Meme of the week: Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop

UC Davis Police officer Lieutenant John Pike is sure getting around the internet this week – photoshop justice is harsh. (Know Your Meme)

The Earth spins in space; approaching it is a policeman in riot gear spraying pepper spray; between him and the Earth stands the 10th Doctor with had upraised protectively


Xeni Jardin in the Guardian:

One way the internet deals with that kind of upsetting dissonance is to mock it. And that’s what the internet has done with Pike. The “casually pepper-spraying cop” is now a meme, a kind of folk art or shared visual joke that is open to sharing and reinterpretation by anyone. This particular meme has spread with unusual velocity – in part, I imagine, because the subject matter is just as weird as it is upsetting.

Even Kamran Loghman, one of the men who developed pepper spray as a weapon with the FBI in the 1980s, had a hard time reconciling it. “I have never seen such an inappropriate and improper use of chemical agents,” Loghman told the New York Times. And Loghman might add “insouciant” to that list of adjectives. I mean, look at the guy. He’s not braced for imminent attack by a foe; he does not move with tension as if navigating a hostile environment. He’s administering punishment, and his face says: “Meh.”

An investigation, to be led by former NY and LA police chief Bill Bratton, into whether there was police misconduct may take a while to reach a conclusion, but Photoshop justice has been delivered to Pike. And the expressions keep multiplying.

Of course: Hitler Reacts to Pepper Spray Meme

Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, violence

Tags: ,

14 replies

  1. Just saw that. *I FAIL the internet today* Sorry.

  2. Don’t be sorry, you gave me a little giggle. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who gets a bit foggy in the afternoon 🙂

  3. This one sickens me…

  4. @Mindy: Which is of course why I only just noticed that I bollixed the image sizing originally – and the video embedding – fixed now!

  5. My link isn’t coming through…

  6. Fixed it, Bri!
    Yes, that’s one of the disturbingly fascinating things about memes – the hateful contributions alongside the righteously clueful social justice contributions – it’s a good way to see how far we’ve yet to go.

  7. So freakin’ hilarious – puts a salve on the hate, just for a while…

  8. There’s a whole blog dedicated to our ‘friend’, the casually-pepper spraying cop. It’s quite amusing.

  9. I really enjoyed this t-shirt design which replaces the pepper spray with a swarm of butterflies.

  10. I haven’t seen the Abu Graib Jesus pose with pepper spray Pike, or Pike pepper spraying over the world trade centre with” Jealous of our freedoms” written on it. Crying 9/11 firefighter could use some Pike love, or maybe his comforting angel. Rodney King could be modernised. John Hancock, the pinko commo hippy? Pike him up good. Drop the quill, scumbag!
    What do I think of US democracy? I think it would be a good idea, and hope they try it.

  11. Product warning!

    I casually used this product to try to disperse a small band of non-violent campers who had locked their arms together. Although initially it seemed to be effective, it took two applications! The worst part is that the next day they multiplied exponentially! Now what?


  12. Thanks so much Li – Nephews and nieces Xmas presents, and one of son’s stocking presents, now DONE AND DUSTED as I sit here.

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