Surfing the internet in more than one language can be a source of fun and often we see jokes reappear regularly with a change of subjects and languages. Since taking office on January 20th the new #Donald Trump Presidency has provided inspiration for those less than impressed with his actions so far. The last three weeks saw the following joke appear on a number of pages with the first passenger’s name changed according to the country of origin of the user.

The international and eternal joke

“The 1st passenger said, " I am …, the best ever (sport) player. The (team) and my millions of fans need me , and I can't afford to die" So he took the 1st pack and left the plane

The 2nd passenger , #Donald Trump , said , " I am the newly elected US President , and I am the smartest President in American history , so my people don't want me to die." He took the 2nd pack and jumped out of the plane.

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The 3rd passenger , the Pope , said to the 4th passenger , a 10 year old schoolboy , " My son , I am old and don't have many years left , you have more years ahead so I will sacrifice my life and let you have the last parachute." The little boy said , " That's okay , Your Holiness, there's a parachute left for you. America's smartest President took my schoolbag."

This joke has been circulating for years and I have seen it attached to Australian and Italian Prime Ministers and other politicians and is now been applied to new American President Donald Trump. What is surprising is that it came out virtually immediately, rather than waiting for developments as was the case for the other world leaders.

Memes and gifs

In these three long weeks since his Inauguration we have seen every executive order greeted with memes, gifs and jokes that do little to disguise the attitude of the authors regarding Donald Trump.

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One image of the new President sees him building a wall around a mouse hole while Speedy Gonzales watches on from his shoulder with a benign smile. Memes have shown unflattering images of the President with sarcastic commentary on a recent decision. A modified gif of Donald Trump displaying a signed order transforms him into the devil who unleashes a deadly ray from the pages of the document. False quotations abound that take the mickey out of the man sitting in the Oval Office.

While this can be fun and provide laughs to relieve the incessant stream of news and serious commentary, it can also be a source of discomfort. Satire and jokes have always been with us and one book from Roman times “The Twelve Caesars” by Suetonius is as much slanted commentary of the morals of past Caesars that suited the author’s political views as insights on the lives of great men. Like today’s satire, the book is also highly entertaining.

Staff not excluded

These online activities also include members of the new White House staff and, at least in the beginning, centred on Senior Staff #Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer. Interestingly as time has passed another person has been subjected to this treatment but in a manner that is much more sombre, Steve Bannon.

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The former head of Breitbart News is being increasingly seen as the man behind the President and his presence amongst the memes is acknowledgment that the public has recognized his role in the White House.

For all the amusement that this creativity may supply, the sheer amount of memes, gifs and other images reflects a lack of respect from an increasing number of users towards President Donald Trump and his senior staff.

While satire and cartoon comments are par for the course the White House should address the reality behind the derision which cannot be answered by simply shaking it off as purely political grandstanding.

There is a thin line between simple satire and loss of respect for the person in the Office. Donald Trump and his senior staff should begin addressing the issues that lead people to see him as a subject of ridicule rather than their country’s Leader. Failure to do so will cost them dear. #memes gifs