Why We Can’t Get Enough of Those Chris Christie Memes

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Donald Trump celebrated his big spate of Super Tuesday victories last night with a speech that was introduced by Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor then flanked Trump as he spoke, and the pained-seeming expression on the former’s face created an instant Internet sensation, a meme that took off within moments.

“Chris Christie spent the entire speech screaming wordlessly. I have never seen someone scream so loudly without using his mouth before. It would have been remarkable if it had not been so terrifying,” Alexandra Petri wrote this morning. “His were the eyes of a man who has gazed into the abyss, and the abyss gazed back, and then he endorsed the abyss.”

More than just being funny, Christie’s expression seemed to capture a certain widespread anxiety about Donald Trump. After all, Trump is a terrifying, racist demagogue who seemingly can’t be stopped, not by coordinated party assaults, not by brilliant satire, not by common sense or even his own refusal to disavow the KKK. At his rallies, attendees of color are harassed, kicked out, even hurt. Something far more serious may happen soon. It’s not a joke.

So, yes, there was a lot of projection at play in the creation of the Christie meme. Twitter’s many variations on the idea that Christie was being held hostage were about us as much him; we are the ones held hostage by nonstop coverage of Trump, by having to think about him as a serious candidate, by the reality that his ideas actually appeal to a large swath of the electorate. And the horror we so clearly read in Christie’s face is also our own — as is the betrayal, the soul-selling, the complicity, since we are Americans and this is what is happening to our country.

Here is a sampling of the Internet’s best, most profound meme-work from last night:

A late-breaking Game of Thrones reference:

There were many musical accompaniments to the image, including Simon and Garfunkel…

… Talking Heads…

… the Psycho theme…

Donnie Darko

… and the winner, Curb Your Enthusiasm: