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When the dog bites and the bee stings and it hurts inside, I just think of my favorite memes and you know what? I don’t feel so bad.
So, what makes a great political meme? For me there are four kinds: the flat-out hilarious, those which exhibit uncanny prescience, those which knock down a peg those people and institutions which richly deserve it, and those which relentlessly mock hypocrisy or false narratives.
Does that mean an inordinate number Brian Williams memes? Yes, it does.
The memes below never seem to grow old. This is especially true where the two evergreen topics intersect, such CNN and Russiagate. (Let’s face it: if it weren’t for the Russian collusion meme, CNN would still be babbling about missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.)
Some of the issues touched upon below are not political, let alone partisan. Some are merely in response to stories that dominated the internet for a time, such as United’s
black-eye red-eye flight to Louisville. Below you’ll find a little bit of something for everybody. Hillary Clinton’s unconcealable contempt for the law and the American people? You bet. James Comey’s weak-kneed fear of Trump and fealty to the Deep State? Oh yeah. The seemingly endless, pathetic saga of Anthony Weiner? Sure thing.
While some of the memes won the internet, others are relatively obscure. And whatever your politics, remember that these are for entertainment purposes only.
Arguably the funniest meme of all time, this one has it all: Hillary Clinton’s face and gesture expressing her patented disdain for those who would seek transparency, a Halloween orange outfit reminiscent of a particularly terrifying jack-o-lantern and an impossible-to-improve tagline.
Some of the best memes from the post-Trump era come from ancient times when The Donald was President-elect, as is the case here. The widespread fear that Trump would bring back Democratic policies makes his actual presidency seem pedestrian in comparison.
Speaking of internment camps, United’s shameful treatment of Asian-American doctor David Dao signaled the beginning of a spate of well-deserved PR nightmares for the airline, exemplified by the out-of-touch corporate-speak response of its CEO Oscar Munoz. This meme embodies the cardinal comedy virtue of KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Eisenstein’s theory of film montage is as straightforward as it is commonsensical: image A followed by image B creates in the minds of viewers idea C. In this classic meme, the confessional nature of the text (A) framing Comey’s perpetually aggrieved mug (B) creates in viewers an idea: (C) an administrative lifer desperately working to protect the Deep State from democratic transparency and change.
A third-rate Photoshop job isn’t enough to prevent this meme from cutting through the rainbow-unicorn haze of Bernie Bros and getting to the heart of Bernie Sanders’ Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride economic policies.
Who needs wind and solar subsidies when we can harness the power of political schadenfreude?
If there’s any aspect of American life more risible than Political Correctness, I have not yet encountered it. A genre unto itself, memes like this make one grateful not to toil in a suffocating groupthink environment, be it a college campus or the State Department.
Everything old is new again! And if you think Hollywood is out of new ideas, its got nothing on the Democrats’ base. You know your economics are as a fly stuck in amber when Sweden is four decades ahead of you.
So great is Hillary Clinton’s patented contempt for anything that interferes with her career arc that it’s difficult to parody. But as this meme shows, there’s great merit in trying. What I especially like about this meme is that it’s absurd yet plausible.
Trump’s appearance, personality and tone is the mirror image Barack Obama’s. His ties are too long, his hair is ridiculous, he’s orange. This aesthetic asymmetry goes a long way to explaining the hard landing many progressives are still reeling from since the election. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this one nicely encapsulates the post-election feeling of harsh Trump critics from David Frum to Ross Douthat: “Get off me, you goddamn filthy ape!”
This prescient meme, published along before anyone in the public had heard of Peter Strzok, serves as a useful reminder that we shouldn’t be surprised when government agencies seem inclined to go to bat for the party of government.
Before terms like “pervnado” entered our cultural lexicon, there was Anthony Weiner, aka Carlos Danger. That Weiner’s selfies would figure — ahem — prominently in the final days of the 2016 presidential elect suggests that not only is there a God, but that He loves us.