Photo via Ayleen Gaspar / Flickr (Fair Use) Pepe via Matt Furie | Remix by Jason Reed

#ImWithKer enlists Kermit in the fight against Pepe

Which frog are you with?

Feb 28, 2020, 10:57 pm*

Internet Culture

Miles Klee 

Miles Klee

We can argue about the finer points of the 2016 election until we’re green in the face, but one thing is for certain: No issue has been more important, or more divisive, than frogs.

One frog in particular has hogged the spotlight, though: Pepe. The 4chan-born meme amphibian’s name was shouted during Hillary Clinton’s watershed speech on the alt-right movement. He has repeatedly resurfaced in neo-Nazi guise, despite creator Matt Furie’s insistence that this is just a phase. Clinton’s campaign eventually had to issue a statement on Pepe, Donald Trump Jr. denied a relationship with him, and the Anti-Defamation League declared him a hate symbol.

But we all know Pepe isn’t the only meme frog out there. We also have Dat Boi, Foul Bachelor Frog, and the #TeaLizard himself, Kermit. The humble leader of the Muppets contains multitudes, but he always seems to be on the right side of history. And as he calmly sips his tea, he projects a certain confidence in our stupid world.  

Well, this time something is Kermit’s business: the future of the United States. Josh Marshall, editor and publisher of Talking Points Memo, has been tirelessly reporting on Trump and his Pepe army, and he’s sick of a one-sided fight. He’s enlisting Kermit. 

And almost as soon as Marshall declared his allegiance to Kermit over Pepe, a hashtag was born.

Activists quickly took up the cause.

https://twitter.com/AngelaWorkoff/status/782783403766738944

https://twitter.com/WizardOfStraya/status/782783703319613440

https://twitter.com/AlexandraAimee/status/782824187664621568

https://twitter.com/JezebelButler/status/782795538659934208

https://twitter.com/boomboomsandi/status/782787111225139200

Then, perhaps to support Marshall’s claim that Pepe “embodies sadism, cruelty, and the lust for domination as touchstone of public life that are the makings of autocracy,” the alt-right sought to quash the Feel-Good Kermit Rainbow Rebellion as it began to trend.

https://twitter.com/Luigi2600/status/782817767619571712

https://twitter.com/JaynePenelope/status/782897907569602560

https://twitter.com/michaelbeatty3/status/782906163692089344

https://twitter.com/Seanbeandood/status/782923276486008833

https://twitter.com/AlexBrks/status/782917046757650432

https://twitter.com/davisiain0/status/782909458024390660

https://twitter.com/CatchJupiter/status/782978222900203520

https://twitter.com/xmssweetnessx/status/782971584541822976

Marshall, for his part, saw it as mere desperation from people who know they are about to lose.

Incredible to think that just a month out from the vote that will put either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the White House, a seismic shift in the frog meme landscape could swing the decision either way. Will Pepe resort to draconian measures to keep his followers in line? And can Kermit be an effective surrogate in smacking down Pepe talking points?

Good luck explaining this election to your grandkids.

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*First Published: Oct 3, 2016, 2:49 pm