Thursday, October 04, 2012

Big Bird meme runs rampart after Mitt Romney vows to defund PBS

Big Bird has become something that he probably never expected to become, at his ripe old age, or the ripe old age of his actor, anyway. Big Bird has been played by Caroll Spinney since 1969, but he's 78 now and since 1998 has had an understudy, Matt Vogel. Now Big Bird has become a meme.

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When Spinney began the role, there wasn't even an Internet to have a meme on.

The meme was created once Mitt Romney uttered these words on Wednesday night, during the first presidential debate:

"I'm sorry, Jim (Lehrer), I'm gonna stop the subsidy to PBS ... I like PBS, I love Big Bird -- I actually like, you too -- but I am not going to keep spending money on things [we have] to borrow money from China to pay for."

With that, the Big Bird meme was born. Among the better photoshopped images posted on Twitter and other social media were two by @Jim_Sheridan, currently musical director of the "Late Late Show."

The first was a picture of Big Bird saying he should watch his back, with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan behind him. The second showed him homeless.  Numerous other images showing Big Bird in various stages of desperation were posted to Twitter, Facebook, Quickmeme, and more (some of these are in the slideshow, here).

There is even a Twitter account called @BigBirdRomney, where the "Hope" image of President Barack Obama has been photoshopped to be Big Bird, instead.

It was reported on Thursday afternoon that a number of talk and news shows, including "Today," "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," "Saturday Night Live," "Good Morning America," and Piers Morgan have been trying to get Big Bird to appear to discuss the potential PBS cut.

Finally, Sesame Street’s own Twitter account even joked about the debate mention, tweeting “Big Bird: My bed time is usually 7:45, but I was really tired yesterday and fell asleep at 7! Did I miss anything last night?”

Despite that humor, PBS and local public stations are taking the news seriously: we received an email from our local public TV station asking for a donation, in the wake of Romney's mention.

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