Many memes have transpired on Facebook but none that is as fun as the one going on until 6th December (in the version that I know). Facebook users are to change their profile pictures into a favorite cartoon character from their childhood with the aim that by the 6th of December all of Facebook would be suffused with fond memories of childhood.
When this meme first surfaced it was just that, a call to remember one’s childhood, but in some places it has trancended reminiscence and became a call to end child abuse or violence against children.
Other memes on Facebook that can be recalled was when women changed their status message to a color — which turned out to be the color of the brassiere they had on at the time, as a call to breast cancer awareness. A similar meme was women’s answer to where they would usually put down their purses when they got home or to the office. Both memes found the male Facebook population scratching their heads, some even changing their status to a color while admitting that they didn’t know what it was all about.
But the cartoon character meme going on right now has no limitations on sex or age. All of us, during our childhood, had our heroes, whether they were on TV or the latest copy of Liwayway or Aliwan comics. We all waited for the chance to see or read about them, some of us faked having finished homework just to be allowed television time. Some of us may have gone to the nearest sari-sari store where the latest editions of the comics were either for sale or for rent and spent that bit of allowance money left over (or filched from small change) to find out how Galema fared from last week’s cliffhanger.
Why December 6? I’m not really sure about that, but I do know that the day is the Feast of St. Nicolas of Myra, who in other cultural incarnations is the person who always thinks of the welfare of children: Santa Claus.
The cartoon character meme that has evolved into a call to stop child abuse may not actually have the power to save children who have been brought into prostitution, or labor, or violence. But if it can make each of us who participate aware that such atrocities do happen, if it can make those of us who have children or live in the midst of children try to make a child smile or have a minute or two of fun, then the meme would have achived its purpose.