Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Laura Bolton - Assignment 5

Casually Spray Everything Cop

In the Fall of 2011 as the Occupy Movement was sweeping the country, the protests were just as more prevalent, and violent, on college campuses. On November 18th, what was a peaceful protest at University of California, Davis, resulted in multiple police officers pepper-spraying sitting-down students. Since the Occupy Movements were heavily documented by the media, multiple photographs were taken at the event, and thus the severity and shock of the images lead to a viral internet meme, often referred to as the "Casually Spray Everything Cop". It also became popular due to the widespread awareness of the Occupy Protests and the nonchalant facial expression and body language of the officer spraying the young students with disregard for their protesting message and also their health and well-being. 

Figure 1 - Original Image - taken at UC Davis

Figure 2 - Google Insights

The data extracted from Google Insights clearly shows the popularity of the meme during November 2011, which quickly declined thereafter, as the Occupy protests faded and lost media attention, as well as the the decline in shock of the pepper-spraying incidence. Like most memes that are very contemporary, their interest levels peak in accordance with their importance and inclusion in the media, therefore are headed for decline in popularity shortly after. 

Figure 3 - Pink Floyd Variation
Figure 4 - Harry Potter Variation
Figure 5 - My Little Pony Variation
The images above show the creativity and different variations of the original image. From film and TV show related memes, to music and art history, internet users from (mainly) across America turned the event, like a lot of memes, into a comedic image, which offered some comic relief to the peaceful-turned-violent protest, however some might argue it took light from the drastic measure taken my the police officer at Occupy UC Davis.



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