Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Song of the Day #206 - Shiro Sagisu - Komm, Susser Tod

It all returns to nothing, it all comes tumbling down, tumbling down, tumbling down...


Here's a wonderful memesong for you to mark this momentous occasion. Earlier this year, 4chan's founder moot stepped down from running the site, and a few days ago, it was announced that hiroyuki, creator of 2channel, was the new owner. Tonight he did a Q&A with the users on /qa/, which I didn't even realize still existed (I assumed it was closed after moot's farewell Q&A). The results could only be described as... magical. No other word could come close to describing it. His command of the English language is inconsistent and barely functional. He understands no memes and believes everyone to be addressing him with full sincerity. He seems to not understand how the board functions, like, how to upload images, or anything.

His plan seems to be to let the users decide everything, which seems OK only if you have never heard of 4chan before. But I have. I've been using 4chan for about 11 years now. I have seen the culture of the site change in many ways, some of them subtle, some of them drastic. I have seen boards rise and fall. Only one thing has stayed constant: a spirit of irreverence that will grind any coordinated effort to present a unified comprehensible opinion down back to the static of shitposts that surrounds it.

Because of this, I am now confident that basically nothing will change between the moot administration and the hiroyuki administration. As it was under moot, any changes or additions will be infrequent and ineffective. Watching the thread knowing this fills me with a warm, comfortable feeling, from which I can freely and gluttonously feast at this font of new memes, every one of them an instant classic. hiroyuki's refusal to ignore blatantly shitposty or pointless questions combined with his total lack of understanding... it's really something beautiful, easily my second favorite internet moment of the year after yishan's ayy lmao post. Every single post is sheer hilarity but I think my favorite is when someone asks him "Why does bane wear the mask", which is part of the Baneposting canon, and hiroyuki responds "got a clod". It's just... perfect. Beyond perfect. This is literally better than I could imagine.

It makes me wish I had some sort of anti-Komm, Susser Tod meme-anthem to celebrate this triumphant proclamation of the status quo being maintained for another decade or so and the birth of all these dank memes. But that would take another decade to create. See, I think my favorite things about stuff like this, about memes and internet culture in general, is the insane, inane, density of meaning contained in them. Like to explain why "got a clod" is so funny it would require you to read all of this post, and then the Know Your Meme page I linked, and all of hiroyuki's Q&A, and then have me talk nonstop for like five minutes, and none of that itself would be funny or engrossing, or at least it wouldn't at all be funny or engrossing in the way that watching the joke develop "in the wild" over the years is funny and engrossing.

So Komm, Susser Tod is a song from End of Evangelion, the movie sequel/finale to Neon Genesis Evangelion. It plays over the climax of the film, and, although the emotional quality of the scene is ambiguous (I'm not about to get into it here), the song's lyrical message seems to be a pretty clear message of despair. But revelry among despair, is the thing. The song seems to be about that moment when things are truly irreversible, when what little you have left to care about must be abandoned, when everything you are guilty of has come home to roost, it's all just tumbling down. But in this tumbling down there is excitement! Clarity! Community! Hilarity! I dunno, something like that.

"TUMBLING DOWN TUMBLING DOWN" has thus become memetic shorthand that you spam in threads about bad news. In especially dire times, the song has been embedded onto some boards, most recently when moot announced his retirement. And one of the questions hiroyuki answered was someone just saying that this would make good theme music for his Q&A, to which he simply replied "nice one". And thus the memetic history of the song grows and grows, creating a dense and fine, stack of wafer-thin memories where each one, if examined and savored, unlocks a Proust-esque flood of associations and feelings.

Ahh, but what would be the point if the core itself was rotten? Would "got a clod" be so great if the surrounding circumstances weren't so perfectly reassuring and hilarious? And you know this song didn't become the anthem of memeragnarok just by being in EoE. This song is a definite BANGER. The way the melodramatic abstract lyrics become so evocative and personally relevant is just Evangelion in a nutshell. The wonderful escalation from the reserved, restrained singing to the spiraling strings and screams is so infectious... you just want to get wrapped up in that abandonment, in that embracing of the unembraceable. And you end up sincerely listening to this song in times of hopelessness and despair and you think about all of it's weird memetic history, all the way back to those feverish teenage days when you first watched Evangelion, and you can't help but laugh, because even your life is long enough now to not make any sense whatsoever. Like if you can really understand the meaning of this video and you plan on staying up until a man in Japan stops answering questions then congratulations, you, uhh... I can't think of how to end this sentence.

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