Mute Meme 3

Venus. Mute meme by Stefan Stenudd.

Final Images Thought Bubbled by Stefan Stenudd

What they just might be thinking...

Here is the third and last 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

       The second batch of mute meme is here:

Mute Meme 2

Robin Williams mute meme.

The concept of the crying clown is an old one. Those who are the most funny are often also the most sad ones inside. Their jokes are incantations against their own despair, therapy if you like. But from that therapy we all benefit. Robin Williams struggled with his depression all his life, and that inner turmoil made his comedy vibrant. Maybe it kept him alive until he just didn't enjoy his own jokes anymore. He got eight likes from my Facebook friends. He was worth more.

Harpo Marx mute meme.

I enjoyed this mute meme more than my Facebook friends did. It got just two likes. The Marx brothers made some absolutely hilarious films. Harpo Marx was the silent one, of course, but with his pantomime and trickery he could joke just as much as the others. The photo has got it right: With his appearance of angelic innocence and anarchistic shenanigans, he stood out from his brothers and became the center of their act. And with this mute character, a mute meme makes perfect sense.

Shiva mute meme.

Shiva is the lord of dance, but also the god of utter destruction. When Shiva wants the world to be destroyed, he does so by dancing. In this image, Shiva reminds me of the 1980's pop star Grace Jones, who had an appearance that was both strangely attractive and intimidating. Her biggest hit was the song with the title of Shiva's thought. It's not the worst choice of song by which to accompany Armageddon. This mute meme got nine likes from my Facebook friends.

Soldier mute meme.

On my Facebook posting of this image, the face recognition feature suggests with little rectangles on every soldier's face that I should tag them with their names. Quite a lot of little rectangles. But the very archetype of the soldier is anonymity - both to make them march as one into battle and to make them allow themselves to commit the dreadful acts of war without feelings of guilt. Equipped and dressed like the others, looking very much like the others, this one soldier glances at them thoughtfully. He must be thinking the very opposite of what I wrote in the thought bubble. And that's just the point. This mute meme got only six likes, but on the other hand - what's to like about it?

Apes mute meme.

This mute meme got just two likes. Maybe the pun is not clear. I mean that the middle ape wonders what the other two apes are up to, but it could be interpreted as the ape wondering about something else. What mankind is doing, for example. That is indeed cause for greater concern than whatever actions the apes on either side are involved in. But I had fun with the simple fact that the middle ape is even blind to what the other apes refuse to perceive. This commonly used image about refusing to speak, see and hear anything unpleasant is a strong one, with so many implications. When we refuse to take in what we don't want to be aware of, we also become blind to the fact that we willingly make ourselves blind to it. Many miseries are born and nourished that way.

Greta Garbo mute meme.

The aging beauty of Greta Garbo got no more than four likes, but also some comments about how time is fleeting and beauty fading. I wonder if she would have gotten more likes with a photo from her days of Hollywood movie splendor. Probably. We are hopelessly addicted to beauty, which is really not a bad thing. Without our sense of beauty, how would we appreciate the wonderful world we have before us? But I do think that Garbo is at least as beautiful here as she was in her youth. And here, her face speaks volumes. That's how time pays for gradually robbing us of it. A generous payment, indeed, if we think about it.

Umbrellas mute meme.

This image is symbolic in several ways. Mainly, it hints at the sad fact that when we hide from something threatening us, it is also hidden from us when the threat is gone. Maybe there are lots of threats that unbeknownst to us have ceased, as we cover ourselves in layer upon layer of paranoia. And we do tend to invent threats to panic about, whatever grounds we have for them. Society is hysterical, and the Internet often proves to increase this. Eleven of my Facebook friends liked this mute meme.

Sheep mute meme.

I came across this image and just had to use it in one of my mute memes. Imagine that sheep can look so dangerous. They have reason to long for what I have one of them think. We do tend to exploit the defenseless, even within our own species. This image got eight likes from my Facebook friends, and one of them posted a link to the movie Black Sheep with exactly the same theme as this mute meme.

Mother Teresa mute meme.

The halo above Mother Teresa's head has been rocking lately, as her compassion and altruism have been put into question. I don't know the truth, but this is one of many photos where she does give a disturbing impression. Thus, the reads my lips quote, which is of course made famous by Eddie Murphy in the Beverly Hills Cop movie. In this mute meme, though, it's the grim expression of those lips that should be read. It is no proof of viciousness, but it certainly isn't jolly either. Six of my Facebook friends liked it.

Zombie mute meme.

This can be described as a meta mute meme, i.e. a mute meme about mute memes. A zombie feeding on brains will get hungry from thinking, whether it is his own or someone else's. To a zombie, what are thoughts but the scent of food? Five of my Facebook friends liked this, which should not at all be regarded as stating anything about their culinary preferences.

Mermaid mute meme.

This charming scuplture by Edvard Eriksen is Lille Havfrue, Little Mermaid, in Copenhagen. She sits on that rock, all alone, gazing longingly at the sea. Although she is mere inches from it, the sea is out of reach for the simple fact that she is made out of bronze. Aren't we all often in a similar situation, with what we dream of just outside our reach. Yet so near that it keeps haunting us. Twelve of my Facebook friends expressed their sympathy by liking this mute meme.

Dollar mute meme.

The mighty dollar has conquered the world, which was probably not in George Washington's wildest dreams. Money talks, but he might very well have thought, if he were to witness it, that he would not disagree with all that it says. This most prominent of the men making the nation has his portrait on the bill with the lowest value - but that also makes it the most used one. An honor in quantity rather than quality. That, too, is something of which he might not have been very proud. Ten of my Facebook friends liked this mute meme.

Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix mute meme.

Here are two of the many rock artists who died at 27 years of age. Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix certainly burned their candles at both ends. That seems to be a thing with rock'n'roll, the art of the adolescent. It is hardly in the pursuit of happiness, but maybe in the pursuit of its pain. Strong feelings of whatever kind hurt, and seeking them is not a safe path. But who can blame anyone for still doing it? This mute meme only got six likes from my Facebook friends, so I guess the two rock gods are fading - for the time being.

Anne Frank mute meme.

Anne Frank's diary has been close to miraculous in creating a lasting awareness of the horror of the Holocaust, by letting us know and grieve one of its many victims. Still, it is a diary, a very personal thing, which has become a public document. Maybe Anne Frank is thereby again sort of victimized, although for an extremely important cause. Just a thought. This mute meme got just three likes from my Facebook friends, and one of them commented: "Yes, we should." She is probably right.

Venus mute meme.

Botticelli's rendition of the birth of Venus from 1486 is a familiar image in the world of art. She is very much a passive object in his painting, a thing of beauty to be admired by others, but with no sign of a will of her own. That's not exactly the Venus of the old myths, who was not at all hesitant to pursue for herself the love of which she was the divine ruler. That makes sense. If you are the goddess of love, you most certainly want to experience it yourself, even if it leads to adultery with the god of war. Strangely, this mute meme got no like at all from my Facebook friends. Do they deny her that right?

Thinker mute meme.

This had to be the last one in the series, of course. The mutest meme of them all, where nothing is said. The thinker's head is empty, due to the simple fact that he is a sculpture with a brain of stone. His empty mind got eight Facebook likes and one share. The one comment refered to the Japanese term mu, emptiness or nothingness, used in meditation. That was on my mind as well. There is a lot to nothing.

Art by Stefan Stenudd.


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Ever Young. Novel by Stefan Stenudd. Sunday Brunch with the World Maker. Novel by Stefan Stenudd. All's End. Science fiction novel by Stefan Stenudd.
Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Quotes - The Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Cosmos of the Ancients. Book by Stefan Stenudd.
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I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, an historian of ideas and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.