Friday, November 25, 2011

Pepper Spraying Cop Gets Around: National Notice Found Him Spraying Mayor Bloomberg’s Dogs Bonnie and Clyde at Zucotti Park

If you are at all exposed to the contagions that rage through the social media then you have already been exposed to the ubiquitous meme of the “casually pepper spraying cop.” The image plays off and derives from police Lt. John Pike pepper spraying a line of seated Occupy protesters at the University of California, Davis that was also captured in a video that went viral. The protesters and those witnessing the incident responded by chanting “Shame on you” and “Who do you protect?” (Video below).

One of my more frequent encounters with the CPSC was seeing on people’s Facebook pages an altered version of George Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” below. Another favorite is Christana of Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” getting a facefull.

Images are collecting at this Tumblr site: Pepper Spraying Cop.

The list goes on, Peanuts characters, Cindy Loo Who, Muppets, Gandhi, an appearance in Picasso’s Guernica, or flipping things, CPSC becomes part of the "Clockwork Orange" gang.

The phenomena has been covered by National Public radio’s “All Things Considered” ('Casually Pepper Spraying Cop' Meme Takes Off: Categories: Technology, National News, by Mark Memmott, November 21, 2011) and in an article of surprising thoughtfulness in the New York Times (Pepper Spray’s Fallout, From Crowd Control to Mocking Images, By Katherine Q. Seelye).

I thought it was time for National Notice to contribute images to the furiously compiling flurry of images. My immediate instinct was to build upon a Photoshop theme I have played with before although it makes for multi-step mental process to appreciate the product rather than what might be achieved by riffing off an immediately recognizable icon: Mayor Bloomberg’s dogs, bizarrely named after Bonnie and Clyde, two bank robbers who, via folklore and a movie directed by Arthur Penn, have become imbued with a certain Robin Hood reputation, robbing from those who have too much.

The dogs are not as quintessentially helpless, nonthreatening, or carefree as some of the images others have composited. Nor are they classic pacifists as in other compositions that involve Jesus and Gandhi. They don’t epitomize American liberty as do the iconic images pressed into service by others.

Originally I Photoshopped the dogs joining the Occupy Wall Street protesters because it seemed that if they were named after Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde the dogs, having more in common with the protesters, ought to be joining them. It also seemed especially absurd that, the way things were originally going to happen, the New York Times was going to run a `Mayor loves (or tolerates) his dogs story’ on the same morning he was going to evict the Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zucotti Park, although it didn’t finally happen that day.

Anyway, I figured that these days the mayor’s dogs, if they could, would still be hanging out with the Occupy Wall Street protesters and that means that the “casually pepper spraying cop” would naturally want to show up to spritz the placid animals.

For more about Bloomberg’s Bonnie and Clyde including pictures see:
• Saturday, October 22, 2011
Occupy Wall Street and the Banks- Messages From Bonnie & Clyde, “They’ve Got Too Much Money”: Ownership of the Public Forum by the Wealthy?

• Monday, October 24, 2011
On NPR, Echo of Coinciding Principles Noticed: What the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street Ought To Agree On

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