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Do these nightmarish One Direction memes count as art?

Do these nightmarish One Direction memes count as art?


It’s pretty much a rhetorical question, but we can take a poll anyway

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It happens to everyone: you’re dead and you’re a ghost and your famous boyfriend Niall Horan of the famed British boy band One Direction won’t stop singing love songs to you because he is so cute and so dumb and he doesn’t know the difference between ghosts and people.

Just kidding! But that’s a scenario I’ve been forced to imagine thanks to “bad 1d imagines,” a Tumblr blog (and Twitter account) that brings together all the worst One Direction memes and micro fan fiction posts from across the web into one heinous wall of horror.

Photo: bad 1d imagines / Tumblr

“Imagines” are a popular form of fan fiction, structured as an image macro — usually just a photo and a simple prompt to help you imagine a situation. It’s common for them to have “(Y/N)” in them, which is a fill-in-the-blank for “your name.” There are literally thousands of these featuring images of One Direction, which should come as no surprise. And, I suppose, given the range of the English language and the unplumbed depths of the human imagination, it should also be no surprise that many of these are super weird, incredibly violent, or both.

I love them.

Photo: bad 1d imagines / Tumblr
Photo: bad 1d imagines / Tumblr
Photo: bad 1d imagines / Tumblr

A lot of fan fiction is poorly written, and that is because most people are not good at writing fiction. But it’s not a big deal because you don’t really need to be talented at the craft of writing in order to create an enjoyable fantasy for yourself. For example: “Imagine... Harry Styles smooches you on the cheek real polite and then hands you a library card you lost 18 months ago.” Wow, nice.

It’s sort of like how you don’t need to be an expert baker to make an enjoyable cake. It’s cake! It’s pretty much going to be fine unless you go really crazy, and in that case you end up with the cake-equivalent of this:

Photo: bad 1d imagines / Tumblr

The best thing about “bad 1d imagines” is that it’s all submissions and images ripped from other blogs or Instagram accounts — the 20-year-old operator of the blog says they don’t make anything themselves. Some of the posts seem sincere, some are plainly parody, and some are honestly disturbing no matter how they were intended. The submissions process follows the What Not to Wear rules of entry, meaning that any Tumblr user submit on behalf of any friend, acquaintance, or total stranger.

Yes, that process is a little mean. But nobody ever said the art world was all kittens and roses, and nobody in their right mind would deny that these memes are art.

One Direction is one of the most important things that has ever happened to the microblogging platform Tumblr. Even though the band no longer exists, GIFs of their old concerts, conspiracy theories about their young children, and paparazzi shots of their afternoon iced tea runs in Calabasas are essential to the fabric of the site. Over a year into the group’s indefinite hiatus, they’re as powerful a presence on the platform as they ever were.

And in particular, fan fiction about the four (at one point, five — RIP Zayn) members of the band is still incredibly popular. As per Tumblr’s weekly fandom metrics, the group is still regularly among the top 20 musical acts on the site, and when the site published a comprehensive report at the end of last year, One Direction was the third most popular topic for fan fiction. The synapse-razing images embedded in this post are barely a fraction of a percent of a snapshot of a sample of what’s out there.

So it’s nearly impossible to imagine One Direction ever leaving us completely, and it’s easy to imagine being brutally murdered or maimed by a member of One Direction.

Photo: bad 1d imagines / Tumblr

You can vote in this poll if you want, but it’s really just for show.


Do these nightmarish One Direction memes count as art?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    (554 votes)
  • 44%
    (438 votes)
992 votes total