Thursday, November 10, 2016

Discrediting the Authenticity of Conservative Lived Religion

As I’ve said previously, my case study is focusing on how members of the liberal left use memes to point out points of contradiction between Republican/Conservative ideology and Christianity. Obviously when considering these images the offline religious and political culture play a large part in how these memes can be analyzed in terms of authenticity.

In the first meme we see a depiction of Jesus Christ preaching the so-called “golden rule”, love others as you love yourself. However, underneath the original poster (OP) has added the phrase “as long as he’s the same race, religion, and not a homo”. What this person is doing is drawing on the fact that, from a cultural standpoint, the majority of Republicans are Christians. He or she is criticizing the stereotypical right-wing bigot by pointing out how the way they live in real life is not authentic to the lived religion they supposedly subscribe to.

In the second meme the offline religious and political culture are important to consider when attempting to decode the message. In this image the OP is taking the stereotypical gun-toting, pro-life Christian Republican and pointing out how supporting gun rights, opposing healthcare, and being pro-life is humorously contradicting.

Obviously in each of these images the offline culture is portrayed in a new context online in an effort to decrease the authenticity and legitimacy of conservative Christians’ lived religion in an offline world. This re-framing of the offline lived religion and political leanings in an online context is a blurring of ideas.

These memes are created by liberals about Christian conservatives. They attempt to discredit the Republican voter by communicating the contradicting nature of their religion online, lived religion, and political affiliation.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Criticizing Figures of Authority with Religious Authority

This week I will be discussing online authority and how two new memes commenting on the 2016 Presidential Race are related to this topic.

In the first image we see a depiction of Jesus flipping the bird to Christian Trump supporters. The critique here is that the Republican presidential candidate, though he professes a belief in Christianity, is not at all the type of person true members of the Church would want in the White House, and, that "Christian conservatives" have done wrong by other members of the church that feel differently about Trump. The authority in reference here is obviously Jesus Christ whose teachings are the pillar of Christian ideology. Of course, this religious figure comes from an offline context, the Bible to be specific (obviously), however the creator of this meme is using a "logic of dialectics and paradox" in an effort to subvert Trumps alleged religious affiliation and ultimately discredit his presidential credibility. The image references the conflicting nature of Christianity and Donald Trump as a person to effectively undermine the man's religious authority.

The second meme uses this exact type of logic for the same reason with a more humorous example of the point attempting to be made. The authority being referenced is broader than the previous example. Instead of referring to Jesus specifically the creator has decided to appeal to Christian evangelical ideology. He/she then combines the the offline context of this type of thinking with a contrasting piece of information that also comes from the offline realm; Donald Trump used to own a strip club. Obviously from a conservative Christian standpoint this is not ideal behavior for a person that subscribes to their specific code of morals. Both memes attempt to discredit conservative Christian voters and their preferred Presidential candidate by comparing the two subjects to contrasting elements of their political leanings humorous (and condescending) ways.

Image result for donald trump religious meme

Friday, October 28, 2016

A Blurring of Contexts

So, last week I was supposed to discuss two new memes which means this week I will be analyzing four. If you remember from my previous posts, this case study is analyzing memes that critique Republican political beliefs by comparing them to apparently contradicting Christian beliefs that many Republican’s hold. The first image is a sarcastic statement criticizing a bakery in Colorado that refused business to a gay couple looking to purchase a cake for their wedding celebration. It’s pointing out that the bakery’s actions, while done because of a religious belief, in fact are hypocritical from a Christian perspective. The second image shows a fake verse out of the bogus book of “Republiconnians”. It points out inconsistencies between Christian and Republican ideology in regards to the poor, healthcare, and illegal immigration. It’s basically communicating that Democratic beliefs about these issues are more representative of a Christian worldview than the conservative counterparts. The third image portrays a scene of from the New Testament where Jesus miraculously feeds a crowd of four thousand with seven loaves of bread a few small fish. The meme presents a humorous critique of a Republican idea that says people on welfare should be required to take a drug test in order to be covered by the government aid program. The fourth image simply makes a broad, unsupported claim that Republicans are completely missing the point of their faith. In all of these memes, there is a blurring of online/offline context. The images attempt to communicate a message from a liberal context by blending a comparison between Christianity and Republicanism with a Democratic innuendo in an effort to show people why they think Republicans are hypocritical. In the real world, many Republicans follow Christianity because they think that the religion supports their political beliefs or at least has no conflict with them. The creators of these memes beg to differ. They are taking the two ideologies most often associated together in an offline context and using them against themselves to share a new message online.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Blog Post #2: Examining My Dank Memes & What They Tell Us

My case study is going to be focused on the use of internet memes to communicate and discuss the apparent contradictions between Republican ideology and Christianity, the religion primarily subscribed to by Republican people. Based on the images I have used as examples, we can gather information about Christian values, Republican values, the contradictions between the two ideologies, and how Democrats use these to paint a negative picture of Republican politicians and voters. At the core of Christianity is a belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God, obviously. Furthermore, Christians believe in the values of kindness, equality, generosity, helping those in need, and pacifism. These traits are taken by people with opposing views and compared against apparently contradicting ideas held by Republicans (such as the opposition of same-sex marriage, government controlled healthcare, and welfare programs) in an effort to discredit them and their Presidential nominees. In the two sample images I have provided below, the Republican stances on welfare and general ideas of capitalism are being criticized due to the perceived contradicting beliefs between the conservative platforms and basic tenants of biblical Christianity which appear extremely socialist. People creating these types of images are usually associated with the political left and subscribe to atheism, agnosticism, or some other form of secular thinking. They are clearly being critical of Republican ideology. The representation of Christians in these types of memes can often be skewed and misinformed in an effort to further support the claim being made or because of pure ignorance. However, this is not always the case, with many of these memes pointing out seemingly condemning flaws in Christian Republican logic.

Blog Post #1: Case Study Explanation

The 2016 election cycle has been . . . interesting, to say the least. In the midst of a massive shit storm of mudslinging, allegations, and accusations one element that has been distinctly absent from the primary rhetoric about our presidential candidates is the religious ideology they subscribe to. Of course, Donald Trump claims Christianity and Hillary Clinton surely does as well, depending on whose vote she’s pandering for, but the difference seems to be that they are clearly not serious about their religious standing, and neither is the country. Our current political climate seems uninterested in the candidate’s religious views or how serious they are about their supposed religious beliefs. Christianity in particular has been used more to discredit Republicans nominees than to claim superiority. This is specifically observed in the spread of memes discussing the perceived contradictions between Christian and Republican ideology. These sarcastic little messages are disseminated across social media in an effort to show others how Republican Christians are hypocritical and contradicting. They point out inconsistencies between how the Christian faith calls followers to interact with society and how Republican platform stances are not in line with what the faith they supposedly subscribe to commands. This case study aims to show how Christianity has become a weapon used against the political Right instead of a means with which to support its credibility.