Friday, November 11, 2016

Blog #5

     This week's blog on Ted Cruz religious memes is a reflection of authority online.  The offline religious culture and political culture helps set the basis and create standards for what is considered authentic expressions online in many ways.  The political and religious cultures have grown so strong in their hundreds of years of history that their impact is hard to ignore.  This compares to the still fairly recent online culture that is still being shaped and molded everyday.   
     In Cruz's case, christianity is an extremely well defined religion and therefore a defined culture.  This culture has an enormous amount of traditions and beliefs which also help impact what is considered authentic.  These rich ideas do not want to be cheated by cheap internet sayings from people not as well educated as most of the religious leaders.  If a person is seen as a political or religious leader, they automatically are looked at with more authenticity just because of their established position.  The standard to have this high esteem is a highly educated person in either education or even educated in scholarly readings when it comes to the religious culture.  Another aspect that helps set the standard for what is authentic online is when it involves church doctrines or highly regarded church teachings.  For example, the Ten Commandments are head in such a high light for many christians.  This orthodox expression is being made fun of in meme 9 which states "what do you mean I've broken one of the commandments?  Bearing false witness against thy neighbor?  Donald isn't my neighbor!  He lives in NYC!"  This meme is criticizing Cruz for his actions that are contrary to such a highly regarded list of beliefs.  It is being questioned how authentic he is as a christian because he does not follow his religious beliefs right down to the doctrine.  
     Online and offline contexts are blended.  They both have an affect on the other and seem to coincide. As time goes on, they are becoming more and more blurred and will eventually become so blurred that the flow of information online and offline is seamless.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Blog #4: Authority

This week's blog discusses how authority is defined online and offline and how that message changes.  Once again I am continuing the case study of religious memes about Ted Cruz.  It is important to note not just his role as a political leader, but a religious voice as well.  

The source of authority could probably be defined as the hierarchy or roles because they reference a religious leader or even the authority of God as a Christian.  You could even  say Cruz is perceived as a leader in this meme.  And in Cruz 7, he is being mocked as a leader.  The meme says "would a good christian man" endorse someone against his beliefs.  This is attacking his morals and who he is as a leader.  This points to the fact that he would not be a good political leader for the country since according to the creator of the meme, his beliefs do not match his actions.  This also goes along with describing authority while looking at ideology because his faith beliefs and shared identity of the Christian community are being judged.   


The logic used in this case study regarding authority being voiced is Logic of Dialectics and Paradox.  This type of logic states that new media both empowers and undermines religious authority.  This creates conflicting tensions and uneven gains.  The conflicting idea is that offline Cruz is regarded by many as a political leader who uses his religious beliefs to better his position in the government.  Online, people mock this characteristic of Ted Cruz and do not have anyone to answer to.


Depending on how an image is framed, especially with wording, impacts how the viewer perceives it.  If it makes a reference to their religious leader, they may be more cautious about it because they would not want to offend their leader or they might be offended themselves of someone taunting someone they hold in such high regards.  

Friday, October 28, 2016

Blog 3: Online and Offline Contexts of Discourse on Religion and Politics

     So far in my study of Ted Cruz and Christianity memes, a theme has started to emerge.  Most of these six memes tend to criticize Ted Cruz and use his religion and the beliefs drawn from Christianity against him.  This type of cross-media or transmedia seems to be blurring online and offline to create new context.  The blurring of online and offline has become increasingly popular with the changing of time and technology.  The abundance of multiple forms of media such as twitter, Facebook and Instagram, give people a diverse range of options to post and repost their content to an endless amount of people online.  This idea is supported from Dr. campbell's article, Understanding the Relationship between Religion Offline and Online in a Networked Society where on page 23 she writes that "current religious narratives, practices, and structures are able to become increasingly flexible, transitional and transnational as they are lived out both online and in an information - and technology-driven society"(Campbell, 2011, pg 23).  The combination of online and offline really allows for an individual to truly examine a religion and play with their own ideas about it.
     The ideas expressed in the memes studied mostly come from quotes Cruz has said either at debates or on the camp again trail.  These sayings are then scrutinized by his opponents and used against him to try to form a new narrative.  An example of how this has happened with Cruz is that Crus will mention how he believes he has been called to be the president and that it is God's will for him to be elected.  His opponents mock this because either they do not believe in God or they do not believe God has anything to do with Cruz and the presidency.  The meme Cruz 6 states "If Jesus wanted Canadians to be president, he would have written it into the constitution".  This meme mocks once again Cruz having claimed in the past that his presidency is God given and proclaiming that narrative.

Cruz 5

Cruz 6

Friday, October 21, 2016

Blog #2 Beliefs of Religion

     This particular case study focuses on religion and politics, but especially when looking at Ted Cruz and Evangelical Christianity during the 2016 Presidential Campaign.  

     Based off these four memes, it seems like Evangelical Christians tend to make decisions or blame their decisions on their belief in God.  An example is in meme #3 it states "God wants me to be his president".  This thought also supports the idea that they believe God gives them everything in their lives.  This also reinforces that although Senator Cruz has been elected before, it was ultimately God’s plan, not his, which caused him to win the election.  This would also be Politicization of Religion because it is Cruz's religious responsibility to be called to political action.  Another example that has this viewpoint is meme #2 that states "our rights come from God, not the constitution".  Once again this points back to the point that God’s will started this country and everything in it.

     Traits of this religion would especially be a focus on evangelizing.  Many Evangelical Christians do this by bringing up God in everyday talk.  Ted Cruz is a prime example of someone who definitely uses "God Talk" in the public sphere.  I believe he truly uses God Talk as a natural expression of personal faith opposed to many other politicians who try to use God Talk to further connect with their constituents to try to get elected.  
     The people of this religion tend to be strict and flexible.  This is demonstrated in meme #1, which states "We should all follow Jesus, except the parts about feeding the poor, tending to the sick, and the meek inheriting.  And no overturning moneychanger tables, either.  Actually, can we just strike the New Testament?"  This meme shows the hypocrisy that many conservative Christian republicans face.  Although many preach the Bible and following Jesus, many act differently when it comes to how they vote politically and the beliefs that their elected leaders have.  In reality, they try to get others to follow Jesus in every aspect of life, but they themselves pick and choose when the principles of Christianity seem best fit.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Blog #1: Ted Cruz and Religious Memes

     The theme of this case study is looking at Ted Cruz and Christianity during the 2016 Presidential Election.  This case study was selected because Ted Cruz was a presidential candidate that closely tied his race and political views to his beliefs.  Gaddy’s chapter “God Talk in the Public Square” brought up many points that combined politics and religion that were apparent during Cruz’s time running for office and would be beneficial to look even more closely at when evaluating these memes.  It is also interesting to witness exactly what aspects of his faith beliefs translated to his political views and exactly how the public and his constituents viewed him because of his title as an Evangelical Christian.  The possibility of his religious beliefs ultimately hurting his chance to be the Republican nominee would also be interesting to look at when researching the memes.  Ultimately, Cruz is an easy target when study religion and politics because he ties the two together seamlessly.