Are Lives Really A Joke? (Ashley & Jodieann)

What is the original context of this image (or images, since there were a series of them)? Who is the ‚Äúauthor‚ÄĚ? When/where/why was it taken (or created)?

The photograph was taken by Nil√ľfer Demir, a photographer working for the Turkish agency DHA (Dogan News Agency). The photo was taken in the midst of the Syrian refugee crisis. This photo was taken on a beach in Turkey. Upon further investigation it was discovered that the boy’s four-year-old brother Galip¬†and a third child were found a short distance away. The boy’s mother was found on a beach 150 miles away.

What kind of visual imagery does it involve? What type of argument does it make (including its emotional appeal)?

This is a raw, heartbreaking image. The image presents the argument that the ignorance towards violence has gone too far. Being that this is a child it affects most of its viewers.

What about the remixes of this images? What arguments / appeals are they making?

Arch2O-Syrian-01That drowned Syrian boy © Patrick Chappatte,The International New York Times,That drowned Syrian boy

The images above all remixes of the initial image. Every remix serves a different purpose. The first two appeal to the emotions of everyone especially politicians that have chosen to ignore the crisis. The bottom two are remixes that undermine the seriousness of the situation. Without knowing the original context, the user would be emotionally unaware of the initial message.

How did this image go ‚Äúviral‚ÄĚ? How did it circulate? Through what networks (social media & otherwise)? How did the consumers of this image become producers of new meaning?

The image started with European news sources and spread quickly to social networks and American news. All networks contributed to the  viral spread of the image. The emotional appeal alone created an environment of the need to participate in social change. As hashtags and captions were added the image became more popular.

What meanings did this image taken on? How was it appropriated?

In its more disturbing forms the image became a joke. It was used in a was that desensitized the situation.

How did you go about doing your research here? Provide us with the citations / links you are looking at.

Most of the images are linked back to their original sources. All of the images came from the Google seach ”Syrian boy memes”. That single search provided insight into the situation.


The Virality of Memes

Memes inception is here to stay.¬†Memes provide an opportunity to connect with people of all sort. To say that memes has not had any effect on popular culture is like saying global warming has had no effect on the world. Another added bonus of memes is that it encourages participation and shareability. Memes have the ability to be shared across a wide range of platforms and on smartphones as well which is major. Memes encourage collaborative community while also cultivating a new form of discourse community‚ÄĒ they are unlike traditional culture.

The Virality of Memes

Meme’s Ability to Change Over Time

Memes are created for various reasons and they can be duplicated thousands of ways that sometimes users who create them may not no the origin of its existence. Because of viral media as Greis puts it, “once produced and distributed in a networked pathway, images rapidly undergo change in terms of location, form, media, genre, and function” (335). What once was a photo in a comic book circulated into a proliferation of memes. Thousands of users rely on the internet everyday and with the addition of social networks it is easy to spread content as simple as a meme online. The internet makes it easy for users to create memes as well with just a few clicks. But those who create these memes, how many of them know its origin? Memes do not and will not remain the same because each user who contributes to creating them have a different purpose from another user as to why they created it in the first place whether because they intend to be funny or serious or even romantic. Memes change over time through the web and users never look back. Next time you see a meme ask yourself, what actions, process, or result of manipulation created the meme to begin with?

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Memes Encouragement of Discourse Communitites

Kenny and Cohen derive the idea of a meme by using Limor Shifman’s definition in explaining to their readers that a meme, is “(a) a group of digital items sharing common characteristics of content, form, and/or stance, which (b) were created with awareness of each other, and (c) were circulated, imitated, and/or transformed via the internet by many users” (98).

The circulation of memes have created a discourse community in which people participate in creating variations of scenarios through imagery. Memes spread through the behavior that they generate within different discourse communities on the web. For instance, the very familiar Leonardo Dicaprio memes:




As you can see, a snippet of imagery from the film The Great Gatsby was acquired and circulated around the web to create various memes whether to share humorous context or a more serious one. One shot can be looked at and manipulated a thousand ways and that in itself, creates a discourse community in that users of the web like to create memes. This photo may be updated and reupdated whenever someone has a text that can draw attention to the photo and create an idea.

“According to Limor Shifman, there are two types of remix meme: the juxtaposition image meme and the frozen-motion remix meme. The juxtaposition meme takes a facial expression or an act out context and inserts it into an image that deserves the punch line” (Cohen &¬†Kenny 104).¬†The memes¬†of Leonardo Dicaprio¬†shown above is the very definition of a juxtaposition meme. “Shifman explains that juxtapositions call for mimetic response because the photos are taken out of context, and their reappropriation to other context feels almost natural” (Cohen & Kenny 104). Users of the web who experiment with memes may not know the context of Leonardo’s facial expression if they did not watch the movie, however, the way Shifman puts it, the facial expression is open to interpretation to create memes and generate ideas of thinking within discourse communities or just in the realm of the web as a whole.

To use Leonardo Dicaprio again, his photo was taken in mid-motion in the scene of his film Inception as he is seen walking awkwardly but happily and people use out-of-context information to crate a meme. The original photo is shown below.

 Look at the variations people came up with as a result making it a frozen-motion meme.

*All photos located at The 23 Funniest Strutting Leo Pics.

The variations of this photo has generated so much buzz within the discourse community of the web that it is known as “Strutting Leo.” Because of the popularity of the photo, people are successful in producing a desired or intended result via the internet and by using this particular photo. Same goes for thousands of other photos that continue to circulate the web. Ultimately, discourse communities are encouraged to participate in creating memes by using shared photos or videos of interest on the web.

Advice Dog

The idea that a single image is capable of generating so much discourse over such a large scale is amazing. Internet memes have become an indespensible part of the web and¬†woven in our culture. For example,¬†Advice Dog,¬†as seen below,¬†originated from a¬†Mario fan-site, The Mushroom Kingdom and was¬†created in 2006. It started¬†with a picture of a dog’s head with a multicolored color wheel background behind it. From there, Advice Dog developed into many variations of memes.


Image result for advice dogImage result for advice dog

Advice Dog                           Advice Lady

As mentioned in the Lauri Greis article, “Studies of transformation are especially useful in tracking how images undergo change in ways unanticipated by the “original” image’s designer and spark unexpected consequences.” (344), Advice Dog shows how an image¬†can be circulated and transform with space and time. ¬†Whether the text changes with the same image or the image changes with the same text, it contributes to a rhetorical collaboration.

According to Cohen and Kenny “to participate in the meme requires an understanding of the linguistic nature of the meme itself.” (89). This can be seen with¬†Advice Dog in which it is typical to combine¬†two completely unrelated pieces of¬†advice together. ¬†The genuine good advice, given at the top, is usually followed by a bad or humorous advice given at the bottom. ¬†While the linguistic nature of the meme is culturally understood by the participants who¬†create and post, each meme has its own identity and its own message.

Meme Presentation


When we think about how we communicate on a screen several things come to mind, text messages, emails, Facebook messages or maybe twitter. What we don‚Äôt think about is how these modes of communication change how we send each other information. As it says on page 90 of Chapter Four (Cohen and Kenny) ‚Äúone of the biggest downsides of digital culture is transmission loss of meaning and depth in text in short messages‚ÄĚ. This along with the combination of emoji‚Äôs and short speak make us pre programmed to keep it short and get to the point. It also opens the door to miscommunication because how I type something may not be the way its read by someone else, which can either be a funny misunderstanding or something more serious like offending someone.


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Response 7- Memes

When we think about how we communicate on a screen several things come to mind, text messages, emails, Facebook messages or maybe twitter. What we don’t think about is how these modes of communication change how we send each other information. As it says on page 90 of Chapter Four (Cohen and Kenny) “one of the biggest downsides of digital culture is transmission loss of meaning and depth in text in short messages”. This along with the combination of emoji’s and short speak make us pre programmed to keep it short and get to the point. It also opens the door to miscommunication because how I type something may not be the way its read by someone else, which can either be a funny misunderstanding or something more serious like offending someone.

This idea relates to page 338 of the Gries article where she talks about the consequences of an image as it circulates. When we post something to our social media accounts they’re ¬†no longer ours, they can be reposted and reworked thousands of times and the message we set out to send has now been revised half a dozen times. Think about the most popular memes out there right now and how many captions they can host or how many variations of that same meme you’ve come across in your scrolling. For example this picture has been apart of so many memes,

nick-young-confused-face-300x25665c f2d

Those are just two examples of how that one picture has been used. The two captions are totally unrelated but the picture still applies. When memes like this get changed and circulate they’re breathed new life. In memes like this its mostly for humor. However sometimes like Gries points out on page 342 sometimes images meant to be powerful and leave a lasting impression, like the obama hope poster, get remixed into context far outside their intent. Like the Obamicons which mock or make spoofs of the original content there is no limit to what people can do with something they find online, apps like twitter or instagram clearly state in their privacy policy that once you post it they can do what they want with it.

With the political scene heating up the memes surrounding the candidates are circulating more and more, some hilarious, some a little crude but all making jokes on the candidates campaign. Donald Trump in particular is a popular meme character, with thousands of variations of his face appearing all over social media.




Cats: A Trending Sensation

Making my way to Astoria, Queens to the Museum of the Moving Image, I had no idea of what to expect. First, because I haven’t been to a museum since I was a child and second, because I thought how much of an exhibit can be dedicated solely to cats. Walking into the museum, I could appreciate the white, crisp, clean walls and stairs; it was modern as well as breathtaking. Walking up the stairs and into our first exhibit, How Cats Took Over the Internet, my first words were “awww they’re so cute!” I’ve never seen an abundance of photos and videos of cats all in one setting. I had to take in everything slowly and I can¬†understand why cat owners/lovers would share their felines online for everyone else to see.

My favorite part of the exhibit is viewers are allowed to pick and choose emotions for different video scenarios of cats in action. My two favorite is the cat that excitedly ran into the pool but¬†had a¬†terrified look on its face when it’s finally in the water and the two cats that couldn’t keep their paws off each other. I also liked the component of making our own memes, I’ve never done that before, it was fun being creative with a picture and a few words because sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words so text isn’t always necessary.


The cat as its running into the water


The cat after it’s in the water and it is obvious that it’s terrified

Two cats showing affection towards one another

Two cats showing affection towards one another

The meme I created at the exhibit

The meme I created at the exhibit


A cat playing with toilet tissue

I wonder, do you think dogs will ever become as big on the internet as cats have? There are countless numbers of different kinds of animals so why do cats get all the popularity? Nonetheless, I thought the exhibit was great and the museum as a whole brought me back to my childhood days; going on museums with my classmates. I think I will definitely go back to check out the other exhibits in the near future with some friends.