Although clever, Internet memes usually aren’t of the highest stature in terms of comedic genius. They give us a rousing good laugh and we’re always coming back for more. Hence, why they’re a meme. But as of late a new Internet meme has been popping up that both excites me and worries me: grammar corrections. Now the “Grammar Nazi” is nothing new. That’s been around for quite some time. KnowYourMeme.com best defines a grammar Nazi, or grammar police, “refers to someone who believes it is his/her duty to amend any grammar and/or spelling mistakes made by others in conversation. In most cases, the term carries a negative connotation of either being a buzzkiller who ruins a good joke by getting too technical…”
As someone with an immense appreciation for excellent grammar, just as any editor should, I can’t help but love that Internet meme. I feel as though it were written about myself. But a slight variation has been rearing its head. Most notably one describing why the Oxford comma is still relevant. With it, “We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin.” Without it, “We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin.” The former displays a group of strippers, JFK, and Stalin. The latter depicts JFK and Stalin dressed as strippers. As a firm Oxford comma proponent, I find this joke absolutely hilarious. But when I shared it on my Facebook page, I noticed people who have never shown an ounce of concern about grammar “liking” the picture. These are some of the same people who get mad at me when I unleash grammar police on them for their incorrectly written statuses.
This is where I am left confused by this Internet meme. I’m excited that people are showing concern, but at the same time I feel like it’s a complete contradiction. These memes are making fun of people who do not showcase a strong command of the English language. And these very same people who lack some of that knowledge are laughing at it. But a friend pointed out that it is a funny way for people to brush up on their skills and I’m all for making the country a smarter one. My main concern is that if everyone actually paid attention in English class, I would no longer enjoy such a cheap laugh at other people’s expense. A conundrum indeed.
I’ll deal with the Internet meme so long as people truly understand why they are funny. However, if you laugh at it, I will now expect you to follow the lesson and not make the mistake you just laughed at. I don’t have that much faith in people, but I hope this is one meme that continues to catch on and teaches people a valuable lesson. Words and punctuation are important. Choose them wisely.