Each Wednesday in What Memes Mean, Kirk Bozeman questions the significance, humor, and subtexts of viral videos, memes, and other Internet fads.
The Muppets have always presented themselves to the world as actual persons both on and off set. Most film and TV characters stay well within the boundaries of their imaginary worlds, their respective actors walking out of the studio at night in khakis and sneakers, ready to resume a normal human existence. Not so with the Muppets: Kermit the Frog or Miss Piggy can show up anywhere, at any time, their lower halves always conveniently off camera or hidden behind well-placed scenery.
So it doesn’t at all surprise me to see Kermit and Miss Piggy being interviewed in the clip above concerning the recent Muppet movie, not the actors who voice them. It also doesn’t surprise me when Muppets do some spur-of-the-moment political commentary: the Muppets have always been a “for adults, too” type of production. But taking a shot at Fox News is surprisingly tame fare. It’s really only interesting because it’s being spoken by a Muppet, making it more “funny” than “controversial”.
But when Kermit responds to Miss Piggy’s quip with, “Boy, that’s going to be all over the internet. You are in such deep water”, she replies, “Yeah, if they take what I say seriously, they’ve got a real big problem.” An interesting exchange between two talking felt animals. We currently live in an era where Muppets not only feel free to voice their political opinions, they also realize that their opinions will probably be heard and taken somewhat seriously.
If you’re reading this, you’re most likely someone who spends some considerable portion of your week commenting on and “liking” things online. It’s also likely that at some point in your life, you’ve done this while hiding behind a pseudonym and an avatar (kind of like your own Muppet, right?), and you most likely have some never-updated blog from a few years ago hiding in some forgotten corner of the ‘net. Our Americanism instills in us the idea that everybody should be able to say what they want when they want to say it, and the ‘net provides us with a voice and a platform for broadcasting it to the world.
Being able to speak our minds in the public forum is a very, very good thing. History has seen the excesses and evils perpetrated by unquestioned and unfettered institutions who sought to silence the masses. But therein lies a challenge, especially for believers.
Having a voice and a platform only makes a difference if you actually have something to say, if you have content to back up the cool new blog format or quirky Instagram avatar. That content takes thinking, prayer, and work. Living in an age where even Muppets can offer political criticism and be heard ought to inspire us not only to speak more, but to speak better.
Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians has always fascinated me: “[T]he weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) Many of us know that the world of ideas is a serious business, but Paul does us one better and makes it a cosmic business, one of intense spiritual warfare. The world of ideas is an even bigger deal than we thought, and we can’t take our opportunities for granted.
You have an amazing voice and platform constantly at your fingertips. Use it well.