Robert L. Peters

23 November 2011

Lt. John Pike… welcome to the world of memes.

Davis, California

On November 18th, 2011, a group of students at the University of California Davis gathered on campus for an Occupy protest, during which they formed a human chain by linking their arms together. When they refused to comply with the police request to leave, UC Davis Police officer Lieutenant John Pike and another officer walked along administering orange pepper spray straight down on the line of unmoving students.

What Lt. John Pike did not take into account, is how rapidly memes are now born and spread on our interconnected planet… in the days following, hundreds of “photoshopped” images were shared online, many of them placing Lieutenant Pike into various historical events and milestones in civil rights, ranging from the signing of the U.S. constitution to Picasso’s famous anti-war painting Guernica. It will be interesting to see how far this meme travels from here…

View a video of the incident and reports on the meme’s mutation here. View a hilarious “meme’s meme” showing Hitler’s reaction to the viral rise of ‘Pepper Spray Cop’ here. And for others who are inclined to follow in Lt. Pike’s heavy-handed, now-infamous footsteps, “you’ve been warned.”

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