement will seem meek instead of whiteguyish but, as a member of the AZN community, while you were photographing these memes, did you feel yourself becoming a live action meme to passers by?

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      interesting

      i didn't feel that at the time

      feel like next time i might feel that now

      • http://hbgwhem.tumblr.com/ HBGWHEM

        don't let it get in the way of your meme hunting though. if you have someone take a picture of you taking a picture of a meme then it could muddy the research. it's like this one time i saw a baseball card and the picture on the card was of the player holding his baseball card which couldn't have existed until the photograph was taken and it made me so confused that i haven't been able to watch baseball without getting a migraine =( keep hunting, tao.

      • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao
    • Lol

      LOL! Tao Lin is an AZN man in a very very white world. His entire consciousness is seen through this filament

  • http://profiles.google.com/sheelacheong Sheela Cheong

    When I saw this meme I felt momentarily disoriented, confused if I was actually looking at someone’s Tumblr (in retrospect I’ve discerned this disorientation to be mostly manifestation, in concrete reality, of wanting to “click to enlarge”).
    ———-

    Liking this a lot.
    'The simulated environment can be similar to the real world.'

  • Tommmmmm

    all of our memes; inside joke you outside.

  • OFWGKTA

    you're the best writer on this site. but that's not saying much

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      in my view your statement 'isn't saying much' because your use of the word 'best' denotes that you alone know what the goal of life is and that you have done a study of every writer on this site and concluded that i'm the writer who most effectively, with my writing, benefits the success of that goal and that that goal, additionally, is a goal that every person who reads your comment shares exactly (which, i feel, is impossible to know)

      • OFWGKTA

        fine, i take it back. i take it all back

      • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

        sweet

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

        oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god

      • Brotein Powder

        You don't have to know the “goal of life” and study “every writer on this site” to know that something is piss poor. Not saying that your writing is, in fact, piss poor, but just that your critique appeals to the kind of objectivity that you so often decry.

  • http://twitter.com/gay_lioness_fag david jones

    laughed after reading “sturdy” within “SPORTS + CANCER MEME”

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      interesting

  • cooldadbro

    It's interesting how you begin by describing memes in terms of flora, whereas Carles of Hipster Runoff opts for fauna [via the metaphor of the 'content farm']. Are memes animal, vegetable, or mineral? Perhaps they are of their own 'mememal' class, somewhere between the animate and the inanimate.

  • Anon

    I'm so jealous of Megan Boyle getting to be with this man.

    Someday I hope to be married to a non caucasian published author writer for thought catalog hipsterrunoff meme

    • Anon

      I reread this and it came off as snarky but I am in ALL SERIOUSNESS

  • http://avantgardebagpipesolos.tumblr.com/ Omar De Col

    “The overall effect is one of irresolution.”

    damn, sounds like 'life'

  • http://boysincords.tumblr.com/ hannah b

    'bandana's – assorted' seems hopeless or something

  • AaronWB

    Meme-hunting reminds me of Ezra Koenig's vibe-spotting project before he got famous.

    http://internetvibes.blogspot….

  • Brandon

    just 'liked' upwards of 4 comments in this comments section, feeling uniquely positive

  • GIRLFRAN

    like pop art in words.

  • Luke

    lol'd at sick kids meme

  • http://twitter.com/thiscameron Cameron

    “in retrospect I’ve discerned this disorientation to be mostly the manifestation, in concrete reality, of a physical urge to “click to enlarge””

    sometimes i don't want to respond to what someone said to me. i just want to 'reblog' it irl.

  • http://fuckheadwitha.blogspot.com jwg

    This article made me feel like Road Hockey and Boston Pizza are going to stomp cancer's shit.

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      i think road hockey could via exercise

      pizza seems like it would be a cause of cancer

      overall seems like they might 'even out,' but since most people already eat pizza maybe not, maybe it will decrease cancer rates

  • shoehorn

    may have eaten at the restaurant displaying the first sign last night, a minute or so from the bus terminal
    the soy sauce was watered down..

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      sweet

      lol

  • http://www.smokingonanemptystomach.blogspot.com Jordan

    felt high levels of interest and enjoyed reading this while 'playing with my facial hair' and showing ziggy the pictures after i read each page

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      sweet ass ziggy muffins

    • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

      sweet ass ziggy muffins

  • curt

    seems faulkner-esque

    lol at “sick kids”

    really loved the sentences in that last one, tao

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