If you’ve been on the internet in the last two days, you may be aware that many people aren’t too happy about North Carolina voters’ decision to approve a constitutional amendment that strengthens the state’s existing ban on gay marriage. And true to internet form, that sentiment resulted in plenty of memes, quotes, tweets, and GIFs.
Above is one form of expression we see all too often: the old image comparison, juxtaposing how it was then to how it is now and dismissing all the time in between as irrelevant. Then. Now. Bad. Still bad.
These particular photos compare a decades-old protest against interracial marriages at the North Carolina state capitol with a days-old demonstration (I assume, anyway; one problem with these image mashups is that you lose the information about each photo) against same-sex ones in the same spot. But the general theme is not new: Every time a case of social injustice bubbles up in the internet age, we find ourselves making these comparisons. Comb the archives of news sites, then attach that archived image to the contemporary one. The message is one of two things: Either things are wildly different—worse, that is—than they used to be, or they are just as terrible as they were. In either situation, the underlying point is the same: We really fucked up, and it’s simple to see how and why.
“In either situation, the underlying point is the same: We really fucked up, and it’s simple to see how and why.”