Twitter and the glory of “Marine Todd”

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A "Marine Todd" collage

A “Marine Todd” collage

The same weekend we had quite possibly the worst meme in the history of Twitter- “#CancelColbert“- also gave rise to one of the best, “Marine Todd.” I guess Twitter, like Leonard Cohen once said about America, is “the cradle of the best and the worst.”

Some explanation: If you have a friend or relative who’s part of the right-wing email circuit, chances are you’ve probably seen a particular email forward. It differs in particular details, but the general gist is that a professor is teaching a college class, tells his students that God doesn’t exist, and that if he did, God would knock the professor off the podium. Then a student in the class- a Marine and war veteran- knocks the professor out cold, and states “God was busy. He sent the Marines.”

Here’s another, more recent version. 

The story is silly for a few reasons: It’s certainly apocryphal- email versions go back to at least 2004- and it’s so obviously flattering to conservative political  prejudices. It’s also insulting to Marines, in implying that they make a habit of physically assaulting college professors. The icky implication is that the purpose of the heroes who have been to war, now that they’re home, is to beat up liberal civilians, for the pleasure of conservative civilians.

The meme also bears more than a passing resemblance (minus the violence, of course) to the plot of “God’s Not Dead,” the recently released Christian movie, which may explain why it’s resurfaced lately.

But then Twitter got ahold of this- I believe the mentions on this tweet, from March 22, is where it originated- and it was glorious:   








The only question is, who will be the conservative answer to Suey Park, who sees this meme and concludes that these people hate America and the troops? They don’t, of course; it’s a parody of the cartoonish way the right wing views the military, as well as the established phenomenon of brain-dead email forwards from your Republican uncle.

(Note: Nicole Mullen of Thought Catalog wrote about this earlier in the week, although I was not aware of her post until I was done with this one.)

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