‘I Have a Drone’: Internet memes and the politics of culture | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1757-2681
  • E-ISSN: 1757-269X



Comparisons between slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr and US President Barack Obama are commonplace in news and political discourse. This article takes up this comparison by way of a critical analysis of an Internet meme that emerged at the time of Obama’s second inauguration. Specifically, it analyses the ‘I Have a Drone’ meme – an unusually provocative example of digital culture that calls out Barack Obama on his targeted killing programme – with an eye towards better understanding the role political memes play in the compression of complex ideas into smaller packets, and the implications thereof for public discourse and political engagement. This discussion is located in relation to contemporary theorizing on Internet memes, with an emphasis on the cultural politics enacted within and through this emergent form of participatory culture. Throughout, it is argued that the ‘I Have a Drone’ meme challenges the rhetorical equivalence between the two African American leaders, thereby registering and articulating popular opposition to Obama’s drone wars. Doing so, this article highlights the creative and incisive fashion in which activists, graphic artists and others appropriate, challenge and reconfigure news and political discourse in digital space.


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