Roy Batty Has A Posse

June 7, 2007

Yes, yes, Internet, you can has meme. I get it.

Normally this lol stuff doesn’t do much for me. I appreciate how it’s like jazz, with the variations on a theme and the freeform riffing, but usually it’s also formulaic pap. This is the kind of geek humor that makes me embarrassed at conventions: the stuff that just supplies blanks for the user to fill, like Mad Libs for people who wish they were Chandler Bing.[1] This stuff is in the book right after the chapter titled, “How Quoting The Simpsons is the Same as Being A Funny Person Yourself.”

Despite all that, even Language Log is paying semi-serious attention to this stuff.[2] Certainly this lol stuff (see also, Flickr’s philolsopher group) is an interesting display of some kind of pop vernacular sensibility, even when it fails as comedy. It’s like a pop pidgin dialect developing on fast forward. But, and this is important, simply fulfilling the requirements of the grammar still doesn’t result in a successful sentence. Just because you can “can has” whatever doesn’t mean it’s funny.

Formulaic funny doesn’t work.[3] You need a knack for it. When it’s funny, it’s funny, and no matter how stupid I think the gimmick is, I’m still going to laugh. As much as I want to seem above this nonsense, I just cannot stop laughing at some of this stuff,[4] because I’m still such a geek that all my base does belong to whatever.


Music: The Servant, “Cells”

1. That entry on Chandler is so you, Wikipedia.

2. Did you know Geoffrey Chaucer hath a blog?

3. Though monkeys is always funny, and robots are a good bet.

4. Thanks to Chuck for the link.



  1. […] is gaming. When I look at other kept by people in the industry, I see discussions about business, or the role language plays in our subculture or quirky conversation starters, but I’ve really got nothing to say about these things. I […]

  2. Thanks for the Chaucer site. Amazing. I can’t stop laughing.

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