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Feels Good Man

Entertaining documentary about Pepe the Frog, a well-meant cartoon character that became an immensely popular meme, but somewhere down the line also a white supremacist mascot.

Time & Tickets

When artist Matt Furie posted his deadpan cartoon to MySpace, he unintentionally set an unpredictable sequence of events in motion. Naive as he was at the time, Furie didn’t immediately realize that Pepe the Frog would soon become a hugely popular meme. Furie’s green brainchild and his slogan ‘Feels good man’ started popping up in countless forms. This success, aided in large part by the anonymous Internet forum 4chan, peaked in 2015, when Donald Trump retweeted a meme about himself and Pepe the Frog. When Pepe was embraced by white supremacists, Furie knew he’d really lost control over his own creation.

Arthur Jones’s debut documentary, featuring brilliant animations, won a Special Jury Award at Sundance. The director follows the amiable comic strip artist as he attempts to gain back control over his cartoon. Jones gives Furie and his friends plenty of opportunity to have their say, and joins a handful of top experts as they dive into the fascinating and terrifying virtual world where alternative facts reign supreme.

After the film, Thomas Frissen will elaborate on how we predicate meaning to symbols and figures. Pepe the Frog was just a drawing, but the Meme Pepe the Frog becomes a powerful tool, appropriated by political groups. Historical, there are some similarities to other symbols, like the Swastika and QR-code.

Dr. Thomas Frissen is assistant professor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS), Maastricht University. In both teaching and research Thomas focuses on questions regarding the role of digital media and technology in society, culture, and behaviour.

Arthur Jones, USA, 2021, 92 min. English spoken, without subtitles.
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