Behind the Meme

By Clara Fleetwood/ J1 Staff

Memes are all around us on a daily basis. Many make us laugh, but many cause us to ask questions. When did this happen? How did someone come up with this? Why?

One meme that has begged people to ask questions is Pepe the Frog. Pepe the Frog is a frog-like creature who takes on various forms, from Donald Trump to a Frenchman and anything in between.

Pepe the Frog originally was created by Matt Furie for a comic strip called Boy’s Club in 2005. The comic was posted on MySpace and since has gone on to Twitter, Instagram, and other various social media. In 2015, it became one of the most talked about memes.

“He’s adaptable. Anyone can make their own Pepe. He’s a funny character who can easily be made funnier,” New Palestine High School sophomore, Trevor Darley. Darley is widely known across New Palestine for creating wicked memes.

Recently Pepe became controversial. In 2016, Pepe the frog became known world wide as being a hate symbol. Although Pepe the Frog was never created to become a hate symbol, people began to use the fun cartoon to spread hate.

The Anti Defamation League (ADL) is the main group that has been fighting to keep it as a hate symbol. It says that the use of Pepe the Frog portrayed with a Hitler-like moustache wearing a yarmulke otherwise known as a Klan hood, have been used on twitter as hateful messages aimed at Jews.

“Once again, racists and haters have taken a popular Internet meme and twisted it for their own purposes of spreading bigotry and harassing users,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “These anti-Semites have no shame. They are abusing the image of a cartoon character, one that might at first seem appealing, to harass and spread hatred on social media.”

“Pepe is just a nice frog with a bad repuation, this meme really changed my life,” senior and meme enthusiast Kiley Ritter said.

Kylie Ritter explains to her friends that Pepe is a good meme. Photo by Clara Fleetwood

Kylie Ritter explains to her friends that Pepe is a good meme. Photo by Clara Fleetwood

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