Watch out Al Qaeda, there is a new sheriff in town: They go by the name #YallQaeda and they’re ready to take their land back! It’s all happening in Oregon, as a militia by the name of “Citizens for Constitutional Freedom” has taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. They continue to occupy government property and no action has been taken, but that’s the white privilege they possess. If they were members of any other race, this would have ended days ago, right?
— Matt Osborne (@OsborneInk) January 4, 2016
Because of this group’s laughable actions, the Internet has fought back and made the militia look like one big joke! Hashtags have been going around, including #YallQaeda, #VanillaISIS, and #YokelHaram. The memes have been going wild with all these hashtags (you can see many of the best ones on our sister site, Sizzle), including @OsborneInk‘s simple, but very effective, meme, as seen above. We got a chance to ask @OsborneInk a few questions regarding his meme:
Q: What inspired you to create the #YallQaeda post?
A: I’ve been writing about “patriot militias” for years, currently at Breitbart Unmasked. When the Bundy Ranch episode happened in 2014, I was one of the first bloggers to explain what it was and why it was happening, and many of my tweets went viral then, too. The moment that I saw the image, it perfectly encapsulated the bizarre combination of witless naivete and armed menace that is the Bundy cult. It’s funny, but the idea of Ralph Wiggum with a loaded gun is also terrifying.
Q: Why did you create the #YallQaeda post?
A: In case it’s not clear, I didn’t create the image; I got it from @ThatXandiGirl. She posted it on Facebook, and while I shared it with credit in that medium, I also shamelessly stole it from FB for Twitter. (Turns out @ThatXandiGirl shamelessly stole it from @thethirstywench on Twitter, how ironic is that?) Anyway, I thought it needed to be tweeted to the #OregonUnderAttack hashtag that had been trending earlier, but when I opened Twitter I saw that #YallQaeda was trending in its place. So it was just a combination of timing, luck, having more followers than they did, and me taking advantage of someone else’s creativity. To be clear, I have created my own memes before that went viral, just not this one.
Q: What do you think about the #YallQaeda posts created by others?
A: A lot of them were really funny, I RTd a whole bunch. Many comments were thoughtful, so I RTd those as well. I think the liberal/progressive blogosphere is much better-educated about these matters than they were when the Tea Party happened, so you see a faster response in social media if right wing groups do something. In 2009, nobody at Netroots Nation had heard of Charles and David Koch, for instance, but now their names are instant clickbait. When the Department of Homeland Security report about right wing terrorism came out back then, the conservative blogosphere jumped all over it as some sort of infringement on their speech, but there were maybe only a dozen bloggers who could write a coherent/informed post defending the report. I’d say those tables have turned now. At least, I hope they have.
Q: Why do you think your post went viral?
A: One, it was extremely simple visually and verbally, which always highlights things that are funny — “brevity is the soul of wit” and all that. Two, as I say, it really did capture the conundrum of Bundy/Oathkeepers/Three Percenters/militias: their paranoid world-view makes them seem silly, even infantile, but their outspoken desire to die in a blaze of glory is disturbing. If you look at the satirical hashtags that trended, it’s clear that everyone was trying to make this point, so they were primed to react to the meme.
He dreams of someday hosting his own radio talk show, but in the meantime he works in his pajamas and loves anything and everything about reality television (well, except the Kardsahians, but we don't think he's alone in that one). From Big Brother to The Bachelorette, he can fill you in on all the details you never thought you needed or wanted.
Latest posts by Todd Betzold (see all)
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