The Media Intertextuality of 'Que Tiro Foi Esse': Tracking the Circulation of (Stray) Bullets in and through a Brazilian Internet Meme

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Abstract

In the tumultuous electoral year of 2018, when public security was in the political spotlight in Brazil, and social media took on heightened political prominence, the intersection of popular music and digital culture put urban violence in the country’s cultural spotlight via an internet meme about stray bullets, inspired by one of the hit songs of the Carnival period, “Que Tiro Foi Esse” [What Was That Shot] by Jojo Todynho. This article analyses the “Que Tiro Foi Esse” (QTFE) meme, its origins, and its circulation, as well as exploring how a catchphrase originating in popular music, given an association with public security by the participants of an internet meme, was subsequently taken up in grey literature relating to that same socio-political topic by civil society data activists. Whilst “QTFE” was only one in a maelstrom of memes created and shared by Brazilians in 2018, I analyse it as a prominent example of the function of memes as “cultural touchstones” (Milner) in the country. In so doing, I show how it captured and expressed the social, cultural, and political mood of the country in a pivotal and polarised year, as well as signalling the intertwining of digital culture with traditional cultural industries and practices, with politics, and with the field of public security specifically.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalModern Languages Open
Volume1
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2021

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