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Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (10)

To fully exploit his global name recognition and the free visual branding that he achieved with the help of hundreds of volunteer photo collagists (including yours truly), I suggest that John Pike should consider a career in politics. He may be a liberal goat, but he became an overnight conservative hero. The right wing loved him for unleashing their ’60s-vintage fury at college students in general. […]

Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (7)

“Waddling like a cocksure duck,” as one commentator at the Dangerous Minds site put it, Pike with his blithe disregard for the multiple still and video cameras trained on him all but ensured that his actions, and his attitude in performing them, would go viral. What resulted was not only Pike’s transformation into a memetic icon but, much more importantly, an object lesson in the potency of citizen journalism as enabled by the internet. […]

Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (2)

Without the videos and still photographs of Lt. John Pike, the campus policeman at UC Davis who was documented on Friday, November 18, pepper-spraying peacefully seated Occupy-movement protesters, we’d have had none of the international uproar that ensued, nor the pandemic photocollage response to his act. So lens-derived imagery has played a crucial dual role here: first by providing undeniable evidence of an event, and then by enabling spiraling critical commentary on that event and its instigator, plus satire thereof. […]