The Hijacking of Matt Furie’s Pepe the Frog Character by the Fringe Political Movement of the Alt Right

Matt-Furie-Pepe-the-FrogThe Pepe the Frog character and meme rose to ascension during the presidency of Donald Trump because of the 4Chan.org website which was created by Christopher Poole. Poole’s system leveraged Darwinian survival as the base for his new forum system in which posts with a lot of traction would float to the top, allowing even more people to become exposed to them, and posts which had little traction sinking to the bottom where they would inevitably die out. This method of selection and rejection is immensely conducive to creating memes as users, overwhelmingly adolescent males, would compete upon 4Chan to create the most bizarre and outrageous memes and replies possible. 4Chan exacerbates this behavior by allowing users to remain anonymous and therefore able to express opinions and/or ask questions or provide answers to material which they normally would not engage in conversation in, during their day to day life, for fear of retribution for deviating outside of typical social convention. Pepe the Frog became a meme circulated almost exclusively upon 4Chan as the other major social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.) did not observe spikes in content related to this meme due to the user base that uses these platforms being unaware of it as 4Chan is a relatively obscure online forum. Pepe the Frog eventually became adopted by those within society who did not feel marginalized, people who visited 4Chan in search of Pepe the Frog memes, rather than for communication with 4Chan members, which ascended Pepe the Frog into popular culture. Those who initially propelled Pepe the Frog into the counter culture of 4Chan felt overlooked and as a direct result, this marginalized group started to produce increasingly offensive content related to Pepe the Frog, with the hope that it would deter others from using the meme which was believed to be exclusively reserved as a 4Chan character, despite having been stolen from the original artist Matt Furie, who created the character in 2005 for his comic book publication Boys Club, a storyline about 4 friends, including Pepe the Frog, who spent time together. Pepe the Frog was depicted upon 4Chan as a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, crashing into the World Trade Towers, with tattoos of German Nazi and white supremacist symbols etc. (e.g. swastika, Celtic cross, 14/88 which refers to Adolf Hitler etc.). These derivative depictions and memes began to become widely circulated upon 4Chan and other websites found online, as Pepe the Frog displays both innocence in his depiction but also malevolence while engaging in horrific acts (e.g. abhorrently forcing a gas mask onto an unfair, stereotypical characterization of a Jewish person). It is Pepe the Frog’s smile while performing these actions which allowed his popularity grow online as virtually any despicable act could be depicted as a joke because of the juxtaposition between Pepe the Frog and the victim being attacked. This emboldened those making these offensive memes as the work started to become viewed as hyperbole and comical, which acted as a defense for creating new content as those engaged believed that their work could always be interpreted and defended as satire, therefore free of scrutiny from authorities or those who reject the Alt Right ideology (e.g. law enforcement investigating a hate crime etc.)

The Chinese Political Practice of Panda Diplomacy

panda-bearThe Chinese government have a practice referred to as “panda diplomacy” which is designed to provide other nations with pandas, which are impossible to ascertain outside of China. China offers the gift of a panda or pandas to nations which it wishes to have strong diplomatic or economic ties with and is considered a high honor amongst world leaders as not many have received this gift and gesture of good will. Ownership is not permanent as China only leases pandas, it does not relinquish them outright. As of 2019, 27 zoos in 22 countries or territories currently feature pandas on loan from China including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.K., and the U.S.. The concept of panda diplomacy is not a new one as evidence of the practice dates back to the Tang Dynasty, when Empress Wu Zetian sent a pair of pandas to Emperor Tenmu of Japan in 685 A.D.

The Accidental Liberation of the Soviet Union and the Tearing Down of the Berlin Wall

Günter-SchabowskiPrior to Mikael Gorbachev, every decade or two, resentment would foment within the Soviet Union and an uprising would commence with the Soviets clamping down, killing dissidents, and repressing ideology so as to continue to hold power. The reason this did not occur in 1989 is because change came not externally through dissidents, but rather internally, particularly from the center, through Gorbachev. The collapse of the Berlin Wall however, was actually a mistake, as Soviet Press Officer Günter Schabowski did not fully understand the content he was speaking in reference to during a press conference as he had been elsewhere smoking during the meeting which would have briefed him. Schabowski pulled out documents which he was not supposed to read, read them aloud, and read them incorrectly which turned Gorbachev from a reformer into a revolutionary over the course of a few short moments, with the Berlin Wall falling shortly after, liberating and uniting East Germany and West Germany with the ultimate fall of the Soviet Union occurring within short proximity afterward

Galileo Galilei’s Telescope Design Improvement upon the Dutch Spyglass Design

Galileo-Galilei-telescopeIt had been known since the first spectacles were produced in the middle of the 13th century, that glass was capable of bending light, a property which no other known material of the period could achieve. The Dutch spyglass worked upon this very principal, arranging lenses with careful attention to detail to create a compounding magnification effect. If light hits a plano-convex (pronounced “play-noh”) lens, which is flat upon one side and convex upon the other, the same formation used for those who suffer from hyperopia, rays of light streaming inward are bent toward eachother, eventually meeting and converging at a specific triangular point. Right before this focal point, Galilei improved the original Dutch design by placing his second lens, an ocular lens which is plano-concave, meaning flat upon one side and concave upon the other, the same formation used for those who suffer from myopia. This secondary lens pushes the bent rays of converging light back out again so that they can hit the eye and provide a clear image. The eye focuses this light upon the retina so that the observer can view the image produced by the spyglass. The magnification power of a telescope depends upon the ratio between the focal lengths of the lenses, with these distances marked as F1 for the distance between the front of the spyglass and the plano-concave lens, and F2 from the plano-concave lens toward the back of the spyglass. The largest difficulty impeding Galilei was the grinding down process of his convex lens, in an attempt to make it as shallow as possible to maximize the length of the F1 partition, as the longer the distance is, the greater the magnification will be. Within a few weeks of developing this new technology, Galilei’s first telescope had a clear magnification of 8x, far exceeding the power of the original Dutch spyglass. On August 21, 1609, Galilei climbed a Venice bell tower to meet up with Venetian nobles and senators so that he could display his new technology. This new bleeding edge feat of engineering permitted Venetians to spot sailing ships 2 hours earlier than if they had used the naked eye. 3 days after the event, Galilei gifted his telescope to the Duke of Venice and was afforded a guaranteed job for life in exchange, with this salary equating to double his original income. With his finances secured, Galilei went on to develop and produce even more powerful telescopes

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s Racist Remarks

Winston-Churchill-altWinston Churchill once said, “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion”. This is of course not true in the slightest, and was a marked example of prejudice and racism. Up to 3,000,000 (3 million) people starved to death while British officials begged Churchill to direct food supplies into India as Churchill bluntly refused. Churchill raged that it was the Indian populations own fault for “breeding like rabbits”. Churchill was known for being blunt, once stating that the “bubonic plague was merrily culling the population”

The First Industrial Revolution, Second Industrial Revolution, and Impending Third Industrial Revolution

Third-Industrial-RevolutionIndustrial revolutions require 3 key components to occur, 3 defining technologies which emerge and converge to create the catalyst needed to usher in a new era of human achievement and progress. The first component is new methods of communication technologies to make communication more efficient and to manage economic and social life (e.g. video conferencing), the second is new sources of energy to more efficiently power economic and social life as well as governance (e.g. renewable energy technologies), and the third is new modes of mobility and logistics to more efficiently move economic and social life as well as governance (e.g. on demand ride sharing). The First Industrial Revolution was caused by the discovery of a new source of energy; coal. Coal powered the new communications medium, the steam powered press, and a new logistics structure via the locomotive railway. When these 3 technologies converged, much of the world (e.g. the whole of Europe) changed seemingly overnight. As a direct consequence of the First Industrial Revolution, business models moved toward market capitalism and major city hubs began developing ushering in the modern world format. The Second Industrial Revolution occurred in the U.S. during the late 19th and early 20th century with the advent of the telephone in the late 19th century, and the advent of radio and television in the early and mid 20th century. At approximately the same time that the telephone and telecommunications networks were being developed, the U.S found a new source of energy which was oil in Texas, United States of America. Henry Ford compounded this discovery by producing a cost effective combustion engine, powered by oil which provided new logistics and mobility technology. The Second Industrial Revolution however is now fading away due to the impact it has had upon the Earth’s climate and humanity is now upon the precipice of a Third Industrial Revolution. The internet has become the new communication medium, millions of people are now adopting renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, geothermal etc.) and it is predicted that when autonomous vehicles connect to smart roads, the last piece of this puzzle will be complete, thrusting humanity into its 3rd epic epoch

The Mythology of Japan Having a Closed Society Throughout History

Deshima-Island-Japan

It is a myth that Japan was completely cut off from the rest of the world throughout history, developing in a vacuum, as the official policy of the state was to close its doors, but the unofficial policy of the people was to remain open to the influence and ideas of other civilizations. The shoguns made a single exception to this rule pertaining to outsiders which was the advent of Deshima Island, a trading port that was the only place in Japan which Europeans were allowed to live and trade. Only Dutch traders were permitted access to this site due to the fact that the Dutch understood how to curry favor with influential members of Japanese society by showing tribute and swearing allegiance to the shogun, therefore becoming part of Japan’s internal feudal system. The narrow bridge between Deshima Island, Japan and Nagasaki, Japan upon the mainland was the only connection Japan had with the outside world for centuries

The Ancient Mesopotamian Law Code of Hammurabi

Code-of-Hammurabi

Dating from 1770 B.C., the most complete of ancient Mesopotamian legal texts is the Code of Hammurabi, a compendium of 282 laws which dictated the rules of commercial interactions and set fines and punishments for those found in violation of these laws. Inscribed upon a phallic piece of black obsidian, Hammurabi’s Code is depicted as receiving these laws from Shamash, the god of the sun, justice, and order, with the primary role of protecting the weak from the strong. It is written and recognized within the Hammurabi Code the first appearance of the biblical punishment of an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. Considered by many scientists to be one of the foundational stones of world civilization, the Hammurabi Code is a mixed blessing for women, both protecting women and lowering their social rank as second class citizens. Upon the positive end, the Hammurabi Code recognized women’s basic right to own property, fundamental in its importance as it provided women legal protection in regard to the control of their dowries and inheritance. The Hammurabi Code also forbade arbitrary poor treatment and/or neglect, which meant wives who were ill or barren couldn’t be simply discarded. In divorce, women were permitted to keep their dowries, and in widowhood, women were permitted the opportunity to utilize their husbands estates as their own for the duration of their lives. The Hammurabi Code essentially recognizes Mesopotamian women as distinct persons in a legal sense, rather than property which is how most of the ancient world recognized women. Upon the negative side however, women’s economic and sexual freedoms became severely restricted, forbidden from performing any commercial activity outside of their home and supporting and legalizing the concept of the patriarchy by providing men immense autonomy over the bodies of women, meaning husbands and fathers now owned the sexual reproduction of their wives and daughters which lead to women being executed for adultery, virginity becoming a condition of marriage, and rape not viewed as a violent sexual offense against the female victim, but rather an economic offense against her father as it would cause the father to suffer a severe loss in respect to a daughters bride price as the daughter would be considered a damaged commodity. It’s unclear how these legal mandates and statutes worked at the local level as they are ideals of Mesopotamian culture, but the driving force of these laws and how they are setup and constituted is abundantly clear, allowing male authority and patriarchal notions of male honor, to become sacrosanct

The Advent of the Worlds First Parliament in Iceland

Iceland-Alþingi

When the Vikings settled Iceland, no monarch was installed, which forced these settlers to find a new system of government; democracy. The early decades of settlement were effectively without structured law, but after 2 generations, 36 leading farmer Vikings banded together to develop the concept of an assembly to govern Iceland referred to as the “Alþingi” (written “Althingi” in English) (pronounced “all-thing-ee”) in 930 A.D.. The council met once every year for 2 weeks to create laws, preside over and judge disputes, and appoint a legal speaker, whose responsibility it was to remember and recite the law. The Althingi convened at Þingvellir (written “Thingvellir” in English) (pronounced “thing-vet-lear”) which is a unique location as it is a gorge where 2 of the Earth’s tectonic plates meet and 45 kilometers east of what later became the capital city of Reykjavík, Iceland (pronounced “rake-yah-veek”). The term “Althingi” means “thing field” or “assembly field” in the Icelandic language. This form of government met for the next 800 years at this exact spot, even after merging with Norway in 1262, with the location eventually moved to Reykjavík in 1800. The Althingi is the oldest parliament in the world, which is astonishing as it is still functioning and currently running the country of Iceland as a whole

The 18th Century Gin Craze and it’s Association with Murder

19th-century-London-England-Gin-Craze

Gin was highly consumed in poorer areas of London, England as it was a cheaper alternative to beer. Gin was unregulated during the early 18th century, and was often badly distilled and filled with harmful compounds like oil of vitriol which is similar in construct to modern day turpintine, sulfuric acid, and methylated spirits. By 1750, gin consumption was at its peak, with the city of London consuming 11,000,000 (11 million) gallons per year. In the poorest areas of London, specifically upon the east end, it was not uncommon for everyone in public to be permanently drunk; an analogue to the modern day crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980’s. All members of society consumed gin including men, women, and children, with many cases exhibiting severe addictive traits as was the case with Judith Darfour, who took her child into a heath, murdered them to sell their petticoat clothing and acquire more gin, then attended work later that day as if nothing had occurred. Gin related crime soared and Mothers Ruin which refers to “women who killed their family members to acquire funds for gin” was responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, women, and children. When the death rate climbed higher than the birth rate, the British government was forced to intervene, outlawing small gin distilleries and ending the era referred to as the “Gin Craze”