The Privilege Denying Dude Meme Lives On!

So Diana Lopez about two weeks ago decided to create a meme (several examples surrounding) called Privilege Denying Dude, that according to Colorlines writer Channing Kennedy

stand[s] out [because] he directly, and strikingly, parodied the frat-boy culture that fuels much Internet comedy in the first place—privileged, incurious, and ready to educate you about what your problem is.

And the Bitch Magazine blog writer Kjerstin Johnson said this meme

shoveled smarm back in the face of the privileged cluelessness that litters YouTube and social-justice blog comment threads alike (not to mention IRL).

There were over 1,500 PDDs created on the Tumblr feed…and the photographer of the original photo has contacted several sites that put up meme-ed versions — and some have taken down the photos or replaced them with alternatives.

According to Jezebel, the reason for the not-quite takedown requests had to do with the terms of service for use of the original photo because the:

photographer argued that the use of the photo violated the content licensing agreement, and said the model [“young fashionable man” in the iStockphoto database] had been insulted for being associated by those messages.

Tiger Beatdown put the terms of service /contract/copyright issues into a Kanye West style ALL CAPS snark rant:

YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE A MEME. THIS MEME INCORPORATES A PHOTO OF A MODEL. THIS MODEL: HE IS JUST A MODEL! HIS PHOTOGRAPH WAS PURCHASED ON ISTOCKPHOTO. AND HE’S A VERY GOOD MODEL, TOO!

REGARDLESS, HE DOES NOT ENDORSE ANY OF THE STATEMENTS MADE IN THE MEME THAT INCORPORATES HIS PHOTO. OTHER INTERESTING FACTS: CHRISTIAN BALE DOES NOT DRESS UP AS A BAT AND FIGHT CRIME, AND STEVE CARELL DOES NOT WORK AT A PAPER COMPANY IN SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA.

AS FOR OUR USE OF THE PHOTO: IT WOULD APPEAR THAT CRITICISM, COMMENTARY, AND NEWS REPORTING ARE FAIR USE! READ ON, THEREFORE, FOR SOME CRITICISM AND COMMENTARY. AND ENJOY!

Thankfully, there is at least one volunteer to be the PDD — the dude in the sweater (and for some reason, the actor Ryan Gosling has also joined him).

But regardless of the original legalities (or not) of the original photo, this meme will live on, in the way memes do, because the purpose of this meme is to not to pay attention to law and attribution, but to share and share and share … something that is funny because it is what so many non-privileged people experience.

Because despite Audre Lorde’s statement about the masters’ tools on the internetz sometimes privilege can be taken down using its own tools:

Somewhere, deep down, all of us thought that we knew exactly what Privilege Denying Dude would say. We’d had that fight; we’d heard that excuse; we’d read that column. We knew Privilege Denying. We saw this dude’s face, and we knew exactly what it would say. But to have it meme-able — to have a lovable little puppet who could re-iterate everything that had ever made us angry, in bold white font denoting its inherent ridiculousness — was a boon we had not foreseen. Because it was stupid. It was quick. It was funny for approximately five seconds, which is as long as it took for us to scroll to the next post. IT WAS INTERNET.

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