As many of our generation know, Pepe The Frog is a popular internet meme that has been popular among internet users since about 2008. Very recently, this innocent product of modern day culture has been deemed a symbol of hate and white supremacy by many people. It has even been added to the Anti-Defamation League’s hate symbol database. Today, I will be dissecting that argument and trying to see if and how that is true in any way, and hopefully in the process I will redeem our web-fingered friend’s reputation a bit in the process.
So basically, the conclusion is that Pepe The Frog is a symbol for hate. I’ve broken down the argument into a few premises that represent the opinion of those who consider this frog as a hate symbol.
Premise 1: Pepe the Frog is popular on sites such as 4chan
Premise 2: Some users of 4chan create racist and anti-Semitic versions of Pepe the Frog
Conclusion: Therefore Pepe The Frog, and all memes made with him, are symbols of those ideologies
Well, let’s start with truthfulness, shall we? Premise 1 is true, Pepe The Frog is popular on 4chan and many other popular sites, there’s no disputing that. This bug-eyed amphibian is indeed an internet sensation. The second premise is also true, a small subset of 4chan users do create offensive images with Pepe The Frog, usually in some way altering his catch phrase “feels good man”. So the premises are true, but we still need to deal with validity. The formula is A=B, and B=C, so therefore A=C. Let’s see if this fits the formula. It’s pretty obvious pretty fast that this argument is not valid, most from the word “Some” in the second premise. If only some users are creating racist versions of Pepe then that does not necessarily mean that all things that include Pepe The Frog are indicative of racist attitudes. The premises also do not clearly state that those with such prejudices are the only ones making memes involving Pepe, nor that all of those people are active users of sites such as 4chan. Therefore it is not certain that all memes made with Pepe are racist and/or anti-Semitic.
Now, you may be asking, “Ben, why did you go through all this trouble to deconstruct an argument against a mostly outdated internet trend?”
The answer is: I don’t know, I’m probably wasting my life. Thank you for reading.