The "This Is Fine" Dog Should Have Been The 2016 'TIME' Person Of The Year & This Tweet Totally Nails Why
On Wednesday, TIME announced the TIME Person of The Year for 2016, with President-elect Donald Trump claiming the title. But while this isn't entirely unexpected, we all know that there's actually someone else who should have landed the title: The dog from the "This Is Fine" meme. Twitter user Elainovision (@scatteredmoon) summed up TIME'S important decision with a spot-on tweet consisting solely of the words "Person of the Year" displayed with a Photoshopped cover of the magazine. Instead of Trump squinting from an upholstered chair, however, the cover features the "This Is Fine" dog sitting calmly while his house is engulfed in flames — the metaphor ringing a little too true for comfort.
Although he's definitely not a new creation, the dog from the "This Is Fine" meme has become an increasingly popular character throughout the 2016 election cycle. Originally part of a six-panel cartoon from the webcomic series Gunshow by K.C. Green posted in January of 2013, the brutal illustration shows an anthropomorphic dog in a fedora clearly in denial of what is happening around him. He slowly melts as he sits in a room on fire sipping coffee, repeating phrases such as "I am okay with the events that are unfolding currently."
Since its original posting, the timely cartoon popped up occasionally on sites such as Imgur, Reddit, and Tumblr usually in reference to stressful situations. The popularity of the first two panels surged in the summer of 2016, when the GOP tweeted the image in response to the first day of the Democratic National Convention, along with the hashtags #DemsInPhilly and #EnoughClinton. The artist was not pleased with GOP's use of his work and responded by posting a reimagined version with an elephant instead of the dog for the political cartoon site The Nib the following day. The original two panels continued to be used in reaction posts, transformed into a GIF, its popularity peaking in the political heat of August, 2016.
Elainovision's version, meanwhile, actually hit the internet on Dec. 6 — the day before TIME announced the 2016 Person of the Year:
And it certainly made sense then; it's made sense for most of 2016. But it's especially relevant now.
Fire has become a common theme in 2016. The success of Donald Trump's scorched earth campaign has changed politics as we know it, his "bonfire of influence" poised to engulf the country. Even TIME had flames in mind when describing Trump's disruption, writing that he "now surveys the smoking ruin of a vast political edifice that once housed parties, pundits, donors, pollsters, all those who did not see him coming or take him seriously."
Does this simple cartoon dog hold a mirror up to America and the election year oft described as a "dumpster fire?" TIME has named Trump “President of the divided states,” though Trump assures that he will heal the deep fissures in the country.
Over 90 million eligible voters sat out the 2016 election. Perhaps, like the dog, they believed that "this is fine." But if that's the case, what they forgot is that the K.C. Green updated the comic earlier this year:
That's where we are now. And only time will tell if it's too late to put the fire out.