The meme account is dead. Shitposting killed it

In the hit-or-miss world of internet humour, accounts that offer up internal dread and idiocy like @on_a_downward_spiral are the only way forward.

by Douglas Greenwood
27 July 2021, 1:13pm

Images via @on_a_downward_spiral

Three days have passed since Courtney Love — fresh off the back of dragging Olivia Rodrigo for apparently stealing her aesthetic without credit — did a 180 and wrote a love letter to Generation Z on her Instagram. “I think they’re funnier than any other generation I’ve ever known and I feel a lot of empathy / affinity for them,” she wrote, crediting our ability to skirt online bullshit and beautifying IG filters and not completely cripple under the weight of late stage capitalism and a pandemic. “They cry too easily. but they funny!” she added. What followed was a slew of IG handles for Gen Z-ran shitposting accounts that make her laugh, including @botoxqueen1968, @mybloodyvirginators and, our favourite, @onadownward_spiral.

Following @onadownwardspiral — a hellfire of sporadic, incomprehensible shit on a grid, ranging from unhinged TikTok screenshots to Keep Calm and Carry On posters dedicated to Leo season — is such an egregious self-own that a meme suggesting Azealia Banks might use it to dig at Courtney Love on her Instagram story was wholly believable. It just says something about you. Chances are, if you’re following accounts like @onadownwardspiral, you derive enjoyment from things lacking any sort of value or real world context. Something that just exists. Like this. Or this.

While meme accounts like the famed @loveofhuns provide a niche space for people with a penchant for something off-kilter and funny (in their case, living in Britain during the year 2006), they are weighted by the pressure of expectation: find something new; be funny or risk your followers losing faith. Meme accounts feel like free spaces compared to the corporate-influenced realm of major brand or artist accounts, but their owners are subject to the same anxieties that our own IGs are, constantly questioning whether or not people will like what they’re posting.

Shit posting accounts, however, are exactly what the name promises: a place for sharing shit with no commonality from one post to the next, bound together by nothing but their sporadicness. The pressure felt by straightforward meme accounts doesn’t exist here. Nobody can force a shitposting page to bend to their will.

Shit posting pages are, thus, the internet’s lawless land, and for those who feel no pressure to conform to the standards of social media — not because you’re confident, but because you’re too busy having a panic attack and feeling glamorous to care — this is your home. 

Shitposting accounts also forgo the idea of originality. The concept of credit and adhering to a strict format that looks good on the grid isn’t necessary. A shit post account is a camera roll: screengrabs of Tweets and TikToks; relatable quotes destined to appear on the wall of a horse girl’s bedroom and Bronie (that’s a My Little Pony fan) memes. Basically, all of the things on the internet that make you cringe and/or uncomfortable, in one place. 

The comment section makes it. There’s no tagging of friends down below because none of us have any friends to share this with — only each other, and we’re all here anyway. Instead of six laughing faces (who uses that emoji unironically anymore?), expect comments like “how many carrots is that” on a photo of a rejected man wearing his not-future-wife’s engagement ring. Or followers reacting passionately to how profoundly unfunny and just honest some of these posts are (“Not funny, I didn't laugh. Your joke is so bad I would've preferred it went over my head and you gave up re-telling it. To be honest, this is a horrid attempt at trying to get a laugh out of me. Not even a chuckle, not a hehe, not even a subtle burst of air out of my oesophagus…”). There are no jokes here. Nothing to laugh at. Only flagrant documentations of how empty our existence is and how “seen” you feel by it. They are the living embodiment of the fact that we get dumber every day as our brain rots, like old age hurtling towards us as if we’re in that M Night Shyamalan beach movie

As one follower puts it: “i wonder how iconic @onadownwardspiral will end up. Like i genuinly [sic] feel like it may go down as one of the pillars of our generation”. We agree. Thank you @onadownwardspiral, we owe you our lives.

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