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When you find out you have a hot dog: Why AI-generated memes make more sense than those produced by MRAs

TFW you’ve just posted an incomprehensible MRA meme

By David Futrelle

You may have noticed a strange explosion of highly surreal memes hitting your Twitter home page of late. Blame the Artificial Intelligence-powered meme generator that you can find here, which will happily generate as many weird and baffling memes as you could ever want.

Now, the meme generator is a fairly basic thing, in principle: it takes in hundreds (thousands?) of human-generated memes in a variety of formats before pooping out something it doesn’t understand, but that we humans might.

Given that the AI-meme-generator literally doesn’t know what it’s saying, most of the memes it puts out tend to be a bit puzzling:

And sometimes it doesn’t seem to understand the meme format at all:

But alongside the surreal memes, the AI-meme-generator somehow manages to spit out others that make perfect (or at least only slightly imperfect) sense. I’ve been fiddling around with it for awhile and have been surprised and intrigued by these memes, which seem very much like the memes an actual human might produce on their own.

Indeed, these memes make a lot more sense than many if not most of the Men’s Rights memes I’ve run across (and written about) over the years — despite the fact that the MRA memes were generated by actual human beings who, at least in theory, should know what they’re saying.

Let’s look at examples from both genres — contrasting some of my, er, favorite MRA memes with memes the AI-meme-generator made for me.

Let’s start with this authentic MRA meme:

Apparently the thought process behind this, er, hilarity is: “Women are stupid! And rape is funny! Sharks!”

This AI-generated meme makes a lot more sense:

I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a nice hot dog once in a while?

Here’s an MRA meme taking aim at women in the military:

Contrast that with this cheerful and wholesome AI-generated meme:

Again, the AI hits the nail on the head. Everyone loves to see people talking about their cool stuff.

Here’s a dark and bewildering MRA meme:

I suppose the message here is supposed to be “even if she says she’s not a feminist, she might secretly be one, and falsely accuse you of rape.” But I’m not sure anyone not steeped in MRA-talk could discern that.

Also, why is “radical/white” in ironic quotes?

By contrast, this next AI-generated meme, while admittedly rude and perhaps a bit sexist, is as clear as a (school) bell.

This MRA meme may leave you scratching at your head as you try to puzzle out its strange “logic.”

This AI meme, by contrast, makes so much sense it hurts.

In the world we live in today, who has the patience to wait until you get home to get sloshed?

So why are MRA memes so illogical and incomprehensible? Part of the problem is that reality is not on their side, and so many of their memes only make sense if you’re already living in the imaginary world of the Men’s Rights movement, where black is white and mean, bitchy women rule over all. I know enough about this world from the many years I’ve spent doing this blog that I can usually make some sort of sense of most of their memes, but I still struggle with some of them. It doesn’t help much that many MRAs are bitter bastards choking on their own aggrieved entitlement; their attempts at jokes are undercut by their meanness and their barely developed sense of humor.

The AI may not have a sense of humor, but it’s also unencumbered by all this baggage, so when it pops out with something that’s funny, it’s genuinely funny.

Congratulations, MRA; it’s official now: You’ve failed the Turing test.

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564 replies on “When you find out you have a hot dog: Why AI-generated memes make more sense than those produced by MRAs”

I honestly like the AI meme generator, the surrealist humor of the whole thing usually makes me laugh. And I also like making fun of MRA memes.
For some reason, I saw a lot of AI memes being spread on Twitter a couple months ago, then a drop off, and now they’re popular again.

Also, stealing a red car is a crime. If you steal a red car, don’t expect to get off easier than if you stole a blue car.

Honestly, as MRA memes go, the red car one doesn’t strike me as particularly offensive. It’s not wrong, technically; it just ignores all the facts on the ground.

I mean, if red cars were stolen at a far higher rate than other colors of car, and if there were whole forums dedicated to people expressing their love and hate of red cars, and how they were going to steal them because people with red cars don’t deserve them, and how your every speeding ticket is the red car’s fault, not the driver’s, and how demanding red cars are in needing to have their gas tanks filled all the time and thus emptying your wallet, and how treating your red car nicely just makes it look nice so someone else will steal it, and how red cars are worse than all the other cars but they still want to stick their dicks in a red car’s tailpipe, the cops would probably have a special red-car-theft division.

Recently I discovered a site called “this fursona does not exist”. It’s A.I.-generated furry face images, based on hundreds of pics stolen from DeviantArt, mostly focusing on canines, felines, and rodents. Honestly, while a lot of it was pretty good, if you ignore the minor flaws which look a bit different from the flaws humans would be likely to make, what I found more interesting than the art itself was the not-so-minor flaws which showed up sometimes.

Most common errors I noticed:
1. Mismatched ears, or one ear missing, or in a few cases, one of the ears in an odd location.
2. Long pinkish or purplish blobs in the foreground, not really obscuring the image but just there. In a few cases, the blobs ran along the length of the ears, for whatever reason.
3. Deformed tongues.
4. Torso looks incomplete or kind of melty.
5. WTF is going on with the background?

In addition, many of the early images I saw looked a lot like Rouge (from Sonic the Hedgehog) or Renamon (from Digimon) but I saw none of those after that. Just random, I suppose. And there were some here and there with differently-colored eyes, but that didn’t really look weird unless the eyes had a mismatched style, which only happened a few times that I saw.

@Rabid Rabbit

they still want to stick their dicks in a red car’s tailpipe

Apparently some people actually do that. To each their own, but I can’t say it seems safe, especially if the car is running.

@Snowberry
A somewhat relevant website is Janelle Shane’s blog, aiweirdness.com. She did some experiments with human face generating AIs that had similar issues like those you described.

The red car one is weird because it’s trying to compare a strict legal definition of a crime to a general category of behavior. Stealing a car is a crime, but there’s no blanket crime of violence. Interestingly enough, when you actually look at all the various violent offenses in statute, most of them are not gendered. A more accurate comparison would be “There’s no such thing as ‘assault and battery against women,’ it’s just ‘assault and battery,’” which, yeah, no shit.

@Talonknife
They also seem to want to imply that violence against men is legal, or that stealing cars that aren’t red is legal. Both assaulting men and stealing other colors of cars are illegal so it all falls flat.

@ talon knife and naglfar

Most popular colour cars for stealing varies from country to country.

For some reason, whilst colour varies for cars stolen permanently*; red cars are the most likely be taken for joyriding just about everywhere.

(*technically it has to be a permanent deprivation for it to be theft anyway)

@Alan Robertshaw
I don’t know what color car is most commonly stolen around where I live, but I’ve been told on multiple occasions (not sure if it’s true though) that thieves are more likely to use dark green or other dark-colored getaway vehicles because they don’t stand out and depending on angle and lighting can appear multiple different colors, making it harder for witnesses to corroborate stories or for police to find them.

The shark meme reminds me of how often people completely misuse statistics as risk predictors.

When I explain that I won’t go into or on the water because of sharks, they’ll trot out the “only X people per year are attacked by sharks, so your chances of being attacked are zero point whatever percent.”

No, they’re not. That “zero point whatever percent” statistic is the percentage of the population that is attacked by sharks. The ENTIRE population, including sensible people like me who do not go in or on the water and thus have a 0% chance, as well as, say, the surfers who do it all the time while mimicking the silhouette of a delicious seal.

Your chance of something happening has nothing to do with how often it happens, but with how often it happens in your situation.

“Only two people died from licking electrical fences last year, therefore your chances of dying from licking an electrical fence are tiny, therefore it is safe to lick the electrical fence.”

Oh, hey, does this sound relevant to current events? Yes, indeed. I don’t give a crap what the mortality rate is for people infected with COVID-19. Joe who has never been hospitalized and I, the dialysis patient on immunosuppressants, do NOT have the same chance of being infected if exposed, or of dying if infected.

@ naglfar

thieves are more likely to use dark green or other dark-colored getaway vehicles because they don’t stand out

Yeah. I’ve never understood the “Drive it like you stole it!” thing. Wouldn’t that be “Very carefully so as not to attract police attention”?

depending on angle and lighting

I have some friends who do close protection work. They have cars that can vary the tail-light layout so they’re harder to follow at night. Be handy as a getaway vehicle.

This is quite cool too; although perhaps a bit otherwise conspicuous for criminal enterprises.

@ naglfar

Might also be a bit outside the budget range for most.

Maybe we could use the future proceeds of the crime as security for a car loan.

@ Allandrel:

There was an anti-smoking campaign decades ago that used to infuriate me for this reason— their ads were meant to be exaggerated and satirical, but they were also grounded in this sort of misuse of statistics, and I kept thinking: “If I, a non-smoker with no desire to start, can see the flaw in this reasoning, surely the teens it’s aimed at will too.”

Or maybe not— [CW anti-trans violence) more recently I’ve noticed a heartbreaking number of young trans * people on tumblr wondering why they should even bother trying to do anything with their lives since “the average life expectancy when your trans is thirty” (or some similarly low number), a belief that seems to be the accidental result of well-meaning attempts to draw attention to the (obviously quite real) problem of violence against trans * people by averaging out the ages of all murder or suicide victims in a given area who were known to be trans.

(Basically I hate it when people use bad logic to argue positions I agree with.)

So, are MRA’s saying that, if you tell a feminist she’s not a real feminist, one-in-six times she’ll draw a gun on you?

Also, if they were on their monthly cycles, wouldn’t they be able to catch the enemy easier? Since they, y’know, now have the increased mobility that comes with having transport, and motorcycles are more maneuverable than APCs.

Oh right, I’m forgetting. It’s MRAs, so there’s nothing to the memes besides “feminists are violent and women have periods! Hahaha!”

…Can we mount the radical-white-Russian-Roulette feminists on these new military-grade monthly cycles and send them to take the meme-maker’s computers off them? And force them into a “Making Sense 101” course?

@Alan Robertshaw
Much easier to finance with our art empire.

@Moon Custafer

the average life expectancy when your trans is thirty

IIRC this has been disproven as well. Yes, there is a high trans* suicide rate and high incidences of violence, but using inaccurate statistics like this tend to make people feel hopeless and that should not be the goal. To raise awareness there are better ways.

@LPO
Re: the cycles
Isn’t the MRA joke that women on their periods are overly irritable, so they’d be angrier at the enemy and would be more aggressive soldiers? Their jokes seem to contradict each other a bit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMabpBvtXr4

I remember saying last week that right wingers and republicans are always bullshiting so their speech has no semantic value. I specifically compared them to the meme generator. This also makes the blog somewhat pointless. If they don’t mean anything they say and what they say and/or think is gibberish, what’s the point of debunking them?

Has anyone ready Blindsight? I keep wondering if the future of humanity is non sentient.

These MRA memes seem to be mainly just a statement slapped on an image that aims to illustrate the topic of the statement. At best, some humor value is attempted in trying to find a witty metaphor, or an image that makes women look silly.

I think technically a “meme” poster would require using a specific circulating image that’s widely recognized (at least within subculture) as a funny illustration for a certain kind of statement. Using the word “meme” for any old statement + image poster seems like a cargo cult approach to humor.

I seem to recall from the early years of WHTM that MRAs sometimes tried to cram whole wall-of-text length statements on an image poster. Maybe they’ve gotten over that lately?

@Lumipuna

I remember those text walls as well. Often in the worst possible colour for reading against a white background.

I really don’t understand the “soldiers on their period” meme, but I suspect there’s an unwritten submission to r/BadWomensAnatomy in there somewhere.

@Matthew

I remember saying last week that right wingers and republicans are always bullshiting so their speech has no semantic value. I specifically compared them to the meme generator. This also makes the blog somewhat pointless. If they don’t mean anything they say and what they say and/or think is gibberish, what’s the point of debunking them?

I think the point of debunking and unpacking right wing Neo-Reactionary speech and rhetoric is the same reasons why people debunk and unpack falsehoods and gibberish when people say that “The Earth is Flat”, “the holocaust is a hoax”, “Hippo’s make Great Pets”, or “Drinking Bleach cures you of viruses”: it’s to challenge the spread of falsehood, misinformation and nonsense; even if it doesn’t change the mind of the person immersed or holding a vested interest in spreading the bs; it does at least better educates the people that the spreader of nonsense is trying to communicate lies and absurdities, and provides a rational, logical, factually sound counterpoint against the anathema of factual reason and reality.

You don’t speak to the bullhorn of tinfoil chewing prats; you speak past them to those they try to sucker.

The car thing kind of disproves their point. Because the next step is that there’s no “stealing a car”, there’s just “stealing”. Except that there is a specific crime of stealing a car, because cars are valuable, easily moved, and often stolen.

Besides being incredibly stupid and willfully ignorant of actual reality, the meme about stealing a car also suffers from a catastrophic structural failure.

There’s no “stealing a red car” = There’s no “[verb] [adjective] [noun]”

It’s “stealing a car” = It’s “[verb] [noun]”

There’s no “violence against women” = There’s no “[verb] [noun]”

You mean “violence” = You mean “[verb]”

To be structurally accurate, it should have been written as either “There’s no ‘stealing a car.’ It’s ‘stealing.'” or “There’s no ‘violence against [adjective] women.’ You mean ‘violence against women.'”

Both of which pretty much undercut their “point.”

Typical MRA fail…

Hey, if someone ever said “the apple juice is not a spelling deadline” to me, I’m pretty sure I’d have a combination of those same reactions. Meme makes perfect sense to me.

Now, the MRA memes? They still don’t make any sense.

If someone ever said “the apple juice is not a spelling deadline” to me, I’d be wondering two things: a) Who I’d been mistaken for, and b) What were the consequences of giving the wrong passphrase in response?

Hmm.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00922-8

Meanwhile, what the hell is going on in Ontario?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_coronavirus_pandemic_in_Ontario#Statistics

Check out the pink graph. The active case count did as expected at first: peaked, then began to decline. But for the past week it’s simply flat, level, no increase or decline. Almost exactly as many people are falling ill as are recovering each day now. I can’t for the life of me figure out what dynamics would reproduce these data. It has to be balanced on a knife’s edge between exponential growth and exponential decay, somehow. This is as astonishing as trying to flip a coin and having it land exactly on its edge six or seven times in a row.

I do have to wonder who is screwing up and how. Obviously someone did, or the decline would have continued. And whatever went wrong in containment here is delaying the day we’ll be able to return to some semblance of normal, by one week and counting. Which gives me good reason to be annoyed at whoever-it-is, on behalf I suspect of most of the population of the province.

By Zeus, after years (decades?) I’m delurking just to share what the meme generator just served up:

linky

Either that AI is magic or it really knows us. Maybe all those garbled memes are just pretense so we don’t realise what’s coming. (I’m not sure what life would be like under the iron fist of a memegenerator, but I’m not convinced it would necessarily be worse either.)

P.S.: No preview? How will I waste hours editing inconsequential stuff over and over again? Oh, good, I’m doing it right now.

The Dos Equis meme is actually pretty funny if you’re from my home state, Pennsylvania. If you don’t know, PA has some pretty archaic and backwards alcohol laws. The state has a Liquor Control Board, which was created years ago when the then-governor was butthurt over the repeal of prohibition.

For the longest time, you were unable to buy beer or wine in a grocery store or gas station. You had to go to a beer distributor, a designated “six-pack shop”, or a winery. I don’t know if the law was changed or if someone found a loophole, but a few years ago, stores were finally allowed to sell beer and wine. However, the caveat is that a cafe had to be attached to the store so patrons had the option to consume alcohol on the premises.

@Naglfar

And by “far-right groups,” we also mean the President on live TV talking to Fox & Friends.

There’s a FB group to support these “God-fearing men,” who were “just trying to protect their neighborhood.” And noting that Arbery (who they don’t bother to name) “did not comply with simple commands.”

Which… man, how unconscious is the racism there? Why the HELL should Arbery have “complied” with their “commands?” What authority did they have over him?

We know why, even though they won’t say it. “He should have known his place and respected his betters.” And it BURNS them that it is not acceptable for them to say that out loud.

@ allandrel

“did not comply with simple commands.”

And particularly galling is the fact that people of this ilk will be the first to say “You can’t tell me want to do!” when asked to abide by a simple request to take basic precautions during a pandemic; whilst draped in the Gadsen or Confederate flags.

then there are the “what about all the white people killed by blacks” augments . Well how much victim blaming when on in those cases?

@Allandrel

And by “far-right groups,” we also mean the President on live TV talking to Fox & Friends.

That certainly is a far right group. Even when he’s not talking to Fox and Friends, his presence in a group makes it far right. As the saying goes, if there is one Nazi sitting at a table and ten other people talking to him, there are now 11 Nazis at a table.

Naglfar: “Also, stealing a red car is a crime. If you steal a red car, don’t expect to get off easier than if you stole a blue car.”
Yes, I understand that many MRAs do not believe that violence against women is real violence.
But the meme is more insidious and monstrous than that:
There is nothing about the colour red that makes it a special and distinct crime, qualitatively different and morally worse than stealing a blue car.
In contrast, what a lot of people call “violence against women”, and what the Violence Against Women Act was aimed at stopping, is more correctly referred to as (a subset of) domestic abuse: Violence that happens where people are most vulnerable, in their own homes, at the hands of their spouses or parents, and it is more than simply being punched in a bar fight or mugged. Many domestic abuse victims live in all-encompassing fear of “setting [their partner or parent] off” and being beaten, or are held captive in ways that would be considered kidnapping if a stranger did it, or are repeatedly raped.

@Pedantic Speaker
I am aware of domestic violence and abuse against women, and I was not trying to diminish it. I was trying to mock the meme in a short way, and I am sorry if I have inadvertently minimized the suffering of victims.

@Naglfar
I should apologise too. I am not the best judge of social situations and I misunderstand people’s understanding of these things.
I have fortunately not suffered any of these things, but I guess I am hyper-sensitive; maybe it’s just an equivalent of survivors’ guilt, but I feel that if I won’t defend victims against people who minimise their suffering, who will?
PS, If I had my druthers, as Americans say, the VAWA would have been called the Domestic Abuse and Rape Act, so that no-one could pretend that the problem was just women exaggerating their vulnerability to violence.

Yeah. I’ve never understood the “Drive it like you stole it!” thing. Wouldn’t that be “Very carefully so as not to attract police attention”?

@Alan

Yeah, maybe it should be, “Drive it like it’s insured for 3 times its value”?

@ crip dyke

it’s insured for 3 times its value

Heh, isn’t that an incentive to crash it?

Just remember to insure against fire or theft; the and policies aren’t that useful.

(Liked your latest article btw)

Fatrelle, have you ever considered actually making something of your own, rather than spending all your time shitting on others’ work? If it’s so easy, surely you can whip up a few viral feminist memes and get yourself some nice MSM attention.

@ crip dyke

Aaaaand….now I’ve just realised that was your point.

@ mansvoice

have you ever considered actually making something of your own

Well as I’m sure you’re aware, under Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 commentary and criticism of other people’s writing is considered the author’s “own work”.

It’s part of the Fair Use doctrine but it also creates a fresh copyright in the commentary.

@MansVoice

Fatrelle, have you ever considered actually making something of your own, rather than spending all your time shitting on others’ work?

He’s a journalist, so yes, he’s produced a lot of his own work (not to mention that criticism of others involves creating his own work, as Alan pointed out).

If it’s so easy, surely you can whip up a few viral feminist memes and get yourself some nice MSM attention.

Feminism, as an actual movement, isn’t spread through nonsensical memes. I can see how you’re confused, however, seeing as you probably aren’t all that familiar with actual human rights movements.

Oh, look who couldn’t stick the flounce!

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