“Starter Pack” memes are an intricate meme style given the numerous references that are used in a single image, yet in most cases, the viewer will know exactly what type of person the starter pack meme is referring to and will likely have encountered this stereotypical person in their own lives. In a way, the starter pack meme acts as a way to make fun of and draw attention to the frustrating people we often come across in the 21st-century world.
I created this self-aware meme within a series as gifts for my roommates. I made each of us our own starter pack, poking fun at our neuroses and our ridiculous taste in food, films, social media, music and more. Because these memes are supposed to be relatable, I created these with my roommates in mind, and thus my starter pack reflects my identity within the scope of my living situation here in Guelph. It was a completely different experience to curate my own starter pack than it was to create three others for my roommates. I do wonder what the experience would have been had one of my roommates decided to make me my starter pack- would I have felt as though it accurately summed up my identity? Would they have added something that I had never noticed about myself? How would it have been different if my mom created my starter pack? What about if Mark created it?
The production of memes is something that is rarely discussed, but in my opinion, borders on basic graphic design. You don’t have to have any technical design skill to create a meme, but the amount of actual internet hunting that is involved in order to find all of your individual images, all while keeping them sorted in folders (I have close to 90 images from these four starter packs) requires patience. That same patience is called into play when it comes time to actually build the meme, just in sizing, layering, and organizing all of the images in a visually pleasing way. The time and effort put into a meme is an invisible labour, and millennials blindly share and consume memes without thinking twice about the real person who created that relatable content. Perhaps that is how the meme economy functions- meme-makers have to understand that their creation is no longer theirs the moment that they let it loose on the internet. Perhaps the good that the meme will do is more gratifying than the credit for their labour. Often, starter packs will have the creator’s Twitter handle hidden amongst the collage, a new type of artist’s signature.
Most of the content in the starter pack is straightforward. I am constantly juicing or making kombucha, I mainly eat kale, quinoa, or spaghetti. I work for Mark on Privacy Stories, I think Kanye West’s famous video was an artistic masterpiece. Boyhood (film) changed my life, Jaden Smith is a genius, and I always fall asleep on the couch. I drive a little blue Kia and think a lot about meat consumption in relation to feminism. I need examples for every hypothetical situation, and am petty over Facebook chat. I smoke tobacco, am anxious about the future, and worship Miley Cyrus.
I incorporated many other memes into my meme starter pack, creating a meta sort of meme-within-a-meme complex. The Futurama Fry / Not Sure If… meme presents itself as both my skeptical tendencies and my major, English, as well as hinting at my habit of overthinking. The Kim Kardashian Dropping Hints meme reveals that my star sign is Aquarius and as well as that one of the key aspects of the Aquarius experience is that they have problems with emoting. I also added the gooey, drippy MEME QUEEN label because, after all, I am a meme queen.