Comedy Central may have gotten out of the “Fat Jew” business before the masses of protesting comedians got their way…but Josh Ostrovsky’s own countermeasure reveals just how deep the problem of Internet “curation” and “aggregation” goes.
Ostrovsky changed the bio of his popular Instagram “thefatjewish” to read “United States Creative Director of Internet Curatorial Affairs.” And his most recent curations come from…well…
A new one today shows an image of America Online with the caption: “Doing dubstep before dubstep was dubstep.” Which he credits to kidsthesedaysac — who, in turn, didn’t credit anyone. A Google search for it turns up an older iteration two years ago. And wouldn’t you know, while I was typing this up, Ostrovsky removed that image from his own feed.
Two posts on Wednesday came from “friend_of_bae” who has 15,600 followers and says “Bae’s friend/disclaimer: I am just gonna be straight up, I post funny pictures I did not create to make you laugh. I do not take credit for any pics.”
Another image, credited to Pistol (Katie Schurman)’s post from three days ago isn’t exactly original.
“It can be tricky to find the original source of the content,” Schurman told The Huffington Post in a story that appears today. “If I repost an image, I will try to give credit to the original creator if I know absolutely who it is.”
But what if a meme’s credit gets chopped so early in the process of sharing that by the time it’s gone viral, it’s so prevalent uncredited that it’s like digging through an Internet haystack to find the needle of origin?
I found the same photo with one word different in the caption posted on a Tumblr called Funny Art on July 6, 2014. If you follow that back, you see a user named “Martin” (no bio or link) provided it to the site, and Martin recycles plenty of content. Most recently this one about marriages being a public toilet. Which isn’t a new observation at all.
But it reminds us that Internet memes are a lot like public toilets, too. Would you celebrate and lavish praise on the most popular public toilet? Well, you might put a plaque or a blue ribbon next to it. Sure. I’ll give you that. Just don’t give the public toilet a modeling contract, book deal and TV series. Please?