Mute Meme 2

Edward Snowden mute meme.

More Images Thought Bubbled by Stefan Stenudd

What they just might be thinking...

Here is another batch of what I call "mute meme", playing on the Internet "meme" thing - pictures with words added to them, with the aspiration of adding some meaning as well.

       If you haven't seen them already, the first batch of mute meme is here (as is an introduction to this exhibition):

Mute Meme 1

Shakespeare mute meme.

No cultural commentary would be complete without some reference to Shakespeare. His words are as well-spread as those of the Bible - and often believed to be from the latter. His creative imagination was tremendous, so one has to wonder about its source. I believe it may be what this thought bubble implies. He explored his dreams. We all dream all the time, but we don't always notice it. Old Shakespeare just got three likes. Where are the dreamers?

Darwin mute meme.

Considering the absurdities of creationism and such, it is no surprise that Darwin and his discovery remain the talk of the town. This image got 27 likes, one share and several comments from my Facebook friends. I was not only thinking about religious fanatics when putting those words in the head of Darwin. The pure chance of evolution is difficult to accept completely. Even biologists tend to say that this and that evolution happened "because" it benefited survival in some way. But there is no because. It just happens. A result without a plan.

Henry VIII mute meme.

I was quite pleased with this joke. Henry VIII was deadly dangerous to his wives, and still I bet he blamed it all on them. He has been far from alone with that attitude among his gender. Well, the opposite certainly also happens far too frequently, though not so often with the same dreadful consequences. Through history, women have rarely had the same power to act according to their prejudice. Seven of my Facebook friends liked this mute meme, but no one commented. It was probably superfluous.

Martin Luther King mute meme.

I bet Martin Luther King would have been amazed to see the USA elect a black president, but he would not have been a bit surprised that racial tension and injustice still continue. Prejudice has a most unfortunate way of reappearing, much like the cut off heads of the mythological hydra. Any kind of prejudice. What humankind learns is far too easily forgotten. Benevolence and tolerance always need to be defended or they tend to fade away. This mute meme only got four likes, though. Maybe an unlike button would have gotten a better result?

Harry Potter mute meme.

This is one of my favorites, but it only got three likes from my Facebook friends. And I thought I was so clever! The Harry Potter saga is indeed very close to that of Cinderella. The bullied orphan whose dreams come true. To me, the books about Harry are really about a boy suffering a terrible treatment in his home, who comforts himself by creating a dream world of magic and adventure, where he is adored like a prince. But it seems J.K. Rowling was carried away by the success and forgot what the story was really about. She, too, got lost in Harry's dream world.

Salvador Dali mute meme.

Among my Facebook friends, Salvador Dali is surprisingly popular. He got eleven likes. There was no comment, but what to say about Dali's thought? I think of it in two ways. "So what?" is just what Dali might have responded to people upset by his bizarre appearance and art. It is also what can be stated by an observer. Absurdities must have a meaning, or they are just spectacles. I remember, when seeing an exhibition of Dali's paintings, how surprised I was that almost all of them are quite small.

Dolphin mute meme.

We all love dolphins. This one got 14 likes from my Facebook friends. In a comment, one of them connected the image to the dolphins in Douglas Adams' science fiction: "So long, and thanks for all the fish!" That could very well happen. Dolphins are clever creatures with brains bigger than ours. We think they are happy to play with us, but what if they really play us, somehow? Would we see through it? Something similar is the case with many animals. We tend to think that we use them, forgetting that they also use us. And we can never trust completely that we have tamed any of them. Remember the tiger on the mute meme above.

Napoleon mute meme.

It is true for every conqueror. The more they grab, the less they are able to hold on to it. Napoleon was no exception. So, what I make him think is what he should have asked himself. Or, to be more precise: Nothing lasts, nothing remains, so why start a war about it to begin with? This inability to keep what you get is universal. We are often told that you can get what you want if you just want it enough. For a while, yes. Is it worth that while? Napoleon lost it all, but at least he made it to posterity. Eighteen of my Facebook friends liked his mute meme.

Santa Claus mute meme.

Moving from grabbing to giving. Santa must be tired of the greed he serves. It is fortunate for him that he does not exist. So, Christmas presents are indeed a system of mutual giving and getting. That's the charm of it. Probably the 15 Facebook friends who liked and the one who shared this mute meme agree. And all the stores of the world rejoice.

Yoda mute meme.

I am sure Yoda would agree that the Star Wars space saga trilogy did not benefit from the prequel added to it. George Lucas had grown up and so had the story he told. The fairytale turned from magic to politics. It happens, much like with aging rock stars repeating the songs they no longer feel related to. In art, although it is the great pretense, you cannot fake who you are. Yoda got 15 likes from my Facebook friends, but I am not sure if it was because of him or what I made him think.

Nijinsky mute meme.

This mute meme only got two likes from my Facebook friends, and no comment. Maybe the legendary ballet dancer Nijinsky is not that legendary anymore. He should be, the crazy man who boldly threw himself in the direction his art pointed him. He went so far that the question I made him ask himself is relevant - even unavoidable. This is one of my favorite mute memes, because it is the question that torments every true artist constantly. It may be the very core of creativity.

Statue of Liberty mute meme.

The Swedish comedian Tage Danielsson wrote these lines in a song about the sad state of the world (in my translation from Swedish): "The goddess of freedom stands guard in the New York harbor. If you have a dollar there is room for you in her bosom. She who had peace and freedom as her proud goal - what a pity that her head was a hole!" Much has passed before the eyes of the Statue of Liberty, some things wondrous and others awful. She would have numerous grievances, if she were able to speak. But not only is her head empty. Her mouth is forever sealed. Nine of my Facebook friends liked this mute meme, but none of them said any more about it than the statue.

Bosie mute meme.

The relationship between Oscard Wilde and Bosie (Lord Alfred Douglas) was indeed complicated, to say the least. It ended in tragedy, but for Bosie it did not end there. He continued to be tormented by the relationship, long after Wilde's death - well, all they way until his own demise. Sometimes he condemned both Oscar Wilde and their love, sometimes he tried to make peace with it. And isn't that amgiuity of his obvious also in the photo? The mute meme got 14 likes from my Facebook friends.

Uncle Scrooge mute meme.

I don't think that many of my Facebook friends got this joke. Only four of them liked it. One confessed in a comment to not getting it, to which I replied: "Burn :D" The Simpsons character may be a copy of Uncle Scrooge, but he in turn is already by his name connected to Ebenezer of Charles Dickens' famous Christmas Carol. The image is one of the oil paintings made by Carl Barks, the genius artist of the Donald Duck comic strip for many years. He invented the character. In retirement, he made oil paintings of the ducks to add some bucks to his modest pension.

Queen Elizabeth mute meme.

This mute meme got eleven Facebook likes, but it also triggered a discussion about monarchy as such vs. republic. What more can an artist hope for? I don't remember what kind of image I was searching for, but when I found this one the search was over. The boy is so uncomfortable and the queen doesn't seem to be overly at ease either. The games we play...

Bruce Lee mute meme.

Bruce Lee trained himself to formidable excellence with his fists as well as the rest of his body. So, what to do with those skills? He made movies, which is not a bad idea. I'm not sure, though, that this choice of pursuit was the best for his further development in the martial arts. Anyway, he was impressive in those movies. With this mute meme he got as many as 21 Facebook likes.

Edward Snowden mute meme.

The question that I put in the mind of Edward Snowden, I had already asked in a tweet or something. I think it is the only relevant one. The government simply seeks to hide its crimes by persecuting him - as well as other whistleblowers. Democracy depends on the people being aware of how they are governed, so they can vote knowingly. And of course, a government must be lawful. When it is not, and it hides this, what is left of democracy? Snowden got 43 Facebook likes (only my Buddha mute meme got more) and as many as seven shares. He should.

Dostoyevsky mute meme.

This mute meme attached to one of the greatest writers in history was actually inspired by a Peanuts comic strip, where Linus says: "I love mankind. It's people I can't stand." Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, might not have been a Dostoyevsky, but often brilliant in his very own way. As for Dostoyevsky, he had such insights into the depths of the human mind, I bet the gods (if there are any) would beg him to explain. Well, they just have to read his books. I don't know if he would agree on this meme, but I'd like to think he would at least be amused by it. Six of my Facebook friends were.

Casablanca movie mute meme.

This mute meme got no likes at all. I kind of like it, though. Some actors are so spectacular, they accidentally make the stories fail what Aristotle demanded of any drama: It has to be plausible. How could anyone decide to leave Humphrey Bogart for someone else? Ingrid Bergman surely would agree with me on what I make her think. It is much more plausible that men would struggle desperately to catch someone like her, so at least half of the premise of the Casablanca movie holds up. And then there's that wonderful song... So, I don't undertand why this got no likes. Is the movie forgotten? Time goes by.

Sphinx mute meme.

When I did this mute meme, I was thinking about how fanatics of one or other conviction destroy ancient art because they object to the old beliefs or ideas it represents. That is history revision at its worst. The sphinx is a mighty thing, seemingly challenging such fanatics. Let's hope they never try. My Facebook friends might not worry much about it, since this mute meme only got one like and no comment. But that brutal intolerance is expressed in so many ways, in book-burnings or banning works of art from public display, and so on. There are too many people who insist that only their thoughts should be allowed.

Final Mute Meme

Here is the final batch of mute memes. Can you guess what the very last mute meme is? The mutest of them all. Click the header to go there.

Art by Stefan Stenudd.


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