Interview With A Meme Artist

by Stanley Delgado

“It’s either they hate it or like it. It offensive sometimes and other times it brings people together too so what’s the difference between like Van Gogh and a meme?”

Jason Singson, 22, a computer science major at Cal State Long Beach, who anonymously ran a Twitter account which posted fictional lines of dialogue between political, historical, and even spiritual figures along with picture-and-text memes, would maybe know a thing or two about the subject. He has very specific memories with relationships and an entire world bonded together by favorites and retweets.

“I don’t know what you count as friends but I think I made more from memes than like talking.” Singson chuckles.

Singson never intended on creating a meme account, according to him it all happened on accident. A club he had joined demanded that he make a Twitter.

“I joined the radio at [Cal State Long Beach] and they wanted you to make a Twitter and I did but then I stopped showing up so I just had a Twitter for nothing,” says Singson. “I just started retweeting things that I found, pictures, memes, and I started following other people who posted stuff like that and then I started making my own. And I had never even put pictures of myself so it was all [anonymous].”

In 2015, Donald Trump’s announcement that he was running for president gave Singson his most uniting material.

“Dude, it was all such a joke! Like just hearing him talk was so… and it’s not funny anymore but that’s how it started, with everyone and all the Trump tweets that people started retweeting,” said Singson. “It was the Trump ones that blew up.”

A written example of Singson’s material (along with the typos):

donal trump: im goigng to build this wall ok

MXICO: ok that make snense u are rich-

trump: no –

MXICO: :0

trump: ur paying for it 🙂

It had 517 retweets and 721 favorites.

Singson believes that someone with a lot of followers must have retweeted him and gave him an audience.

Singson considered typos a part of his “brand”, or, what people expected from him.

“It’s hard to explain like why exactly typos are funny to me,” Singson pauses. “I think being funny, like comedy, is kind of like music – like you know when a song is catchy and you know when something’s funny and there was a formula for all of my tweets. Like certain words that needed to be misspelled.”

Throughout 2015 and 2016, Singson continued gaining more followers – and with a wider audience, came a wider range of opinions. People began accusing Singson of demonizing Clinton when Trump, they believed, was more deserving. It was this kind of expectation which would stress Singson:

“It’s like if I was supposed to be in the middle of the fence but at the same time like, I’m not a politician. I’m making memes. And I was barely allowed to [buy alcohol]. Memes don’t change the world,” Singson inhales/exhales. “It’s so stupid. I let myself get carried away like I started picking fights with people and they would [message] me and I would message back but it was all out of character so I was quoting statistics or interviews about why their political choices were trash and why mines were better. I started posting those like Illuminati-chemtrail-New World Order garbage posts about conspiracies and since I was taking computer and coding classes I spent all my time on my laptop anyway but I wasn’t getting anything done and I got a C in classes that I would have gotten an A in.”

Singson claims that every favorite and retweet made him feel good about himself and that when his favorite-retweet count was low, he actually felt bad about himself.

“I got sad, dude! I would like get dopamine highs or something whenever I saw that people would retweet my things more than 300 times and feel sad when it was lower,” laughs Singson. “Since it was all anonymous, it didn’t really mean that they like me myself so I think that’s when I decided to log off and deactivate.”

Singson now only has a Facebook which he rarely goes on and an Instagram he uses to keep up with friends and family. He still follows meme pages believing they offer valid ways of connection and communication.

“It’s kind of its own language, honestly, and if I can’t connect to other twenty-year-olds and speak how they speak then like, who am I going to connect to?” Singson admits. “I think in like ten years a lot of people are gonna start freaking out over social media presence and stuff. Like ‘Oh, did you see Stacey’s funeral – it was so trash, mine’s gonna be better’,” Singson laughs. “Memes ruin lives, dude. It’s like how Picasso went insane – it’s basically the same thing.”

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