If you’ve spent any time screwing around on the Internet today (which, if you’re reading this, you obviously have), then you likely noticed a pair of giant, crazy-looking blue eyes staring at back at you.
Those eyes belong to Minnesota Congresswoman and 2012 Tea Party presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, and are taken from the newest cover of Newsweek, on which she appears with the coverline, “The Queen of Rage.” Even in its intended context, the expression of her eyes makes her look, well, completely out of her mind.
On the pseudo-serious side of the Internet, well-known conservative blogger Michelle Malkin instantly jumped on the Newsweek cover as a “bottom-of-the-barrel” liberal tactic to paint the Tea Party darling as a lunatic. A few other right-wing pontificators chimed in, but that was about as far as the conversation got in the purely political realm.
From there, the shocked stare of Bachmann grabbed the attention of the fun-having Internet crowd, which began to crank out photoshopped variations of the cover, a process we all now understand as “becoming a meme.”
Your reporter first noticed the Bachmann crazy eyes on Tumblr. The photo also picked up early steam from Twitter. And meme-centric website Buzzfeed quickly picked up on the peculiar cover, and listed simply “Newsweek’s Michele Bachmann cover” as one of its trending topics.
Before long, one of Buzzfeed’s editors, Matt Stopera, had assembled one of the most high-profile and extensive displays of meme-dom: an entire post of “hot chicks with Michele Bachmeyes.” (Included on the list are a variety of celebrity regulars, like Kim Kardashian and Mila Kunis, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama and a cat wearing a sweater hoodie — a sure sign that the photo had become a meme.) And FunnyOrDie.com joined in the fun with a gallery of “7 Alternate Michele Bachmann Newsweek Covers.”
Regardless of your feelings toward Rep. Bachmann, her divisive politics, or the photo of her Newsweek chose to run, the lightning-fast evolution of the cover into a meme is something to behold. And it makes us wonder whether what we currently know as a meme is dying — just as anything that was once cool, but has since become predictable, dies — and will be replaced with some new form of Internet humor that we haven’t yet had the chance to behold. And if so, what on Earth could it be? Probably something with cats.