The origin of a Whaleoil ‘Meme’

When I brainstormed inside our secret online Whaleoil lair with the photoshopping team the other day to design a satirical image, it was work as usual. When the image was shared on Twitter it offended some people who called it a racist and an offensive meme. They are wrong about the racism bit and anything can be offensive to anybody but I guess that they are right that it is a meme because it was a continuation of a theme started on Whaleoil around a year ago.

Mark Cropp became internationally known last year after he spoke to the NZ Herald about being unable to get a job because of his extensive facial ink.? Devast8?

It all started when a young guy ruined his changes of getting job and providing for his family by tattooing his face. We made him face of the day, highlighted him as a story of redemption and praised him for his attempt to change his life around.

His tattoo was very distinct so when a certain Green politician bragged about taking money that was not hers to take, as a political stunt in order to promote a Green party policy, the tattoo idea was formed. Cropp’s tattoo was an obstacle to employment and, satirically, Metiria Turei’s benefit fraud revelations were an obstacle to her remaining in parliament.

We expected Metiria Turei to lose her job and eventually, after holding out for as long as they could, the Green party were forced to get rid of her. It was quite a battle, and Whaleoil put T-shirts and mugs with her image on them into our online shop to keep the pressure on her to resign.


Later on in the news cycle, Mark Cropp was back in the news for all the wrong reasons, so this satirical image was created.

Photoshopped image credit: Luke

More recently, Labour MP Louisa Wall was getting noticed for all the wrong reasons. Following in the shameful footsteps of Green list MP and activist Marama ‘Gunt’ Davidson, she was secretly recorded using abusive and foul language when, in a speech, she said that she didn’t want to see “any fucking TERFs” at the pride parade.

My idea was to label Wall with the same smear with which she had so foully labelled feminists whose opinions she didn’t agree with.

The first attempt to create an image was rejected as it made the image about Maori tattoos rather than about the smear. The second attempt which is shown above was selected for publication as it contained nothing but the smear and was a continuation of the theme that was first started around a year earlier.

Our message is simple. Attitudes like Wall’s make her unsuitable to be employed by the taxpayer. Our satirical image makes her wear her smear so she can reflect on how unacceptable her words and her attitudes towards those who have a different opinion to her are.