Thursday, November 10, 2016

Blog 5: Authenticity

Digital culture is used to challenge offline ideas of authentic religion. These memes do so by drawing attention to the irony between what is professed and the way religion ought to be played out, versus what is actually being done. It is through an online medium that the meme-makers are challenging offline contexts, like public policy and rhetoric surrounding policy issues.

For example, "Mike Pence calls Trump's ban on letting muslims enter the United States 'offensive and unconstitutional'". By reporting this quote, through an online medium meme-makers are discussing the hypocrisy between Pence's passion for religious freedom, and his pairing with Trump, who claims he does not wish to allow Muslims enter the U.S. This was an event said offline, but was then translated online, which makes for a bridged connection between the online and offline realities.
Meme from: {link}
Another example of the online context challenging what happens in the online is the below meme:
Meme from: {link}
By connecting "religious zealot" with a "train wreck," his identity as a Christian is being attacked. His unwavering belief toward his religion counted as a negative, because it communicates a dogmatic personality that does not bring new ideas to America, but rather takes it back in time to a less inclusive country. 

Both of these memes are criticizing authentic religion by pointing out the ways in which beliefs contradict. One aspect of Christianity is to "do unto others as those who do unto you," as seen in a previous meme, is dichotomous to "discrimination against LGBT," from a previous meme, because it does not foster an environment of love.

These contexts of these memes are bridging the online and offline contexts, because they are challenging offline culture through an online medium. It bridges the two by way of sarcasm, humor, and reporting. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Blog 4: Authority

There are three different types of logic which shape religious authority online. While the availability of the internet, it allowed anyone to say anything about any topic without censorship. This greatly undermined the role of authority in a traditional sense. In my study, the logic of disjuncture and displacement is most applicable because media is used to undermine religious authority and argue against traditional religious authority.
It cannot be the logic of continuity and complentarity, because that suggests that offline authority uses the internet to reassert their authority. It asserts that offline authority still holds the power to communicate religious ideologies and beliefs. My memes are not designed by religious authorities. In fact, they are the opposite. They are designed by people who either do not understand religion, or have a negative and incomplete view of it.
My memes also cannot be the logics of dialects and paradox, because that involves empowering religious authority. It suggests more of a competition between the two, however my memes are not so much in competition and communication with religious authority, as they are criticizing it.

These memes are undermining Mike Pence's authority, but not necessarily that of religious leaders. They are not criticizing the church, but this individual in particular. It could be argued, however, that he is under religious authority, and therefore his religion itself is silly.

The two following memes are examples of people disturbing the status quo.

"Oh you want religious freedom, did you try giving it first?"
This is a sarcastic comment made toward Mike Pence, which shows that his authority is silly and unfounded. It suggests he does not understand what he is fighting for, and is ironic in his way of going about protecting religious freedom.

"Excuses give by Gov Mike Pences for signing his religious freedom law... 5"
This greatly undermines his actions because of the claim that he is simply giving excuses, and his reasons for signing the law were invalid.

While these are not directly attacking religious authority in a traditional sense, they are putting themselves in a position of power to criticize and point out laws in reasoning.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Blog 3: Community

These memes appear to be blending the boundaries between the online and the offline. They are in response to specific offline events and culture, but are interpreting such events through online memes. They are not simply bridging the offline and online, because this is not mere reporting. In addition to reporting the events, these memes are communicating a certain negative view of religion, specifically the religion of Mike Pence. They are using online resources as a tool to interpret these events and show how a different, negative side of Pence's decision.
Here is one meme that shows a blending of the offline and online:
At first glance, one might argue that this as a bridge between the offline and the online. It's a very straightforward relay of information: Signed "religious freedom" bill, now wants to ban all muslims. First, it is interesting that the meme did not specify that the subject of this meme is Pence. Only with the proper background knowledge could a viewer know that this meme was referring to Mike Pence. Second, although the text is a straightforward relay of information, it is the character in the meme that raises the argument that this is indeed an interpretation of the event. This character, known as "Scumbag Steve," is the "face" of this meme. Perhaps there is no name associated with the meme because they are equating Pence with Scumbag Steve. In this meme, Pence IS a Scumbag Steve.
Meme from:
Another meme represents the blending of the two below:
This meme, also a blending, is an attack on Pence's religious freedom bill in alignment with his other actions. It does not even report on the event, rather the meme shows one reaction to Pence's decision: that his actions do not communicate that he fully understands what religious freedom means. To go further, based on his anti-LGBT stances and anti-Muslim stances, the creator of this meme also communicates what religious freedom ought to look like. If being anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim is an incorrect use of religious freedom, then possibly a more correct use of such freedom would be the absence of opposition to such causes.
Meme from:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Blog 2: Christianity

This case study will focus on an outsiders view of Christianity. Mike Pence claims to be an "evangelical Catholic," a sect of Christianity. The following memes communicate a certain negative viewpoint on the way in which Mike Pence's religious views affect others. Let's see what an outsider might declare about Christianity based on Mike Pence's political views:

"I demand religious freedom to force my religious beliefs on you!"
This meme communicates that a key belief of evangelical Christianity is sharing those beliefs with others, regardless of how forceful this made be done. The meme has a sarcastic tone, showing that one view of Christianity is that it is a dominating religion, wanting everyone in its way to follow exactly what it has to say.
Link from:

Signed the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" Allowing "Good Christians" to Discriminate Against Lesbians, Gays, Bi's and Transgender People
This meme is introducing a strict, rigid form of Christianity. It communicates that there are such things as "Good Christians" (thereby inferring also such thing as a "bad Christian"), which means that there has to be a certain law they follow which determines the standard in which someone can be defined by good or bad. It also reflects a negative and devise view of Christianity by saying the presence of religious freedom brings discrimination as well, going back to the first meme which viewed Christianity as a forceful religion.
 Link from:

"I abhor discrimination. I believe in the golden rule that you should 'do unto others as they would have them do unto you.'" Noted no on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The next meme quotes a part of scripture to then point out a discrepancy in his following actions. It has a negative view on religion because its followers do not always follow its ideals perfectly (an impossible task except for Jesus, I might add). The meme is communicating that if Mike Pence "practiced what he preached," he would have voted yes.

"See its not discrimination if you disguise it using religion as your basis."
The last meme presents another negative view on religion by saying Christianity makes excuses for their actions by claiming they are acting in the name of their religion. It suggests that Christians ought to be held to the same standard of acceptance as everyone else, and given Mike Pence's face, is clearly suggesting his stupidity.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Blog 1: Intro to Religion, Politics, and Memes

This case study will be discussing memes used to communicate about Governor Mike Pence and religion. Governor Pence is the running mate and selected Vice President for Donald Trump, the republican nominee  in the 2016 election. Pence is the Governor of Indiana and in 2015 signed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act. His action to introduce this bill, for many different reasons, because a source of criticism. His critics claim that he uses religious freedom as a way to discriminate against the LGBT community, and others find his stance on Muslim immigration hypocritical and anti-religious freedom. The memes below show some of the critiques of his religious beliefs and are used to call attention to or criticize his beliefs.
The memes below show some of the critiques of his religious beliefs and are used to call attention to or criticize his beliefs.
The purpose is to observe how people use memes to communicate different social ideas. In this case, memes are used to cast a negative light on a politician and point out some issues in his policies that they believe to be true. This research will study at least ten different memes in depth, finding commonalities and differences among them. A weekly blog will be used to track the findings of this research project and will be updated as more information is found regarding memes, Mike Pence, and religion. This research will also be coupled with scholarly sources that will help describe how memes are used in general and can be applied to this study in particular.