UC Davis, John Pike, and the Birth of a Meme

The UC Davis Facebook pages has been an unrelenting disaster for the school since police officer John Pike choose to swagger by a line of kneeling, unresisting, passive and non-aggressive students, and spray them point blank in the face and mouth with pepper spray. Which, by the way, is classified as tear gas in the California penal code, and its use unless in self defense is a felony criminal act.

I will say this for UC Davis administrators. It must have taken some real guts for whoever owns responsibility for the Facebook page to leave it up, given that it has filled with thousands of critical comments in the past few days.

Officer Pike is not having a good day this morning on the Facebook page. He has become the subject of the latest Internet meme, photoshopped images of him using pepper spray to blast everyone from the baby Jesus to the presidents on Mount Rushmore.

This is actually a powerful example, too, of the impact that art can have on how a moment in history is perceived, interpreted, and remembered. One need only look at the impact of poster art for the past hundred plus years, which was done just today in this excellent article: Occupy poster art joins lineage of resistance messages+.

I suspect Officer Pike is not enjoying the consequences of his actions at the moment. I only hope this serves as a wake up call to America that we are teetering on the verge of a police state, and I hope people are asking themselves whether this is where we want to go, or if this is what America is all about.

The following were collected from the UC Davis Facebook page this morning. They need to be archived as a part of this moment in history.

One note of interest. I am old enough I think I got most of the references. But I have to wonder whether teenagers and young twenties will recognize John Lennon and Yoko Ono. If not, that I could understand. Maybe they will recognize the meaning of “Four Dead in Ohio?”

And I fear many will look at a Norman Rockwell painting and have no idea what they are looking at, or its iconic place in an idealized America of the four freedoms family Thanksgiving dinners.

What saddens me is that they may not even recognize the signing of the Declaration of Independence, or that that is a monk burning himself to death in protest in Southeast Asia.

Naturally, the over the top and profane have their place.

And of course, all or encouraged to use the John Pike Green Screen and roll their own, as it were.

It also needs to be pointed out that Fred Phelps and his insane family of hate have not been attacked like this once by the authorities, despite their constant travels around the nation to disrupt the funerals of service men with their hate filled homophobic and right wing religious ass-hattery.

I want to find it in my heart to feel sorry for officer John Pike. I am struggling to do so. Maybe his will turn out to be an unintentional act of thoughtless violence that will result paradoxically in saving America from itself, as it threatens to wander down the wrong path from it history and promise.

This final image. For those who do not know your history, this was a pivotal turning point in the history of the War in Vietnam. An officer shooting a helpless prisoner in the head at point blank range. This image was shown on national television. I have money in my pocket that says none of the current mainstream media, who are totally owned and controlled in their message by the corporate oligarchy, would even show this image.

And the Faux Noise Nutwork would show it, but explain that the prisoner only got what he deserved because he had threatened the Vietnamese officers.


Author: Ron