Friday, October 28, 2016

Bridging, Blending, or Blurring?

Online media and its context has transitioned over time to reflect three different types of techniques. These techniques include bridging, blending and blurring. But how do these concepts work in relation to the memes that I am researching? Because of the most recent election season, Donald Trump has been highlighted in religious themed memes to display an either positive or negative portrayal of his so called Christianity. This portrayal is done by bringing up past events or reflections on things he has said in past interviews. These specific memes that I am looking at this week have had aspects of bridging, blending and blurring of online context.

For example: Donald Trump on the Phil Donahue Show meme

This meme reflects bridging. My argument for this to fall under bridging is that during the time period in the late 80s, memes were unheard of across the globe. They were not a form of media that was used heavily. However, during the election season, people have used memes to compare and contrast Trump's previous statements on religion to what he is currently claiming as his religion. This meme quotes from 1989, "I have a really high IQ, Phil, I mean, c'mon. It's impossible for me to not be Atheist." When Trump was not in the political spotlight, he had no problem sharing his beliefs on being an Atheist. But now because political candidates running for the President of the United States are traditionally Christian, he is claiming that he is this ultimate conservative christian man. In this example of bridging, the meme has taken a completely different social medium and placed it on a more current social medium to get this point across. 

My next example: Donald Trump and Mean Girls meme

This is an example of blending arguably because of the different social mediums being reflected in this meme. In 2004 when Mean Girls was released, memes were considerably more popular and had already started the climb to popularity in terms of social media context. I would consider this meme to be promoting the idea of blending because it is taking one of the most "quotable" and popular movies to negatively portray Trump and his efforts to "Make America Great Again." It is explaining that Trump is going about making changes in a poor manor.

My last example: Buddy Christ and Trump meme

I would argue that the Trump spin on Buddy Christ is a meme using blurring. While Buddy Christ stems from the 1999 Dogma movie, this meme has taken off in the meme world. It has been widely used across different meme topics but because of its popularity I would consider its use in a meme context is a modern twist to Buddy Christ. In a more positive yet humorous light, Trump is portrayed to love the bible even so much that it is his favorite book of all time. This meme is taking his new found Christian appeal and placing it on Buddy Christ. Because this has taken two modern ideas, meme culture and Donald Trump as a Christian, the argument that this is a meme is focused on blurring. Blurring occurs when a both contexts are created into a new context altogether. Because the movie and Trump have been intertwined to be one new form of social media, this is considered blurring.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Religious Identity Online

Whether positive or negative, religion creates an identity and a label. I will focus on Trumps religious identity online through memes that have both reflected him in a positive and negative light during his campaign. He has tried to portray himself as the ultimate Christian Conservative man. And while some like to believe his statement, others have torn him apart during the election season because of his mistakes. Identity has become a huge topic but even more so with media and the focus on the election. Conversations are completely revolved around "what party are you supporting?" "what policy changes do you want to see in the next four years?" "which candidate do you think is the least bad?" All of this however, has everything to do with identity and what others want to categorize you as in their mind. On an even larger scale, people across the nation have done the same to Donald Trump based off of statements he has made while being in the spotlight. He was not raised to be in the spotlight when it comes to politics. But because he has chosen to do so, his religious identity has both strengthened and weakened in some aspects. For example, lets take a look at this meme a little bit closer:

It reads: "I don't read the bible very often...but when I do, I read two Corinthians." During one of his speeches, he completely mistakes saying "two Corinthians" when the correct term should be "Second Corinthians." Many Americans looked at this mistake and took it as he was not a truly religious man when he portrayed himself as such. While this could have been an honest mistake, the masses have blown this statement and twisted it to say he has no religious background and is not the family man that he says he is. I have found it interesting throughout this campaign to see how words and actions combined with media can completely change America's perspective on the candidates. In future posts, I will explore further into some more of the negative and some of the positive portrayals of Trump and his Christian beliefs.

What am I writing about?

As the election season is in full circle, I am interested in how Christianity and its portrayal in media affects the political campaigns of specifically Donald Trump but also Hillary Clinton. And going even deeper, I would like to explore the reverse effects of politics on religion. While I have not studied Internet memes and instagram accounts purely for this reason, both are great outlets to examine how media and religion can greatly change people’s opinions on the presidential candidates running for office. Some of the memes I have compiled have modern twists on religion that relates directly to the candidates. In addition, I have also found some memes that give some historical background on Christianity and how political issues would have been viewed during the earlier elections. It is clear that media has influenced each campaign whether positively or negatively. However, I will take a closer look into how memes and the internet has changed the outcome of the 2016 election and even past elections. My focus for this upcoming assignment will be Trump Memes as a portrayal of both positive and negative lights of Christianity and how both have influenced his political campaign.

Here are two memes that I have found to argue my focus: