Anatomy of a Right-Wing Bill Clinton Meme
If you travel in certain GOP-centric lanes of the internet, you may have recently come across the above image macro, whose jumbled message depends on awareness of Bill Clinton's reputation as a lecher, resentment of the rape accusations against Bill Cosby, and the apophenic close-reading presumption that it's significant that both are named "Bill C." Let's break it down.
On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reporter Andrew Kaczynski tweeted a photo of Clinton alongside Andrea and Margo Catsimatidis, the daughter and wife on John Catsimatidis—longtime Clinton donor, former Republican New York City mayoral candidate, radio host, and owner and CEO of the supermarket chain Gristedes. The group was apparently posing at a Clinton Foundation dinner at 30 Rockefeller Plaza's Rainbow Room.
Clinton is standing off behind Andrea Catsimatidis with his hand on her arm, and despite how much of the photo's visual field is taken up by cleavage, his gaze is directed firmly at the camera. Neither Catsimatidis is visibly uncomfortable.
Apparently Bill Clinton hung out with @JCats2013 (and family!) the other night. pic.twitter.com/Kbf5aRUm1k
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) December 16, 2014
I tweeted pic from source https://t.co/fe7KzxAPLa
Context taken off,1000+ RTs https://t.co/WLb7tKu7xQ
Now GOP meme https://t.co/ceteJUvYtw
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) December 18, 2014
Eight minutes later, National Review Online digital director Benny Johnson tweeted the same photo, but with Margo Catsimatidis cropped out, captioned "Photo of the day." Get it? Andrea Catsimatidis has boobs, and Bill Clinton once got in trouble for sex stuff. Johnson is a former colleague of Kaczynski's, and was fired from BuzzFeed for plagiarizing from over 30 different sources in his articles. His version of the photo was retweeted upwards of 2,500 times.
Photo of the Day: pic.twitter.com/ryIoc48KUJ
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) December 16, 2014
From Johnson's influential hands, the contextless image spun out to media outlets as disparate as Uproxx ("Bill Clinton Has No Use for Hover Hands"), Total Frat Move ("Slick Willy Has Still Got It"), Young Conservatives ("Everyone is wondering if this now viral photo of Bill Clinton means he is up to his old ways"), and the Washington Free Beacon ("Bill Clinton Creeps on Daughter of Guy Who Tried to Buy New York Senate for Dems"). The Free Beacon, in its defense, provided context about the fundraising dinner and also included the original version of the photo.
Then, Slick Willy got to right-wing pundit and internet radio host Wayne Dupree, and the "Bill C." shitpic was born.
@BillCosby @billclinton @HillaryClinton
— Wayne Dupree ★彡 (@WayneDupreeShow) December 18, 2014
The irony is that the photo is gross and incriminating, but it has nothing to do with Andrea Catsimatidis' boobs. John Catsimatidis is a billionaire who failed to pay grocery store workers millions of dollars worth of overtime wages, employed a mayoral campaign consultant who was arrested on bribery and corruption charges, and is really only valuable to Bill Clinton for having tons and tons of money and a private jet. In his advanced age, Clinton's libido may be diminished, but his propensity for cozying up with the world's worst rich people is alive and well.