Dank Memes for Chifley Screens
Elizabeth is a Canberra native studying a very rarely seen degree at the ANU – LLB/Arts. Her column seeks to incorporate hard truths (common in the legal world) and dank memes. Not wanting her memes to be dreams, Elizabeth hopes to be a pioneer in the art historical study of memes
When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the doors of the All Saints Church in Wittenberg in 1517, he became the herald of the Protestant Reformation, sparking a mass exodus from the decadent Catholic faith across Europe. You could say that Martin was a bit salty about the whole indulgence debacle.
Five hundred years later, lefties with bleeding hearts are feeling just as salty, and posting their theses to Facebook walls 24/7. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. This time, it is not Luther, but Salt Bae, sprinkling thousands of grains of salty memery, that is disseminated.
It is no coincidence that Salt Bae came to the forefront mere days before the inauguration of Donald Trump, or that he continues to soar in popularity as Trump’s ‘America First’ soars over the US-Mexico border, to confront the international community. Indeed, it is easy to see the rise of Salt Bae as part of the left’s attempt to undermine the glorious Trump empire. It is no coincidence that Leonardo Di Caprio, a celebrated greenie in cahoots with former President Obama, visited Salt Bae at his eatery.
Salt Bae’s name is eponymous with an essential ingredient for life – itself a derivative of the Latin salarium – the money paid to Roman soldiers in order to purchase salt. Salt Bae makes his tireless attempts to strip back the varnish we polish our lives with – writing ‘thus’ in an essay, or sprinkling wrong answers in a test so the marker doesn’t suspect cheating. This prompts us to ask, ‘where in this world can we find a man who is really worth his salt?’ It is clear that Bae does not think Trump is such a man.
Continuing the Roman theme, this meme yet again harks back to classical art. Salt Bae stands in a contrapposto pose – where the human figure is posed asymmetrically, so that the position of the shoulder and arm contrasts with that of the hips and legs – reaching up with his salt-clad fingers like Apollo reborn. His white t-shirt is reminiscent of the purity of Michelangelo’s David. This blend of the classical ideal and morality is an obvious effort by the left to imply that saltiness is morally good, and that Trump’s actions run directly against our modern ideals.
But where there is a Reformation, there is always a Counter-Reformation. The Catholic Counter-Reformation was marked by a strict, doctrinal style, emphasising the mysteries of the faith and seeking to encourage public re-engagement in the face of Protestantism’s recent spread. It is thus, in the aftermath of eight long years in an Obama-ridden leftbook, that Trump’s executive order memes lead us to a new golden age of US exceptionalism and commitment to traditional American values.
Trump’s memes can only be taken as a sign of the golden age that has now begun. When he shows off his Pokemon collection, he appeals to the everyman. Displaying his drawing skills, he makes a clever comment on ‘art for all’ – see the iconic twitter account @TrumpDraws for more – reminding us that no matter how unqualified, we can all be a Picasso or a President. Most optimistically, when he flaunts sweet shots of his summer vacay with Vlad he signals a time of prosperity and peace, perhaps recalling the end of the Cold War.
We should take the core message of Trump executive order memes to heart: American exceptionalism is alive and well, and it is more true now than ever that anything can happen. And the left? Well, it is no coincidence that the Socialist Alternative is better known as SAlt.