The Situation Room Meme: The Shortest Route From Bin Laden to Lulz

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The photo of the White House Situation Room during the operation that killed Osama bin Laden stunned the world when it was released. The photo is powerful, and the response to it has been strong. An image this dramatic almost seems taken in a parallel world, one removed from our cubicles and trips to the dry cleaners.

Perhaps, then, it was only a matter of time before the photoshoppers went to work on the iconic image, using it as grist for the always-grinding humor mill of the Internet. Already, Keanu Reeves, the grumpy flower girl, a velociraptor, and the shocked cat have been edited into the photo. The Situation Room has been colonized. It is part of our world. Take a look for yourself:


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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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