Since the pepper spraying of UC Davis students on November 18, 2011, thousands of images of Officer Pike, canister in hand, have circulated the internet. Some of these images capture the actual incident, depicting the campus police officer systematically spraying mace into the faces of seated students, their arms linked and heads bowed. Other images, however, reconstruct the scene in new, highly-recognizable, contexts. The hundreds, if not thousands, of pepper-spraying cop “memes” (an “idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture” – Miriam-Webster) launched UC Davis to national headlines, underscoring the power of internet, graphic design, and communication technology to affect social consciousness. We’ve put together a collection of some of these memes on Pinterest.
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