Morticia 

Related image

Description 

So, this is our final collection of memes, although I’m thinking of adding a compilation of some that I came across during my research that are simply too good not to share–the Addams’ greatest hits, I’ll call it. Good times. Anywho, I decided for my last collection of memes I’d bring it full circle. You can find my first rhetorical analysis of the success of memes here. I love this image of Morticia the nuances of her facial expression and body language–arms crossed but hands not tucked in–yes–this is an important subtlety which I’ll be discussing later–this really is her signature pose. I think by now, boys and girls, we understand that inference cannot be drawn simply from facial expression and added text alone. Instead, a familiarity with the Addams’ and their place in pop culture are also necessary for memetic success. More on this later, also. The origination of this image comes from the TV version of The Addams Family cartoon–the one that started it all. The first episode aired on Septemeber 18, 1964, and ran for 2 brief (but brilliant) seasons. This was the first live action adaptation (created by David Levy) of Charles Addams’ cartoon of the same name–Carolyn Jones and John Astin playing Morticia and Gomez Addams. Although I cannot tell you from what point in what episode this expression derives, I can do ya one better. Charles Addams described Morticia as “the real head of the family … low-voiced, incisive and subtle, smiles are rare … ruined beauty … contemptuous and original and with fierce family loyalty … even in disposition, muted, witty, sometimes deadly ….” I believe this macro image I’ve chosen is the encapsulation of Charles Addams’ description. Amiright? Let’s get started.

Notes on content 

  • The artifacts chosen are not things Morticia says in the series (although I feel the second derivative is something she would say), nor are they based on clips from the TV series.
  • The artifacts all derive from Morticia’s facial expression in this particular image, which is direct and piercing.
  • Because Morticia is a perfect balance of creepy and glamorous, the artifacts will occasionally reference this observation in various ways.
  • Based on the above words that Charles Addams has used to describe the character Morticia, the artifacts will occasionally generate incisive and sometimes deadly (calm down, not in the literal sense) content.

Notes on form

  • Screenshot from original TV series.
  • Can be found in non-animated form.
  • Since the character of Morticia Addams originated in cartoon form, the original image and example memes would be considered a live-action form, as brought to life by the actress Carolyn Jones.
  • Morticia Addams is an iconic character thus identifiable to many, and relatable to some.
  • Genres: Gothic, Black comedy, fantasy, horror

Notes on stance

  • Participation structure
    • Morticia with arms casually crossed, is directing an incisive, maybe even anticipative, expression toward someone (out of frame).
  • Keying
    • Incisive: Morticia’s expression in the screenshot is a direct and anticipative one.
    • Tone: direct, witty
    • Style: descriptive
    • Register: teen to adult, amateur
  • Communication function
    • Emotive: The example memes exist because of the look on Morticia’s face in the original image.

Memeticness

This is the original image; there are no variations–yet.

Specify the kind of variation

  • none

Memetic features 

Make an extended consideration of the features that make the meme memetic: those features that spur the creation of variation and spread. Draw on Shifman’s list of features, but also supplement her observations with your own.

  • original image
  • Isolated screenshot taken from the original TV series, The Addams Family
  • The creative potential for this image originates from the expression on Morticia’s face as she looks at someone out of frame.
  • Isolated screenshot is simple. “Simplicity is an important attribute contributing to the creation of user-generated versions of the meme” (Shifman, 2014, p. 81). Original image used is also Black and white because these were the good ole days before color TV. And thank monochromatic gods for that! Have you seen what the mansion interiors actually looked like in color?! Well, click here but only if you want to puke in your mouth a little.

Genre 

  • Gothic
  • Black comedy
  • Fantasy fiction

 

Morticia–original goth girl

Image result for morticia memes

Description 

  • Single use of image.
  • Text is added using a simple white font and a header with a different font size, style, and color has also been added. Black border now frames image.
  • Unsure as to whether this is the original image macro, however, it is one of the most generated (artifact #3 is the other).
  • Does not necessarily connect or relate to other derivations other than the occasional text style and font color.

Notes on content 

  • Original image now includes Morticia Addams as a sort of header and includes the caption: “The original goth girl . . . paving the way for cute and creepy chicks.” I’ll ignore the excessive and improper use of ellipses and move on. It is clear that Morticia is not the speaker because an observation is being made about Morticia. For people who believe Morticia is not only the original goth girl, but also made it cool to be one, this meme is identifiable/relatable.

Notes on form

  • Construction of artifact and software used is undetermined. However, the black border with the included header is a variation of the common meme-generated form.
  • The original image was most likely uploaded to a meme-generating site, although there is no watermark to indicate this.
  • Header is positioned within the black border so as to not obscure Morticia’s facial expressions and the caption follows. Genre: Gothic, communicative.

Notes on stance

  • Participation structure
    • The participants of the creation and distribution of this meme are more than likely fans of Morticia Addams and believe that you can be both creepy and cute–thanks to Morticia–the queen of goth.
  • Keying
    • Tone: appreciative, celebratory (pay tribute, honor)
    • Style: descriptive, informative
    • Register: Teen to adult, amateur
  • Communication function
    • Metalingual: ” . . . used to establish mutual agreement” (Shifman, 2014, p. 40)–she is the goth queen and it is acceptable to be cute and creepy because of her.

Memeticness

In this derivative, Morticia’s expression can be interpreted as aloof and observant. I feel like we can pull a couple of Charles Addams’ own descriptive language to aid in the interpretation of this derivative: “contemptuous and original . . . ruined beauty”. This inference is successful because of the added text.

Specify the kind of variation

  • This is a remake of the original image. The added black border frames the original image, implying that the subject (Morticia) is special. Presenting her full name (Morticia Addams) as a header in larger, fancier font makes the subject stand out and implying tribute. The caption directly underneath the header is presented in a smaller, simpler font. The action is Morticia being honored for being a gothic trendsetter. The subject is the one receiving the honor–Morticia. And the end result is the shared affection and appreciation by the creator, distributor, and viewer for the queen of goth.

Memetic features 

Make an extended consideration of the features that make the meme memetic: those features that spur the creation of variation and spread. Draw on Shifman’s list of features, but also supplement her observations with your own.

  • Whimsical: Drawing on nothing more than Shifman’s (2014) reference to pop culture, this 1960’s version of Morticia is definitely a part of our pop culture. She is iconic. Therefore, the majority are familiar with her as being both creepy and glamorous.
  • Humor: I defend this by using Shifman’s (2014) definition of positive humor and a wee bit of playfulness “. . . humor is enjoyed for its own sake and involves a multilayered perception of social situations”. Playful humor can be found in the wording, “cute and creepy chicks.” Positive humor can also be found in the wording, “original goth girl paving the way.”
  • Simplicity: Although a border and header, along with the text have been added to the original image, this derivative remains simplistic in content and is a remake of the original image.

Does this meme show other features that spur memetic development, or features that seem to put an end to development? Yes. Parody? Satire? Nastiness? I suppose anything is possible, but for this one, I’m thinking more along these lines: “Morticia Addams–putting the F-U in fun.” Uh? Uh? Not bad, right?

Genre 

  • For this one, I’m going to unpack one of Shifman’s 9 (2014)–and I’m unpacking everything but the kitchen sink. Yes, I’m aware that I mashed in an idiom with my action. It works. I’m dusting off Shifman’s (2014) “stock character macros” as an example of the original image being offered as a stock macro image on a meme-generating site.
  • Other potential genres: humor, Gothic, fantasy

 

Morticia–listening is not believing

Description 

  • Single use of image.
  • Text is added using a simple white font and a header with a different font size, style, and color has also been added. Black border now frames image.
  • Unsure as to whether this is the original image macro, however, it is one of the most generated (artifact #2 is the other).
  • Very similar in format and style to artifact #2, however, that’s where the similarities end. Content and implied speaker are completely different.

Notes on content 

  • Original image now includes text and a border that, although doesn’t mimic previous meme’s caption, duplicates text style and font color (with the exception of the header in artifact #2). Caption reads: “I’m listening” in a larger font size and follows with, “But don’t expect me to believe it when I’ve heard it before” in a smaller font size, although style and color are the same. In this derivative, Morticia is the speaker. For people who have been fed the same line of bull shit repeatedly, this meme is identifiable/relatable.

Notes on form

  • This meme was made at an online meme generator (memecenter.com), as shown in the lower, right corner of the meme.
  • When selecting the create tab on the site, Meme Center gives you four choices: meme builder, quick meme, giffmaker, and upload. The first three choices offer you what seems like an infinity of macro image choices and the last one offers just what it says, to upload an image from your own personal files. Different variations of text are offered and the site offers encouragement for one to be “original and funny” because by now we all know fresh + funny = memetic success.
  • Once again, text is placed on image within the black border so as to not obscure Morticia’s facial expression (the inspiration for the caption added). Genre: comedy-drama, communication.

Notes on stance

  • Participation structure
    • The creators and distributors of this meme are more than fans of Morticia Addams. They are also fans of her “low-voiced, incisive and subtle” ability to deal with situations, even though in this derivative there is nothing subtle about the way she calls the addressee out, so let’s replace “subtle” with “sometimes deadly”. If you’ve had enough of someone’s BS, you create/share a meme such as this.
  • Keying
    • Tone: candid, detached, accusatory
    • Style: narrative–Morticia (and the addressor) are letting the addressee know that even though he or she is listening, there’s a high probability they won’t believe what is being said because time and time again, it’s proven to be crap.
    • Register: teen to adult, amateur
  • Communication function
    • I feel like this derivative is a hotbed of communicative activity, and that there are several of Shifman’s 6 fundamental functions (2014) that I believe fit here.
      • Emotive: “orientated toward the addressor and his or her emotions” (Shifman, 2014, p. 40)–Morticia has detached herself from what is being told to her because she expects to possibly hear more untruths.
      • Conative: “orientated toward the addressee and available paths of action” (Shifman, 2014, p. 40)–Morticia’s accusation gives the addressee a “head’s up” as to what she’s expecting to hear. This may act as a warning to the addressee, who in turn may decide not to spew the same old same old.
      • Phatic: “serves to establish, prolong, or discontinue communication” (Shifman, 2014, p. 40)–Morticia’s candidness as to the expected earful she’s about to be subject to can now become one of the three communications that phatic serves to establish; the choice becomes the addressee’s.

Memeticness

In this derivative, Morticia’s expression can be interpreted as aloof, while the added text infers candidness. The combination of look and added text infer an accusation being made, as well. Here’s where I want to talk about the specific way Morticia crosses her arms in front of her. With the added text, we could assume that because she holds her arms crossed in front of her that she’s uncomfortable with the possible confrontation or as a guarded stance. Neither of these possibilities, however, is the case and this is due to the fact that Morticia’s hands are not balled into fists and tucked into her arms. No, Morticia’s hands are casually splayed on the top of her arms with her fingers pointing upward. This stance is actually displaying self-confidence, along with a wee bit of superiority. She is also anticipating hearing something she knows she won’t like.

Specify the kind of variation

  • This is a remake of the original image. The added black border frames the original image, bringing the main focus to Morticia’s expression and stance. The first line of text, although the same font type and color, is larger. This is the action–“I’m listening.” With the second line of text, the font size has been decreased. This is the reaction–“But don’t expect me to believe you when I’ve heard it all before.”

Memetic features 

Make an extended consideration of the features that make the meme memetic: those features that spur the creation of variation and spread. Draw on Shifman’s list of features, but also supplement her observations with your own.

  • Whimsical: I feel like this one is a constant, due to Tish’s iconic status. You know? Drawing once again on nothing more than Shifman’s (2014) reference to pop culture, this 1960’s version of Morticia is definitely a part of our pop culture. She is iconic. Therefore, the majority are familiar with her aloof, yet, incisive demeanor.
  • Ordinary people: I’m listing ordinary people, however, I’m going completely off Shifman’s (2014) rails on this one. So, buckle up because this could be super insightful or absolute rubbish. The situation Morticia finds herself in for this derivative is actually (and unfortunately) a fairly common one. So, here we see a well-known (famous actually) character experiencing something we all have at one time or another. That makes this derivative relatable, thus shareable.
  • Simplicity: Again, we have the addition of a border and added text to the original image, yet this derivative remains simplistic in content.

Does this meme show other features that spur memetic development, or features that seem to put an end to development? Yes, e.g., “I’m listening” can become “I’m waiting”, “I’m plotting” and so on. Parody? Satire? Nastiness? I always say yes to these three variations; there’s so much creative potential. But what have I been saying, kids? Only if it’s relatable to our original image–not only as it pertains to inferred expression but also its relevance to the character of Morticia.

Genre 

  • Comedy-drama–I say this because the caption at least elicits a giggle, maybe not for the person this caption is directed at (thus the drama), but for everyone else, it’s funny.
  • Communication
  • And–as always–Gothic fiction

Morticia says wipe your feet

 

Description 

  • Single use of image.
  • Text is added using a simple white font, however, presentation is somewhat different from typical meme style.
  • Although this derivation is not similar to artifact #3 in format, I feel it does connect and relate to it. Their content/message is similar. More on that later.

Notes on content 

  • Original image includes text: “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” It is clear that Morticia is the speaker. For people who are over other’s negativity, this meme is identifiable/relatable.

Notes on form

  • Construction of artifact and software used is undetermined. However, if I had to guess, I’d say editing done to image would be with any computer (or phone) editing software (Photoshop, Snapseed, Typorama).
  • Text to the original image could also have been done at any of the many meme-generating sites (although there is no watermark to indicate this).
  • Text is placed on image so as to not obscure Morticia’s facial expression (the motivation for the added caption). Genre: allegory, creative nonfiction

Notes on stance

  • Participation structure
    • The participants of the creation and distribution of this meme are more than likely fans of Morticia Addams and are tired of people spreading their negativity. This meme acts as sort of a warning–if you’re going to hang with me, leave your negativity at the door.
  • Keying
    • Tone: defensive, cautionary
    • Style: descriptive, persuasive
    • Register: Teen to adult, amateur
  • Communication function
    • Referential: “communication, which is oriented toward the context, or the ‘outside world’ (Shifman, 2014, p. 40). As the speaker, Morticia is letting the outside world know that it is not cool to muck up her mind/thinking/perspective with their negativity (complaints, unkind words, unfair judgments, Full House marathons).

Memeticness

In this derivative, Morticia’s expression can be interpreted as admonishing, maybe even a wee bit ominous. Truly, would you want to incite the wrath of Tish? This admonishing expression is directed toward the person/s spreading negativity and/or toxic thoughts. This inference is successful because of the added text.

Specify the kind of variation

  • This is a remake of the original image. However, instead of including text at the top and/or bottom of the macro image, or within an added border, the creator of this has added text flush left on the image. Text placement is precise so as to not eclipse Morticia’s expression. The end result is delivered warning by the creator and distributor to leave your negative thoughts and words at the door.

Memetic features 

Make an extended consideration of the features that make the meme memetic: those features that spur the creation of variation and spread. Draw on Shifman’s list of features, but also supplement her observations with your own.

  • Whimsical: This 1991 version of Morticia Addams is definitely a part of our pop culture. She is iconic. Therefore, the majority are familiar with the fact that even though she’s “low-voiced, incisive and subtle” (Addams), she is not someone you want to displease or cross.
  • Superiority: I defend this by pointing out that the creator/sharer is not displaying a superiority over Morticia, for she is not the subject. The subject is the one whom the warning is directed at, and the warning is delivered metaphorically. The combination of choosing to deliver the warning as a metaphor and Morticia’s expression infers a superiority over the one being warned.
  • Simplicity: by remaking the original image with the simple addition of text, we can claim it presents in simplistic form. However, if we were to address the fact that the message is being presented in a metaphoric form, can we still claim the same simplicity? Crazy as it may seem, not all grasp the meaning of a metaphor. I’m going to say, yes, yes, we can still say that this derivative falls within the category of simplicity because both the character of Morticia and the spread of negativity are widely known, thus this meme is relatable and shareable.

Does this meme show other features that spur memetic development, or features that seem to put an end to development? Yes. Not only can one wipe their feet before taking a walk, they could find their way through the maze, they could explore the dark and scary corners, have an energetic debate with others they find dwelling there. Parody? Satire? Nastiness? Always. One simply has to want it bad enough.

Genre 

  • allegory
  • creative nonfiction

 

WWMD

I always ask myself. ..

 

Description 

  • Single use of image macro presented as a vector graphic.
  • All white background.
  • Added text is black and chosen font tells us this meme was not created using a standard meme generator.
  • Does not necessarily connect or relate to other derivations other than the use of original image, and that’s been altered deliciously altered.

Notes on content 

  • Original image has been changed from a jpeg image to a vector image and includes text: “WWMD What would Morticia do?”. The choice to vectorize the image is another well-known way to create memes–even though this is clearly the first time I’ve used one as an example. It really lends itself to a nice “What would Jesus do” feel. Don’t you think? And this derivative, of course, is playing off of that question–WWJD. Morticia’s look can be interpreted as expectant. The question (WWMD), along with the interpretation of Morticia’s expression, implies that Morticia is not necessarily asking the question, however, it definitely implies she’s anticipating the answer. Doesn’t it? This meme is directed at people who are fans of Morticia Addams and more than likely embrace the creepier side of life.

Notes on form

  • The original macro image has been edited into a vector image and although construction of artifact and software used is undetermined, my guess would be something along the lines of Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or one of the online vector converters.
  • An original (or duplicated) image is uploaded to one of the above-mentioned programs/converters, altered, and text is then added. It does not mimic the original “WWJD” with font or presentation–nor does it need to.
  • Text is placed on image so as to not obscure Morticia’s facial expression (the inspiration for the caption added). Genre: Gothic, humor, communication.

Notes on stance

  • Participation structure
    • The creator of the artifact is not only a fan of Morticia Addams  . . .
  • Keying
    • Tone: thoughtful, inspirational, witty
    • Style: persuasive
    • Register: teen to adult, amateur
  • Communication function
    • Conative: oriented toward the addressee and available paths of actions–the creator of the image macro is addressing a person of interest. The available paths of actions are following Morticia’s lead.

Memeticness

Notes on memetic features that the meme is using.

Specify the kind of variation

  •  I believe this is a remix because the original image has been vectorized, and the added text is not standard meme-generated font. This is not only relatable and shareable for fans of Morticia Addams but also for those that admire her

Memetic features 

Make an extended consideration of the features that make the meme memetic: those features that spur the creation of variation and spread. Draw on Shifman’s list of features, but also supplement her observations with your own.

  • Simple Packaging: Shifman (2014) says, ” . . . when people understand something quickly and intuitively they are happy to forward it to others” (p. 69). This derivative fits the description perfectly. I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know the “WWJD (What would Jesus do?) phrase. Therefore, by simply switching it up to ask, “WWMD (What would Morticia do?) the creator of this derivative has made something that is relatable and shareable in the simplest of ways.
  • Humor: Shifman (2014) says, “. . . people wish to amuse their friends and be associated with wittiness . . . it also augments the tendency to imitate and remake content” (p. 78). I feel like this is kind of a “drop mic” moment because Shifman’s definition encapsulates what the creator was trying to achieve. By imitating the “WWJD” phrase, this derivative succeeds in being both amusing and witty.
  • Whimsical: Yes, I’m back to using whimsical here, but this is one of those examples when Tish’s iconic status is essential to the success of this derivative. You know? Drawing once again on nothing more than Shifman’s (2014) reference to pop culture, this 1960’s version of Morticia is definitely a part of our pop culture. She’s the “real head of the family . . . incisive . . .  and original with fierce family loyalty . . .  witty . . .” (Addams). She has many admirable qualities, therefore, “WWMD” works.

Does this meme show other features that spur memetic development, or features that seem to put an end to development? I think one could take this derivative beyond the scope of Morticia, yet, not so far that we’re leaving the realm of the Addams’.  For instance, we could alter the “WWJD” acronym to apply to any one of the members of the Addams family: WWGD, WWWD, WWPD, etc. Parody? Satire? Nastiness? I believe for the first time in a while (maybe ever, but I’m too tired to check, so I’m not), I’m going to give a no to the possibility of all three.

Genre 

  • Gothic
  • Humor
  • Gospel