Thursday, November 10, 2016

Blog 5

This blog will focus on the idea of authenticity and how it is represented throughout the online culture as a means of shaping and challenging offline ideas and religiosity.

This first meme blatantly challenges the idea that Donald Trump is a Christian or practices what the other views to be an authentic version of Christianity, which in turn makes the claim implicitly that Trump is not a Christian. This meme takes a scene from Pulp Fiction, and is known for the ironic use of "Say [it] One More Time" as a threat, which shows that the thing the person is saying - in this case, that Donald Trump is a Christian - is wrong. Saying Donald Trump is not a Christian, again, challenges and makes the assertion that Trump's Christianity as demonstrated through his lived religion is not an authentic version of Christianity. In this way, the online has become the space in which to influence, challenge, and shape the offline evaluation of Donald Trump as a Christian.

This second meme, much like the first, uses the online context as a means of influencing and shaping the offline ideas. This time, the online context does this by juxtaposing two different quotes of Trump on two different pictures of him in order to demonstrate that Trump is "two-faced" and inauthentic. By aligning the one quote from Trump saying that questioning a person's faith is "disgraceful" and showing that he also questions another person's faith demonstrates that Trump, by his own definition, is "disgraceful". This kind of hypocrisy is used to demonstrate that Trump is inauthentic in-and-of himself, because inconsistencies tend towards inauthenticity. This indirectly challenges the idea that Trump is an authentic Christian by showing that he is not authentic himself, and therefore his practice of Christianity may be inauthentic as well.

Overall, these two memes tie in well with the other groupings of memes, because they all start with the presumption that Trump's version of Christianity - his lived religion - is an inauthentic and incorrect version of Christianity, and use the online context to better demonstrate and convey that idea. The online is used as a means of blurring the online and offline together so that the authenticity of Trump's lived religion can be better challenged and the idea can be better demonstrated online.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Blog 4

This week, we will be looking at how authority is relayed and plays a part in the online communication of ideas through memes.

This first meme uses authority fairly explicitly to convey it's message. In this meme, it derives it's authority from the religious text of Christianity, the Bible. It doesn't use a specific quote, or even claim to use a statement from the Bible, but rather attacks Christians who support trump for supporting a man who "can't name any[thing]" from their religious text. The meme also goes on to use one of the central structures of Christianity, the act of asking God for forgiveness, as an assertion of authority. By saying that Trump does the opposite of these specific practices and being in opposition to these authority sources, it implies that Trump is not a Christian, and therefore challenges Christians who support him. This meme is using the Logic of Continuity in order to establish and assert its claim: it is using the established authority derived from a simple understanding of the religious text and the regular practice of repentance to convey it's message. Overall, it invokes the authority of these structures in a digital space in order to show that Trump is not a Christian for not following these specific authority structures and challenges Christians who support trump when he, according to this meme, is not very Christian.

Unlike the first Trump meme, this second meme is more like most other memes I've seen so far in that it does not explicitly invoke an authority structure to convey it's message. It can be argued, however, that it implies an understanding of general Christian authority that the reader must draw on in order to understand the meme's authority source. This meme draws on the idea that to Christians, there is no such thing as a "good Christian". This comes from the authority of the theological idea that Christians are all sinners just like everyone else, and that the cliche "nobody is perfect" is true. The one that that makes this meme similar to the first is that this, too, is using the Logic of Continuity in order to extend this idea that everybody is equal based on the theological and textual authority that it is assuming its audience has an understanding of (since it implies the authority that it draws from rather than explicitly referencing it). In doing so, it challenges the belief that Trump is a model Christian who the Christian voters should vote for purely because he's a "good Christian" doesn't make sense according to Christians' own beliefs

Together, these memes have used the idea of authority, either explicitly or implicitly, to use the online as a continuation of the authority structures that have been established offline in order to maintain and establish the idea that Trump is not a Christians and it is hypocritical for Christians to support Trump for the reason of him being a Christian because his claims to Christianity don't fit with the Christian beliefs or authority structures.