Machine-generated memes in Perl

The Cat's Meow

Article from Issue 157/2013

It started off harmlessly enough with a few funny pictures of cats, but eventually it became the Internet phenomenon par excellence. It's no joke: Perl gives you some great tools for building and customizing memes yourself.

Summer time is intern time: As always during the summer months, my employer has taken on some college students, while we old guys scratch our balding pates and wonder how weird young academics can get. This year, the interns' sense of humor was on full display: Every presentation was adorned with image macros [1] for the purpose of amusement, either as static pictures or animated GIFs in infinite loops.

What started with "I Can Has Cheezburger?" [2] with cuddly kittens – the Lolcats – and cheeky sayings has morphed into an established part of culture known as the "meme." Take an expressive image and put an orthographically or a grammatically challenged saying (Lolspeak) in the header and footer using the Impact font – and you have a ready-made joke (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Modern classic – a Lolcat with orthographically questionable Lolspeak. © Niccolò Capanti.


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