CYBERBULLYING PUBLIC OFFICIALS is a response to the negligence and exploitation of the community by those elected to serve. This historic disregard is nothing new, but has been exacerbated by a global pandemic, rapidly rising unemployment rates and a collective uprising of the people sparked by the death of George Floyd.
DOESN'T THIS SEEM A BIT IMMATURE?
I admit, this appears to be a juvenile response to some pretty serious topics — police brutality, voter suppression, city budget reform — but I believe protest in the midst of a technology boom has evolved beyond the organization tactics that we've been taught (and romanticized and sanitized) in history class. In the age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok, we get in-real-time, on-the-ground coverage of events that is more accessible and diverse than our local papers and news stations. Public officials are held to an unprecedented level of scrutiny and ridicule — one misstep, and it's a tweet storm or viral meme that stains the reputation once unquestioned authority of public officials. The sheer volume, accessibility and public nature of this form of accountability creates an enormous amount of public pressure that cannot be ignored. Framed in this way, it's not so ridiculous to say that cyberbullying public officials has created social and political change.
The poster draws aesthetic inspiration from print propaganda art in the Soviet Union during WWII. Accompanying each poster is a recent event that justifies their ridicule and a collection of tweets that received a good deal of engagement, meaning: a lot of people 1. saw the tweet, and 2. agreed with it enough to "like" it or "retweet" it on their own timeline.
MINNEAPOLIS MAYOR JACOB FREY
Mayor Jacob Frey's response to police brutality and the murder of George Floyd (which happened in Minneapolis) was deemed inadequate by leading activists and the community at large. Things eventually came to a head when Mayor Frey attended a Black Lives Matter protest and told protestors that he did not intend on defunding Minneapolis PD — a main demand from activists. In what can only be described as a cartoonish turn of events, the crowd turned against him, and began chanting "Go home, Jacob!" as a band played him "off stage." The Minneapolis City Council later decided to defund MPD anyway.
NEW YORK CITY MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been criticized for years about the misconduct of the NYPD, especially when it comes to police brutality and the disproportionate targeting of Black New Yorkers. In a shallow and meaningless act of symbolism. de Blasio committed to painting "Black Lives Matter" on a street in every borough. New Yorkers were not convinced. They called for his compliance in their demands — which included defunding NYPD — or resign.
The text on the poster that says "RESIGN OR YOUR MOM'S A HOE" is a reference to a video that went viral on Vine, the once-thriving social media platform. From the video, a meme formed that sparked new original content usually in this format: "If you do X, your mom's a hoe," or "[DEMANDED ACTION] or your mom's a hoe"
On Twitter, it's a common joke among verified accounts (usually run by those in entertainment) to change their display name to that of a public official and tweet ridiculous things with the intention of making the public figure in question look, well, stupid.
LOS ANGELES CHIEF OF POLICE MICHEL MOORE
In a commission open to the public, residents of Los Angeles were voicing their outrage at the violence and use of tear gas and rubber bullets during Black Lives Matter protests by the LAPD. One resident's rant, which, is quite literally poetry, went viral when he dropped iconic lines as "I yield my time / Fuck you" resonated with millions beyond Los Angeles.
KENTUCKY U.S. SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL
Okay, this one is just straight-up mean, but I stand by it. Sen. Mitch McConnell has proven himself to be a white supremacist, obstructer of justice and corporation-funded political puppet for decades. Days before Kentucky's primary elections, thousands of polling locations were closed, disenfranchising thousands of people in the state and denying them their right to vote. This disproportionately targeted poor-to-middle-class citizens who are unable to travel to polling places or take time off to work, a good chunk of whom are Black and people of color.
I admit that this is 100% personal and mean-spirited. I hold a deep and insidious hatred toward Mitch McConnell, and if I could, I would tell him he looks like a soft bar of soap to his face. Fuck that guy.