Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot leans in on memes mocking her time period

Chicago could also be getting a brand new mayor on Monday, but it surely’s unlikely Brandon Johnson can be as meme-able as his predecessor, Lori Lightfoot.

Lightfoot, Chicago’s first mayor to lose reelection in 40 years, was the topic of a number of stay-at-home memes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that shortly went viral — however in all probability not for the explanations the Democratic high cop had hoped. However earlier than the memes unfold coast to coast, and the mayor’s workplace leaned in on the hilarity, there was the “Census Cowboy.”


In 2020, Lightfoot launched him throughout a summer time press convention. The Census Cowboy was tasked with reminding Chicagoans to fill out their census type as a result of why not, proper? The person tapped to play the city cowboy was Adam Hollingsworth. Throughout his debut, he trotted out to Lil Nas X’s “Previous City Highway” on a brown and white horse, wearing a checkered pink shirt and denims. He was additionally carrying a big black and neon yellow flag that matched his face masks and browse “Census 2020.”

Feeling festive, Lightfoot pulled out a lime inexperienced cowboy hat earlier than saying that Hollingsworth and his horse can be displaying up in neighborhoods round Chicago.

However she warned, “For those who see the Census Cowboy coming to your neighborhood, that is not factor. Which means you have to step up and do your half and be sure to fill out the census.”

Hollingsworth turned considerably of an area superstar however bumped into hassle a number of months later after making an unauthorized gallop down the Dan Ryan Expressway throughout rush hour that he livestreamed on Fb. Lightfoot’s census ambassador was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty after his horse collapsed on the finish of the trip and have become critically injured. Hollingsworth was additionally charged with misdemeanor counts of trespassing and reckless conduct. He ended up begging Lightfoot and a cabal of Chicago rappers for assist.

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Then got here the memes that outlined Lightfoot’s first yr in workplace.

Whereas a lot of the world was on lockdown, Lightfoot needed to make it clear that Chicagoans wanted to comply with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D-IL) stay-at-home orders. The issue was many Chicago residents did not pay attention, selecting as an alternative to hang around close to the lakefront, take hikes, go to canine parks, and do different outside actions. This did not sit effectively with Lightfoot, who threatened to close down all parks and trails if Chicago did not come appropriate and “abide by the order.”

She did not masks her anger, trying visibly agitated that constituents did not heed instructions. So she stepped up her sport and demanded individuals keep house, not congregate, and warned, “Don’t let the warming climate let your guard slip.” She additionally mentioned police can be issuing fines for individuals caught at giant gatherings.

Chicagoans caught inside handed the time by making memes of Lightfoot. They pulled pictures of her from information conferences the place she was standing together with her arms tucked round a folder, sporting her signature saggy fits paired with Keds footwear and a don’t-mess-with-me stare plastered to her face.

There was considered one of Lightfoot standing on a police sawhorse on the lakefront with a warning: “Thou shall not move.” Somebody additionally superimposed her face on the Bat-Sign. One other confirmed Lightfoot giving a seven-day climate outlook, with the forecast simply displaying “house.” One other had her holding a Pennywise balloon on the Purple Line station. (Pennywise is the primary antagonist in Stephen King’s horror novel It.) One other confirmed Lightfoot inside an empty Edward Hopper “Nighthawks” diner. (“Nighthawks” is the 1942 oil canvas portray by Hopper that exhibits 4 individuals in a downtown diner late at evening and is hanging on the Artwork Institute of Chicago.) Staying on the theme, one other popped up of Lightfoot evident at picnickers in Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande,” portray, which can also be an Artwork Institute of Chicago attraction.

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However the hijinks did not cease there. Lightfoot and her glare began popping up on Christmas ornaments, espresso mugs, and even stickers.

Quickly, her administration was in on the jokes and gave Lightfoot, who had not been a preferred mayor, the liberty to play alongside.

On Halloween, she wore a black masks, a Clorox sandwich board, and a pink cape with “Rona Destroyer” on the again as she handed out sweet to reporters. She additionally shed politically appropriate statements, and when former White Home press secretary Kayleigh McEnany known as her a “derelict mayor,” Lightfoot tweeted, “Hey Karen. Watch your mouth.”

Anne Libera, longtime director of comedy research at each Second Metropolis and Columbia Faculty, advised the Chicago Tribune she thought Lightfoot’s grasp of humor was “good” at the start however warned it was a slippery slope and shouldn’t be used on a regular basis.

“I keep in mind considering this was precisely how authorities ought to use comedy,” she mentioned. “The factor is, because the pandemic went on, and the George Floyd protests started, lots of people confirmed that they had little distance from the ache, then jokes look inappropriate.”

She added that it was arduous to make use of satire when hometown hero Likelihood the Rapper was tweeting, “Please cease sending large teams of militarized police into our neighborhoods completely.”

When Lightfoot fingers over the keys to the mayor’s workplace on Monday, a second act in comedy appears far-fetched, however the outgoing elected official has confirmed there’s something to be mentioned about getting individuals to giggle — even whether it is at her expense.

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