When Memes Go Bad: Why Pepe the Frog Is Now Considered a Hate Symbol
Memes have the potential to make people laugh, but when they're used for evil?
One of the effects of the President-elect running on a platform with... ahem, questionable racial ideas is that the extreme racists in our society are emboldened, like those in the Alt-Right sphere, which is defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as:
"The Alternative Right, commonly known as the Alt-Right, is a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that 'white identity is under attack by multicultural forces using 'political correctness' and 'social justice' to undermine white people and 'their' civilization. Characterized by heavy use of social media and online memes, Alt-Righters eschew 'establishment' conservatism, skew young, and embrace white ethno-nationalism as a fundamental value."
It has been argued that it's the core support for Donald Trump's entire campaign.
In an effort to illustrate how much of this is out there on the Innerwebz, the Anti-Defamation league maintains a database of hate symbols called "Hate on Display" — including those that are pretty much only seen on the web.
In the past few months, two symbols used on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels made it into this ... hall of fame.
The first is the (((echo))) symbol, used by racists on Twitter and Facebook to identify what they call "Jewish controlled institutions" or Jewish users, frequently tied to comments and articles about Donald Trump. For example, writing (((banker))) to imply that the word "Jewish" should be added to it.
The second one added to the database recently? Pepe the Frog, a.k.a. Sad Frog.
The Pepe meme/image didn't start off as a hate symbol — it was created by artist Matt Furie in a 2005 cartoon called "Boys Club," but made it this year because it's been used with various racist modifications. Here are just a few of the less-offensive ones:
Not all versions of Pepe are racist, but enough variations have appeared to make it into the database.
And for a pretty comprehensive roll call of hate groups, take a look at Southern Poverty Law Center's extensive list.
Researchers discover a link between nonverbal synchronization and relationship success.
- Scientists say coordinating movements leads to increased intimacy and sexual desire in a couple.
- The improved rapport and empathy was also observed in people who didn't know each other.
- Non-verbal clues are very important in the development stages of a relationship.
Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.
- According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
- Cross-breeding with other ancient hominids gave some subsets of human population the genes to contend and thrive in colder and harsher climates.
- Behavioral and dietary changes also helped humans adapt to cold climates.
The comics titan worked for more than half a century to revolutionize and add nuance to the comics industry, and he built a vast community of fans along the way.
- Lee died shortly after being rushed to an L.A. hospital. He had been struggling with multiple illnesses over the past year, reports indicate.
- Since the 1950s, Lee has been one of the most influential figures in comics, helping to popularize heroes that expressed a level of nuance and self-doubt previously unseen in the industry.
- Lee, who's later years were marked by some financial and legal tumult, is survived by his daughter, Joan Celia "J.C." Lee.
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