Yes. They are not creatures made up for a fantasy series, even though the ‘dire’ in dire wolf certainly makes it sound like they’re not run-of-the-mill carnivores.
But get this, they were five-foot long and weighed up to 79 kilos. I’m not going to mess with that. We’re talking about a toothy creature my size but about 30 kilos heavier. Thankfully, they became extinct 10,000 years ago.
Still, I like the idea of having one that protects me, or can be bidden to pounce on people I don’t like.
It’s a mark of the current online culture that over the past year, I’ve had turn to the Urban Dictionary quite A LOT. Granted that I’m normally the last on the uptake IRL anyway, I’ve found that being on Reddit and Twitter means having to constantly keep up with the latest acronyms and obscure memes.
They weren’t kidding when they said a couple of years ago that geek is the new black. ‘Geek chic’ was only part of it; the revolution really happened through in-jokes that proliferated with abandon like a zombie virus. It’s all in good fun; I have no problem at all with ‘wit as entertainment.’ In fact it caters to my pathological need to belong. When I use the hashtag of the moment, it’s like a card-key that automatically lets me into a room where people converse in an exclusive language.
This is what I find most interesting: the development of language that excludes, that defines the borders of what is mainstream in order to stand outside it. Memes and fads such as nyancat, #notaclimatescientist, and #tigerblood do not mean anything to those who are not in the room. And the fact that they don’t is what makes the room exclusive, a rarified club of geeks, techs, nerds (but not dorks) and (lately) hipsters who see themselves as ‘not the rest.’
There’s an irony there, somewhere, when the ‘reclamation of independence’ from what is popular or pedestrian leads to the very thing it rejects: herd mentality. You see it when a new meme or acronym is born, in the rush to own and propagate. The extraordinarily brief lifespans of such things actually makes the herd mentality more acute than it could ever be ‘offline.’ But this is where the difference also lies.
Nature, even on the internets, abhors a vacuum. Hence, the tools that let you into the club have become far more democratic. All you have to do is come up with a meme. And keep it coming.