All posts tagged: memes

“La Bola de Cristal”: Puerto Rican Meme Production in Times of Austerity and Crisis

by Caroline Gil-Rodríguez Sky is a sea of darkness, when there is no sun Sky is a sea of darkness, When there is no sun to light the way When there is no sun to light the way There is no day There is no day There’s only darkness Eternal Sea of Darkness. — Sun Ra Puerto Rico, a US Territory with a population of 3.474 million people, that is neither a sovereign nation nor state of the union. The island is currently in the midst of an ongoing financial crisis with an accrued debt of over $73 billion and $49 billion in pension obligations, the largest economic insolvency in the history of the United States. The fiscal crisis has seen an abundance of meme trends that unveil the frustrations of the citizenry after decades of corruption, react to the recent imposition of a Fiscal Control Board, and draw on the island’s thorny history as a colony of the U.S. Who else, but a godless Richard Dawkins to coin the term “meme”? The evolutionary biologist and …

Erratic Copying: Consummate Memetics in the Year 2012

Perhaps the greatest delight in teaching is watching students realize that debates are often not what they initially appear. I relished this transition in particular this fall, when my freshman working on an argumentative paper about the future of journalism began (mercifully) to drift from her original question—echoing the panicked buzz of so many alarmist headlines—“is print dead?” towards the infinitely more sophisticated “what does it mean to digest journalism digitally and how does this readership mode both continue and differ from others?” Inspired by the impending election, she asked her classmates during a draft review clinic whether she might discuss how election coverage played out online through social media—moving beyond the articles on news outlets themselves to address the ways topic circulated via Facebook walls and even enjoyed a second life as memes. The class seized enthusiastically on this question and began referencing images they had seen “reporting” the campaigns’ myriad gaffs and malapropisms. Everyone giggled when I pulled up one of my personal favorites from the recent presidential debate entitled One Meme to …