A meme I can believe in.
Some two dozen submissions later from several great contributors, I believe that Texts from Drone has made its point. So while we are no longer accepting submissions on behalf of D-RON, we will be leaving the previous submissions up.
As I mentioned before, Texts from Drone was created in response to the sickening hagiography of Texts from Hillary:
The real outrage is that we celebrate powerful people even as they commit supreme crimes against humanity. No doubt that the “drone meme” was an unwelcome disruption in partisans’ worship of their idols.
While Texts from Drone never reached the same kind of viral status that the fawning Texts from Hillary did, in its own way it was a success. It is at once a critique of Obama administration’s brutal drone campaign and a Tumblr equivalent of a bucket of cold water thrown at googly-eyed idol-worshippers of murderous politicians.
Below are the reactions (from both supporters and detractors):
1. Liberal interventionist Ari Kohen (a political professor at University of Nebraska) might be just fine about blowing innocent civilians up in Libya, but he is very sad about us using images of victims of the brutality he supports in our critique of Empire.
2. The awesome antiwar and liberty activist Bonnie Kristian whose heartfelt post explains her decision to end her participation on the project.
3. Jeff Miller: “As I read them, the point isn’t to make you laugh; it’s to make you cry. There is nothing funny about these, and that’s because there is nothing that is intended to be funny about these. These aren’t jokes. These are calling you out for thinking they are.”
4. Bailey: “This meme isn’t “pictures of injured children”; only one of them (that I saw) uses that kind of image. You’re not supposed to laugh at these. Or, rather, you are supposed to laugh and be ashamed.”
5. Drones are Paranoid Androids by Maryam Gharavi (aka South/South).
6. Is “Texts from Drone” funny? from Andrew Sullivan, quoting Kohen.
7. The Daily Dot compares Texts from Drone to Jonathan Swift’s satire: “Texts from Drone is downright edgy. It features a bomb-carrying unmanned flying vehicle engaged in disturbing repartée with various partners. In one instance, a group of tween girls texts to say they’re visiting family in Yemen, and the drone responds: “LOL BOOM.” The Tumblr makes you laugh at times—but uncomfortably. Would it be going too far to say that that’s political satire worthy of Jonathan Swift?”
8. LA Liberty objects to the use of child images: “I’d like to add that I do not believe the “Texts from Drone” meme to be ineffective in toto. In fact, I find many of them to be clever, incisive, and properly biting. My objection was specifically to those that show victims in the aftermath, and in particular the one featuring a child. Perhaps it is my perspective as a father that simply sees that as a step too far.”
9. Shane thinks the gore is necessary: “Texts from Drone is there to uncover a hidden truth; that the Drones aren’t here to keep us safe, they’re here to kill people easily and quickly, anywhere, anytime. If you look at it from that point of view, you realize that the ugliness, gore and even cringe-worth images and commentary are not just the point of the site, they are necessary.”
10. Mehreen Kasana is offended at not just the use of images of children, but images of random Arab/Muslim men as well: “This is precisely how people are marginalized; It’s called ‘humor’ if people in Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan are killed by drones, and there’s a ‘funny’ blog made about it but don’t you dare make fun of an American tragedy. That’s terribly ‘insensitive’.”
Below is a sampling of reactions from Twitter:
The fact that the reaction has been mostly positive makes me believe that we did the right thing. That is, people understood the intent of Texts from Drone. This was not going to be the meme that “brought down the Empire,” but it is at least the meme that made people aware what the government is doing in our name.
TWO WORDS. GLENN. GREENWALD. (submitted by @kade_ellis)
WHO’S DA BOMB? I’M DA BOMB!