At the beginning of the year, I thought that Trump being even considered to have a chance to be the Republican nominee for president was a comical enough idea that I had incredibly high hopes for just how entertaining 2016 was going to be.
When Trump clinched the nomination I was convinced that the absurdity of 2016 had reached a peak and that my entire life would be a downhill slide of moments that couldn’t compare to the phrase “President Donald Trump.” For better or worse, I was mistaken.
Sept. 27, the Anti-Defamation League classified Pepe the frog as a hate symbol, next to Nazi swastikas and KKK garb.
A simple meme from the bowels of the internet is now being used by both sides of the presidential campaign. As the saying goes around Facebook, meme magic is real.
Hillary has gone all-in on the anti-Pepe train with an entire page of her website declaring how scary and horrifying Pepe is. Hillary might say that Trump doesn’t have the temperament to be president but she has declared war against a cartoon frog.
I just can’t deal. If I was a young teenage girl, I literally wouldn’t be able to even. Pepe is a meme, a cartoon character put into every imaginable situation that can exist. Pepe has been around for years before becoming even slightly associated with white supremacist groups and even now, the majority of Pepe memes have nothing to do with the alternative right or white supremacy.
What is the Anti-Defamation League even thinking? When I have to make a decision about something I am absolutely completely ignorant on, I get enough information from other people. These guys seem to be unable to look past their own noses and come to the first conclusion that strikes them. Nobody seems to have considered just how completely idiotic a meme is as a talking point.
The entire nature of memes is to be vaguely relatable enough to be applicable to virtually every aspect of human life. As such, the most successful and viral memes are applied to every aspect of human life. Not surprisingly, edgy internet trolls picked up Pepe and dressed him up like a Nazi.
Bugs Bunny has worn Nazi uniforms, yet isn’t a hate symbol. He’s starred in tons of movies and short animations in almost any role that can be had. A modern-day trickster god of American mythology, Bugs isn’t innocent to being associated with a radical right-wing movement yet is considered so harmless we put his face on clothing for infants.
The only thing that separates Pepe and Bugs is that Bugs had a bigger budget and better animation but Pepe has been placed into more situations and used in far more contexts.
I’m reminded of Kilroy, one of the original memes during WWII and how people would draw Kilroy absolutely everywhere. Kilroy was so viral that Stalin was convinced Kilroy was a Western spy and set out to try and have him found.
It pleases me to no end that I can compare Hillary and Stalin for doing the same completely absurd thing, fighting against a meme.
All Hillary has accomplished is the decimation of her credibility by demonstrating that she can’t distinguish between the harmful and the harmless. To not understand such a basic, ubiquitous part of internet culture and use it to spread fear about her opponent, I shudder to think what kind of leader she would be when actual lives are on the line.