Photo Courtesy of Ashland Memes
With a little over a year on Instagram, Ashland Memes has gained a large following of more than 7,000 followers, including some larger local businesses. However, their recent activity caused the suspension of their original account during the week leading up to Halloween. Although the user is anonymous, The Siskiyou spoke with them about the recent suspension over the Halloween weekend and what inspired them to start the account last year.
During the week leading up to Halloween, Ashland Memes hosted a virtual Halloween contest, encouraging all Ashland residents to send in photos of their costumes. “Because 2020 has been an absolute dumpster fire of a year and I couldn’t stand the thought of it taking our beloved Halloween festivities,” explained Ashland Memes when asked what inspired them to start the contest.
Local businesses donated gift cards, spa appointments, and free food for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize winners. Kati Case, co-owner of Case Coffee, said that they wanted to give back to the community and jumped at the opportunity to donate to the contest.
During the week of the Halloween, Ashland Memes had a new issue to contend with when their account was suddenly suspended. The suspension was due to a post the account had shared for their Halloween event. Submitted by community member, Olivia Mesco, the photo recreated the movie poster for the Korean film, “Parasite”. Mesco used the new home of the DeBoer family as a backdrop, with the tagline “‘I want the ice skating rink back’ – Every Ashlander that isn’t a DeBoer.”
One of members of the DeBoer family commented on Mesco’s post sharing her disappointment with the featured tagline and continued, “The comments about DeBoer’s are so unnecessary and just mean! FYI we love the ice rink and love and support all the park activities.” Mesco shared that another family member contacted her privately to voice their disappointment in her post.
Many Ashlanders responded to the public comment by stating that the post was a simple joke, while many brought up the wealth disparity in Ashland. Mesco went on to speak about the gentrification of Ashland saying, “I think my photo unintentionally opened a Pandora’s box of the zeitgeist of what most of Ashland thinks about our wealthier residents. That wealthy white families, like the DeBoers, have facilitated the gentrification in our community and the severe lack of affordable housing for many residents. Ashland isn’t just an affluent community, it’s made up of people of all socioeconomic statuses, and they should all have the ability to afford to live here.”
Ashland Memes stated that the DeBoer family has yet to reach out, but Ashland Memes would have liked a private conversation about the post before the suspension happened. The account also added that it’s very unlikely that they will get their original page back, however, “[they] have at least 90% of the content from the original page saved.”
The Siskiyou reached out to the DeBoer family but has yet to receive a response.
Due to the suspension, Ashland Memes has had to create a new account, @ashlandmemesofficial, but is continuing to create and post memes for their followers. The account has been blown away by the community engagement, which users can clearly see on their page. The owner voiced that, “The amount of community engagement [the page has] garnered has been so fun to watch. I love hearing people talk about the page in public. Seeing someone’s car, laptop, or water bottle sporting the Ashland Memes sticker is also a lovely pat on my ego.”
When asked what inspired them to create this account, the owner replied, “I started the page because I was craving a project, and because I needed to get some of these Ashland jokes off my chest. This town has been my home on and off for the past 15 years, but it’s also one of my favorite places on the planet. The page is simultaneously a love letter to Ashland AND a showcase of what makes living in this privileged, organic, Shakespearean bubble completely laughable and absurd.”
The Siskiyou asked if Ashland Memes had any effect on the local businesses due to their account. As far as they know, they haven’t had a change on any of the operations in Ashland, also stating that, “I don’t want the content of the page to be influenced by anything like ads or bribes from local vendors. It’s much more fun to be able to support businesses in other ways”.
Ashland Memes is quickly becoming an Ashland staple with followers from every generation. The account will continue to post memes to bring laughter to local residents as we finish out 2020.