Sep 292017
 

This meme confused me greatly when I first saw it, but now that Russian involvement is confirmed, it finally makes sense! Allow me to explain.
I had a VERY hard time figuring out which side of the debate this meme is endorsing.

1. Captain America in the current MCU is definitely a liberal. At first I got the impression that it was pro-SJ, because Cap is awesome (and liberal) and everyone wants to be like him. Also, the top picture doesn’t really make any sense. Everyone sits while watching football. So I basically ignored it and read “You are supportive of football players sitting” from the bottom picture, as that’s a very reasonable parsing of that sentence, especially with a celebratory, awesome Cap America pic just above it!

2. But the top pic is obviously supposed to be important in some way. Upon further thought I got the impression that it was a sarcastic anti-SJ thing, saying “You think you’re Cap America, but really you’re just a social media wanker posting SJW stuff and not doing anything of substance. Sitting on your ass like every other slacktavist, instead of doing something.”

3. But THEN I had the “read as sarcasm” filter on, and the bottom pic came into different focus. Now I think it means “Oh, so it’s a sarcastic anti-Trumper thing, saying THEY think they’re an alt-universe Right Wing Cap America, even tho they don’t even stand up for the pledge at home?”

In terms of clarity, this meme is garbage (as per above). In terms of accuracy, it’s also garbage. It assumes people are supposed to stand for the anthem playing in a stadium when they’re watching from their living rooms? And that Captain America is Right Wing? And that the athletes are “sitting” rather than “kneeling”? None of that makes a bit of sense. UNLESS! You are a professional Russian Troll without any real-world access to American Culture, and who gets all your impressions of Americans via stereotypes, 3rd-hand news, and pirated movies.

It’s entirely possible that a Russian Troll might assume Americans stand for the pledge in their living room, based on the crazy shit they’ve seen in the news over the past week. They don’t know enough about the subtleties of the American political climate to realize that Cap America, as portrayed by Hollywood and Marvel, is Left Wing. They just think of him as an UberPatriot draped in The Flag, which pattern-matches very nicely to Right Wing in shallow political discourse. And they could easily swap sitting for kneeling if they weren’t paying attention and didn’t realize the emotional distinction.

Also, it is targeted at “You.” When I first saw it thought “Screw you buddy, I don’t even WATCH football.” But that’s exactly the point, isn’t it? The Russians don’t care about accuracy, they don’t care about targeting their criticism at the people who actually deserve it. They want to enrage as many people as possible, so “you” works perfectly. And bringing in a symbol like Cap America that both sides like works to anger more people. And the sarcasm works to infuriate as many people as possible.

This is a pretty good meme if your only purpose is to anger the maximum amout of people as indiscriminately as possible. It is designed to be divisive. To splinter social groups, to drive wedges between friends, and to make everyone miserable and worse off. Don’t fall into Putin’s lap. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

(to summarize: I hope everyone starts seriously considering that all anti-X memes may be the work of hostile outside interests hoping to maximize internal strife, and thus thinking twice or thrice before sharing or responding.)

  2 Responses to “Putin’s Captain America”

  1. I’m willing to bet that it was an american that made it. Without being american myself. I think you’re looking way too deep into this, for hidden clues and meanings.

    Here’s my interpretation:
    It says “You complain about NFL players kneeling during the anthem while you yourself aren’t standing during it either.” which was also the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the picture, before reading the rest of your blogpost.
    So I’m basically going with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor – don’t attribute to malice what be as easily explained by incompetence or similar.
    I’ll link the picture to my brother, who plays football and watches the NFL and therefore has way more of a clue about that than me, and ask him what he thinks it is about.

    And having had an election recently in germany, I don’t get why everyone’s so pissed about other countries influencing foreign elections. It happens all the time. Macron waiting with his proposals for the future of europe until after the german election? Same thing. Or, do you think that Hollywood movies or South Park or .. I dunno, the behaviour of TEPCO after the Fukushima incident.. all those things influence elections. Some of them in bigger ways, some in smaller ways, some deliberate, some accidentally. If the majority of the country has access to foreign media then the election is influenced.

    If you think that russian facebook trolls gave Trump the precidency, I think you’re overestimating russian facebook trolls.
    I think the actions of Hillary Clinton and the DNC in the pre-elections had a way bigger impact on voters and on giving Trump the precidency.

    I might be wrong though, I wasn’t there. I’d just like to have seen Bernie Sanders as the President and after he wasn’t in the race any more I lost interest because it didn’t seem to me like much of a difference. Sure, it was a bad and a worse choice, but there was no good choice any more. Your two-party-system is just stupid, I think. On a range of 1 being a tyranny and 10 being a democracy your system is somewhere around a 4, I’d say.
    If Trump had been the candidate of the CDU/CSU and Clinton the candidate of the SPD (the two biggest parties in germany) people would simply have voted FDP, Grüne or Linke instead. (Or AfD unfortunately.) What I’m saying is, political parties can get away with a lot less shit if they don’t only have to look better than one other party.

    • Our system is pretty horrible, yeah. :(

      It’s definitely possible an American made it. Simply based on the number of potential doofuses, it may even be likely. But I think everyone should keep in mind that these hatred-stoking weapons are very useful to parties that want to destroy our society, and really think about if they want to deploy them *every single time* they feel like sharing one.

      As for the foreign influence thing – yeah, it’s been around forever. But it helps to snap people out of their short-sighted “I must throw bile and rage at the Wrong Side in my society!” to step back and look at it from the view of someone who would want to destroy both sides (and all the rest of society as well). I’m hoping that taking a larger view will reduce the viciousness of this stupid Culture War.

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