Okay, I had some fun. I’ve attached three versions of the recent “casually pepper spray everything cop” (CPSEC) meme that grew out of the pepper spraying of UC-Davis students last fall during the early “Occupy” protests. The “know your meme” link below does a good job of presenting the meme, its development, history, and quick spread across the interwebs. For some, this is already passé. For others, you may not have heard of this particular visual play before, let alone this example: CPSEC.
I started with the Drum, and ended up unsatisfied with drumsm.jpg: the spray is off, and there’s no real connection felt between the two images. I was going for something: ironic detachment? contrast between pep rally and Occupy protest? It seems lost now. Then, I played with what became benchsm.jpg. It was a literal use of the players using towels on the
bench, but I couldn’t ever quite get the toweling and pepperspraying to work together. I’m happier with the last one in the series, hummelsm.jpg. The cropping of the cop’s leg together with Hummel’s expression really seems to “work” somehow, re-interpreting the image as a mourning of losing a chance to get Purdue a national championship run with Robbie’s injury last year. And contrasting that with the activism of Davis. Or so I assert. Is all that in the picture for you, dear reader?
Usually, Photoshop is the tool of choice, plus links to 10 alternative open source tools, one of which is completely online–really neat. However, as a Mac user, all I did was:
1. Find images I wanted to alter and save them locally
2. Load the image of the policeman with pepperspray (http://imgur.com/mASZr)
3. I used the “instant alpha” tool in Preview, which found the outline of the image
4. Cut and paste
5. Convert to *.jpg and shrink file size to share
6. Voila! CPSEC meme!
And there are meme maker sites now. Too krazee. Too kewl.
The challenge is to imagine how the juxtaposition of one image upon another alters the original and impacts the cultural significance of original, the addition, as well as the ongoing discussion. That is, how does CPSEC participate in a visual participatory culture, and how does that reflect a shift from broadcast? If you haven’t read Shirky’s newer book “Cognitive Surplus,” you may want to take a look at the argument he makes contrasting participatory with broadcast culture (I’m also impressed with Chapter 6).
The aesthete Tufte provides further contrast with the embedded cultural perspective of Shirky, which reveals the role of rhetorical principles like context, metaphor, time (both kairos & chronos), accumulation, repetition, ethos, pathos. I don’t know how much logos there is—something to discuss. Check out the memetrace for CPSEC.
Below are a number of links to useful resources:
Alternatives to Photoshop
Casually pepper spray everything cop