Taxonomy of a Twitter Meme’s Intent

Today, one of my favorite twitter follows, @cher, posted a meme that only a 71-year old pop super star would tweet out:

with this picture:

I was immediately captivated. There’s just so many things slightly off here: the artifacted-to-shit image, the neutral quotation mark at the start of the sentence with an open quote at the end, the fact that Einstein probably never said this. Was this all intentional? This question naturally leads the most fascinating dimension: Cher’s intent. Where does she sit on the spectrum of earnestness? I’m inclined to think that she posted this at 90% seriousness levels–in other words, a non-zero element of silliness was involved in her reposting this image. But I can’t say for sure! Cher may not even notice or care about the small imprecisions. Then again–did she really write “Nuf” without some jocularity? The intent is in multiple places at once like some subatomic particle. There’s no unipolarity.

To me, that indiscernibility is somehow savory. Twitter (as I’ve made it with my follows) is filled with jokes in the form of nihilistic glibness. Every biting satire or contemptuous hot take comes gets at an idea that resonates with me, so I at least think I understand something of the intent. But this Cher tweet. It’s strange and misshapen, not hewing to the usual mold. This indiscernible earnestness is like a strange twist in the wind. I am enraptured with its unknowability.