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Today’s horrific video of football player Ray Rice knocking his girlfriend out cold and dragging her body out of an elevator in Atlantic City last May should appall everyone. The news coincides with the emergence of the #MaddenGiferator meme, which has been attempting to hijack EA’s marketing tool for one of their recent video games. Earlier today, Ezekiel Kweku over at The Toast offered her arty take on the GIF tool by overlaying Jenny Holzer’s famous Truisms series on images of the heroic-seeming football players. The impact is erie as it highlights some of the messages of American culture that float under the surface of manufactured media images from sports and videogames.
Thankfully Rice has been terminated by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended by the NFL, but there’s still more to the story suggesting that as a culture we don’t respect the victims. For instance, why was this tweet by the Ravens broadcast to the world on May 28 (it was taken down today) to suggest that Janay Rice, his girlfriend, was to blame?
Until this issue is resolved, we feel the chill of insecurity in Holzer’s words. Since the #MaddenGiferator does not list Rice as one of their options, I felt a need to augment the series with images of the now-shamed player.