Project #1 (Third Submission)

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    Michael Bentkowski

    Making memes great again is the slogan that a particular meme creator uses. This rhetor goes by the name, The Duke of Memes. Memes are ideas that spread from one individual to the next within a specific culture, displaying a particular meaning or phenomenon. Today we’re going to discuss a meme which is a cross between a 9/11 conspiracy theory and salt bae. However, before delving into the meaning, we must first analyze the rhetor and their credibility.

    The rhetor The Duke of Memes is a facebook meme page. They have a following of around 18 thousand people.

    To analyze their credibility would be to look at two factors, the ability to relate and their originality. Ability to connect is concerning how their audience reacts to their posts. If a meme doesn’t resonate with anyone than their credibility as a meme page falls, this is because memes are inherently ideas that foster a connection. The Duke has proved its credibility as their following continues to attract more members. The originality of this meme seems to build their credibility because there is a watermark indicating it’s their post and because other pages such as Daily Dank Nation post it with the same watermark.

    The intended audience this rhetor is addressing would be more of a younger crowd. That crowd would have had to know about 9/11, the conspiracy theory that President Bush in some way planned the attacks and the salt bae meme that went viral on Vine.

    The following statistics represent a small sample taken from a population of contemporary meme followers. Over 60% of the meme community is under the age of 24, while the gender distribution is 63% male and 37% female. Through reasonable deduction, we can say that less than 60% of the meme community are students and minors. These statistics are from Daily Dank Nation, a meme page that currently has 2,288 followers.

    The values that The Duke shared with us in this particular post is that there may be some credibility in the conspiracy theory that President Bush did 9/11. The posts strategy is to spread awareness and retention about the message through humor.

    In terms of literally identifying with the audience, The Duke of Memes watermark is on every meme to credit the creator. In a non-literal way, The Duke uses mostly humor to expand its following and spread cultural ideas.

    In this meme, the politics that The Duke is playing into is that the audience has an understanding of the U.S. government system and is somewhat acquainted with the news of 9/11. Stretching the relation to vine makes the target group more niche, but it enhances the symbolism.

    The audience is attracted to the rhetor’s character because of their meaningful content. If this content were to change to a page about finance out of the blue, there would be outrage and many followers would un-follow. This level of connection is shown in this original artifact because it requires a degree of thought that makes it so meaningful. It’s a triangular relationship between 9/11, bush and salt bae.

    There are two locations in this meme. Salt bae’s outdoor area, and an overlay of the world trade centers in New York City. These locations are the two points in which Bush is the connection. The peanut butter and jelly between the two slices of bread, if you will. The world trade center footage was taken on September 11th, 2001 while salt bae’s footage was filmed on January 7th, 2017. Even though either date is random, it is interesting to see an almost 16-year gap, merge into one cultural idea to refresh the value.

    There are an infinite amount of limitations that the audience may be under that the rhetor cannot possibly factor out. For instance, if there was an individual that didn’t know about what happened on 9/11 than they would be left in the dark not understanding the meaning of the post.

    Lastly, if someone didn’t know who George Bush was, well, then it would be an even more f*cked up meme than it already is. The rhetor negotiates these limitations by merely knowing that not everyone is going to understand it. However, the ones who do will have this sense of worth in that they understand it in its entirety, while also subconsciously knowing that there will be individuals who don’t get it at all. These limitations are hard to define into one specific issue, be it social, political, or economic; if it was something social than a restriction could be that the individual doesn’t follow The Duke. A political limitation would be that they don’t know about 9/11 or who George Bush is. An economic restriction could be that the person in question doesn’t have access to content by The Duke because they don’t have the income to buy technology which would grant them access.

    The actual meme circulates throughout all of the social media; whether it be from Instagram and Facebook to YouTube and Reddit. There will always be someone stealing this meme or enhancing it until it eventually becomes old and dies out.

    The message this meme conveys is that there is some merit in the conspiracy theory that President Bush was involved in the attacks on September 11th, 2001. Again, this message is humorous, in the hopes that it will be shared to spread the idea.

    When analyzing this artifact for hints of ethos, pathos, and logos, it becomes apparent that pathos and logos are the more significant players in conveying it’s meaning. It uses pathos because the entire message is using humor to relate to the audience. It used logos in that the series of events of President Bush dropping planes on the twin towers caused the tragedy of 9/11. Ethos is debatable in this situation, as all three points of the “triangle” are facts; there is no proof to support the meme’s claim.

    In the end, I believe the rhetor accomplished their purpose. It’s a simple and straightforward message. It also seems that The Duke Of Meme’s vast following appears to voice well, as follower retention has been consistent over the last six months.

    Memes are great.

    “TheDuke01 Memes DeDukeoplemes Bush Did 911 | 9/11 Meme on”,

    “The Duke of Memes.” Katie Couric – You Can Watch #GenderRevolution Right Here,…,

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