If you've been on the Internet at all this week (spoiler alert: you're on the Internet right now!) you've probably enjoyed a little viral trend revolving around presumptive vice presidential candidate and current U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Yes, we all now communicates primarily in GIFs, tweets and macros, and it's not all a joke, though it usually is funny.
"Hey Girl, you look so cute when you're losing your reproductive rights," reads one of the snappy correspondences from the new Twitter handle @paulryangosling, which takes the congressman's views on abortion and mishmashes them with come-ons.
Kind of like what sexy man Ryan Gosling might do in dreams, except the would-be veep's ideas don't exactly inspire the same kind of mouth-agape drooling as Gosling's abs.
Needless to say, registered Republicans who had a few good guffaws over the original "hey girl" lines attributed to Gosling may not find the quickly proliferating piggyback meme quite as cute.
Most are images of the congressman looking as shmexy as he can, with lines like, "Hey girl, you know I can't resist a tight little budget," and "I know I have your vote, girl. I just like to hear you say it."
Subtle things, sometimes, but also a bit more abrasive: "Hey girl, I don't need your vote. I need a sandwich." These come-ons suggest that a man can love the ladies but still not have their political issues at the forefront of his mind. Too serious and sour, too fast? Or just right?
Some of the best sites for these Ryan macros (heygirlitspaulryan.tumblr.com and chooseryanlosechoice.tumblr.com) operate under the assumption that a lady voting for Ryan is a lady voting to have her rights taken away. But some lines—e.g., "Hey girl, free mammograms? I don't think so. But come a little closer and I'll check them out"—are just crass enough to transcend any actual political stance and venture back into funny territory.
No matter how you vote or what color your state is on Wolf Blitzer's magical TV map, you've got to admit: It's amazing to see people turning their views on serious issues into such a massive watershed of layered, instantly shareable Interweb satire.
Has any candidate for anything generated such a massive meme-storm so quickly? It took Sarah Palin at least a few weeks to reach this level of Photoshopped mockery. Then again, back in 2008, Twitter only had a paltry 4 million users, compared to today's 100-ish million.
Bonus question: Can fake pick-up lines actually influence the American political process? If so, we look forward to the day when the president begins his State of the Union with "Hey girl..."