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By: Julia Richmond 

I am using both of these memes but strongly focusing on the bottom one, because it was generated furthermore once the first one was released.  The photos represent a campus police officer from the University of California, who was photographed pepper-spraying students during a protest.  The police officer was found not guilty, and it was said that he was trying to clear a safe pathway to escape as some people were not cooperating.  I chose this meme in particular because I remember hearing this story and wanted to find the real meaning of why a photo of Jesus with children was generated to be compared with the pepper-spraying officer.

The relevant aspects of the second meme are that it was made to take a serious controversial issue, and turn it into a more humorous photo.  This was done by taking the officer with the pepper-spray and placing him in a photo with Jesus and children, then carelessly spraying a little boy.  A simple protest is being compared to Jesus gathering with children in a peaceful setting.

A generated meme is meant to spread ideas from one person to another, and in this case have an underlying religious representation.  At first glance, this photo looks as if it is only making fun of the cop for pepper-spraying children who are confiding with Jesus.  Although, there is a deeper meaning to this meme religiously, and more specifically what Jesus represents.  A portion of a Bible passage referring to Mark 10:13-16 reads, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”  The previous quote that goes along with the photo in the meme plays perfectly in comparison with the fact that it was believed that the officer used unnecessary force to stop the students from having a protest.  Likewise, arguments say that the students had the right to protest an issue on their campus.  Out of all memes related to this topic that I researched the one with Jesus and his children had the deepest relevance due to the similarity of the students’ rights on campus to have a peaceful protest, and Jesus believing that the kingdom of God is there home to allow them to come be with him.

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6 thoughts on “Pepper-Spraying Cop Meme

  1. This is really interesting. I wonder how long after the incident that the second meme was made. I also wonder if the cop in the second meme is spraying the younger boy of color to make another statement or not. I like this a lot and told you my one correction in person 🙂

  2. I think that you did a great job organizing each section and giving clear evidence to prove your points. I have never heard of this meme and I think that if I had, I would have wondered the same thing as you. I think that the deeper meaning of this meme is interesting and find it interesting how it relates back to the cop being pepper sprayed. Great job overall!

  3. I really liked this blog post because I never even heard of the pepper-spraying cop meme before this class, nor did I know the story behind the meme. It’s interesting what a photo will depict and how very far it is from the actual story. For example, there was a photo circulating on Tumblr of one of the members of the band, Fall Out Boy (Pete Wentz) who is shown walking with a grocery bag full of food and the next picture underneath is him bending down to a homeless man giving him the bag of food. These two photos were flipped around so that the first photo was Pete Wentz bending down to the homeless man with the food and the next was him walking away with it, to make it seem like he stole the food from the homeless man. The caption underneath read, “Pete Wentz steals food from a homeless man then walks away with it.” It is interesting how things can be so falsely perceived based on a simple photo.

    As far as religion goes, it was cool to read about the background research you deducted with quoting the Bible and how you tied the meme to the religious meaning behind it. I would have never guessed that the photo could have had a religious background at all! Bravo!

  4. The only thing I can say is wow. This is great. I personally found images such as this to be humorous just because they are taken completely out of context. I never thought to dive deeper into the issue, especially with the image with the children and jesus and compare it on such a meaningful level. Nice Work.

  5. Well done. You offer a good explanation of the meme’s origin–I’d be interested in more discussion of the image itself. (As mentioned above, the fact that he’s spraying a child of color is significant, even if the meme creator is adding a level of racism that didn’t exist in the original act.)

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