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Douglas described an intriguing variation on the meme form that turned the most familiar version on its head: Ironic humor by and for “nerdy middle-class straight white men” was replaced with earnest and sassy inspirational messages “targeted at parents, Christians, and conservatives.”Personally I’m a bit unsatisfied with the Christian-centric viewpoint used to approach these kinds of analyses.
It turns out nearly every community has their fair cut of Facebook pages and Instagram accounts posting images that can only be truly appreciated by members of the group.
Others go much further, offering more forceful attempts to bring Islamic thoughts and beliefs into a Western frame of reference, and revealing a much stranger relationship between the two in the process.
If you’re not very religious or non-Muslim, it all just seems like a perverse appropriation of pop culture to fit the Islamic ideal. To reiterate the theory, for a situation to be humorous, it must be benign and violate expectations.
The above memes certainly violate the expectation that pop culture and Islam don’t or shouldn’t mix together. If you’re not a member of that small demographic you might be able to empathize with them anyway and find the humor.
In Children of Immigration, Carola Suárez-Orozco and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco describe the three different types of social identities that immigrant children adopt:…“ethnic flight” (abandoning their own ethnic group and mimicking the dominant group), “adversarial identities” (constructing identity in opposition to the mainstream culture and its institutions), and “transcultural [bicultural] identities” (developing competence to function in both cultures).
These particular Muslim immigrants likely find themselves falling into the latter category with “transcultural identities.” It’s not an easy thing to deal with, as both cultural identities will inevitably clash with one another. They say “I’m hip enough to hang out with, but give me a sec I gotta pray Asr first.”That isn’t to say that Muslim-Americans are the only affected group.While the ruling has become fuzzy in the modern age, the inclination to avoid depicting a human in artistic renderings of living beings is nonetheless still pervasive in most Islamic cultures. Across the street from the Muslim pages that share content like the images above are pages that share these: The obvious difference here is the pervasive juxtaposition of pop culture and captions that espouse Islamic values.