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  • I spend a lot of time on social media, both for pleasure and for work, so for the last few days I've spent a lot of time staring at the "Who's Unemployed Now, Bitch?" Big Bird meme that's floating around Facebook and Twitter.

    Memes in general set a pretty low bar. I mean, I love funny captions and the Impact font as much as anyone, but I can only see so many e-cards with Gibson Girls recycling one liners from Garfield about coffee before I have to consider memes to be a dead medium. In other words, I admit that I'm biased from the outset. However, the prevalence of this Big Bird meme has really made me realize that there is nothing left in American culture that everyone can get behind. Everything, literally everything, has picked a side, in meme form or not. Big Bird is on Facebook cursing out Mitt Romney. Christmas is coming soon, and it will have either too much or not enough Jesus. Abraham Lincoln and FDR, two historical Presidents who have both been dead for decades, have been co-opted as rallying points by modern political movements that the men probably wouldn't even recognize. Even the flag itself was politicized by the right after 9/11. It's as if the culture has been carved up and claimed; every last square inch eyed for resources, valued as capital, and fenced off with razor wire and No Trespassing signs.

    I'm not saying that there was once some golden age in which everyone was happy and "some things were sacred," because obviously there wasn't. American history is basically the story of a group of people who only stop killing each other when they have to kill others; we will always pick sides about something. However, it's hard to have an optimistic outlook given the fact that Americans choose to make every part of their culture stand on one side of a line or another, even when the part in question is a bird whose entire vector in life is to make children happy, sing songs, and identify shapes. Big Bird, dead presidents, and all cultural icons have no personalities except for those which people choose to project on them; those things are reflective of American cultural identity. When the neutral ground starts to be carved up, claimed, and assigned, it doesn't mean there's a culture war on, and it doesn't mean that bipartisanship has failed. It means that Americans just like being divided and that disagreement is, if not a virtue, a prerequisite for entry into American life.

    I don't have a good answer for how to overcome this component of the American zeitgeist, so instead I've chosen to capitalize on it. I don't want to say, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," because that would imply unity. The point here is to get as much as I can before anyone else does. That's why, first thing tomorrow, I'm going to quit my job, exhume the bodies of George Washington, Elvis Presley, and Elizabeth Taylor, and set them up next to a kiosk I've rented in the mall, which I'll use to sell pogs. I anticipate the sheer amount of foot traffic those three will generate should be enough to restart the pog craze, and once I become the pog king of California, I'll unceremoniously pack George, Elvis, and Liz into the trunk of my hatchback and drive to the Secretary of State's office to declare my candidacy for the 2016 Presidential election (it's never too early to start campaigning, right?). My running mate will be Harold from the "Harold and the Purple Crayon" storybook, because that motherfucker can literally draw jobs and infrastructure out of thin air, without raising taxes or cutting entitlements. Booya, I now own swing voters four years in advance. I'll then get the tooth fairy to start running black ops COINT missions in Pakistan, and just about the time my "Johnny Appleseed Hates You for No Reason At All" posters are being installed at every major intersection in the country, I'll take a break for lunch.

    Will some people be offended? Absolutely. But that just means I'm doing America better than anyone else, and they're just jealous I carved out a bigger chunk of the culture than they did. I won't try to take Big Bird, though - doing so would be claim jumping, and that's just wrong.
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