CES, now less than a month away, is the kind of week to inspire camaraderie and in-joking — some of which made it into our daily liveblogs in 2014. It is also a week of awkward corporate attempts at coolness, beginning with the International CES Tumblr, which starts strong (with an astronaut walking a tiger on the Moon, for some reason) and then stumbles into a sludge of blurry animated gifs and image macros. Many of the latter were made through the site Memegenerator.net, so when the event's social media team put together the "Official 2015 International CES Meme Generator," you might understandably expect them to have produced, well, an actual meme generator.
You would be wrong.
A meme generator (or image macro generator, if you want to be specific) is supposed to give you one thing: a way to write clever text, usually in all-caps Impact font, on top of a picture. If you want inspirational office posters, for example, you might make these sample memes:
Well, actually, it doesn't matter what you want, because you don't get to pick. The CES Meme Generator is more like a trade show-flavored personality test and demographic sampling tool. You get your "personal CES meme" by answering a set of multiple-choice questions like "How long have you been coming to CES?" and "Which would best describe your goals at CES?" It's like someone somebody told a market researcher to design a Cosmo quiz. Here's the meme I got by randomly clicking answers:
Pre-generated text is one thing, but at the very least don't pick a phrase and half-follow it. One does not simply Impact-font into memehood.
Besides feeling cheated of my chance to write graffiti on a moon-tiger, I'm disappointed that someone has finally managed to so thoroughly neuter the meme's anarchic potential. For all that image macros are just copy-pasted words and pictures, they survive only by constantly being tweaked and adapted for new situations. That's why asking people to "meme you" is a double-edged sword: sometimes they'll use your generator to make video game jokes, and sometimes they'll use it to point out that over a dozen women have accused you of rape. But it looks like the brands are finally catching wise.
In case generating your meme for you wasn't enough, they've also got some helpful, totally natural-sounding social media text. Be sure to use it to tell all your friends to be sure to promote why they're attending CES (not the "Consumer Electronics Show.") And to not forget to use the hashtag.