I have a really exciting life. On Friday nights, after Duana and I record Show Your Work, you can usually find me in bed, where I disappear into a panda video black hole. I have killed so many hours of my life on panda videos, I think I need to install a blocker on my devices. Pandas and Nanny Mei, she’s my favourite.
Last Friday, however, it wasn’t pandas. Last Friday night I spent 3 hours on the Karma’s A Bitch meme after Kassy Cho posted about it on Twitter. And I’m still not over it. The origin is a scene in Riverdale. From there, Chinese teenagers, well, they did what they do best: selfies and camera play. China has become the undisputed world leader in selfies and posing and filters. And it is a celebrated national resource. Warning: this becomes addictive. Follow the thread.
Hello it is Friday and I am here with the latest Chinese meme: “karma’s a bitch”— Kassy Cho (@kassyapple) January 26, 2018
Here are some of the best ones: pic.twitter.com/tdjItEkzvL
This reminds me of a great article at The New Yorker written by Jiayang Fan that was published back in December about China’s selfie obsession. Here in North America, we call them “influencers” or “Instagram models” – people who become famous for their social media presence. In China, their counterparts are referred to as “wang hong”; “wang” means the internet and “hong” means red but it’s the word we use for famous. So, literally, “internet famous”. They have millions of followers. They’re making millions of dollars. And they are taking selfie-ing and posing and meme-ing to the next level with better devices, better cameras, and better filters. Your iPhone 6, for example, is bullsh-t. Get that trash out of here. The funniest detail, at least to me, from the piece is that in China now, it’s considered impolite to post a photo without “improving it”. As in rude. Why would you do that to your followers, your friends, yourself?
This new national social etiquette has become a billion dollar industry. And now Karma’s A Bitch. Or was a bitch. Because by now the meme is only for old people like me and they’re on to something else.
Yours in gossip,