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This Iconic Trump Meme Could Save Eyes During This Solar Eclipse


About seven years ago, photographers took their cameras to the rare luck to photograph a total solar eclipse, with the sun’s vaporous atmosphere revealed against the dark sky.

But perhaps the most memorable photos taken during The Great American Eclipse of 2017 were not of crown but of former President Donald Trump stepping out onto the White House portico to experience space event for itself.

In an intriguing twist, Trump’s famous eclipse photos may have constituted one of the most ambitious, if unintentional, public service campaigns about the dangers of looking at the sun. NASA and several medical associations tried to get the message out that there was nothing fake news about solar retinopathy (although, okay, not in those words).


A solar eclipse can make your eyes burn. Here’s when to put on the glasses.

President Donald Trump looks at the sun

President Donald Trump squinted and pointed at the exposed sun on August 21, 2017.
Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images

On August 21, 2017, Trump took a few glances at the exposed sun, seemingly unfazed by the sun. warnings from ophthalmologists and its political leaders. With a grimace at the corners of his mouth, he narrowed his eyes at the sky. His goggles, which he then put on, were tucked in his jacket pocket.

“Don’t look,” an assistant shouted from below.

Too late. A meme was born.

Here’s what added fuel to the fire: Hours before the president even came out, a user on the social platform X, then known as Twitter, posted a pair of fake satirical messages. New York Times news alerts claiming Trump ‘suffered permanent eye damage’ after watching solar eclipse, says, a company that collects and studies Internet phenomena. In 24 hours, this tweet from @leyawn received tens of thousands of likes and retweets.

“It was kind of like a Nostradamus pre-meme about something that would later become a meme,” said Don Caldwell, editor-in-chief of Know Your Meme.

And in true meme fashion, it took on a life of its own. THE cover page of the New York Daily News the next day, one of the photos was captioned “Not too bright!” »

President Donald Trump squints during solar eclipse

One Twitter user seemed to predict this would happen, adding fuel to the internet meme.
Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Today, the country is in a situation of déjà vu. We are at “decision 2024” and experts believe that Americans will be inclined to make the right choice, thanks in part to these famous images: we are of course talking about the decision to wear solar blinds or not on April 8, when part of the United States will experience another total eclipse.

At first, the photos and video footage of Trump from 2017 made Dr. Ralph Chou unhappy. Chou is a Canadian who led the international charge to develop safety standards for solar eclipse glasses. But looking at the sun during an eclipse is actually a common weakness, he said, and sometimes too strong a temptation to veto.

Crushable speed of light

“The Donald was no different from anyone else in that regard,” Chou told Mashable.

He added: “It just highlights that no one under the sun is immune to this sort of thing.”

President Donald Trump holds up his eclipse glasses

President Donald Trump, alongside first lady Melania Trump, shows the crowd that he does indeed have solar eclipse glasses.
Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images

In the broad political genre of memes, most are used by detractors, with the intention of portraying their opponent as incompetent or inept. But on the web, a viral photo can immortalize a moment — and its impact can be much more than just a punchline. It can even unite a population around a common idea.

For example, looking directly at a partial eclipse is not wise?

“Memes are very powerful tools for spreading messages, feelings and tribal connections,” Caldwell said. “There are all sorts of things that memes can do, and I think this one probably had a lot of those things.”

The moon will sweep its shadow over the continent as it passes in front of the sun on April 8, beginning on the west coast of Mexico, extending from Texas to Maine, entering Canada through Ontario, and exiting the continent through Newfoundland . Major U.S. cities located in this corridor, known as the “pathway of totality,” will include Dallas, Indianapolis and Cleveland.

When – and only when — the moon completely obscures the surface of the sun can people on the way remove their protective glasses without risk of visual impairment or blindness.

The role of the retina is to convert light into electrical signals for the brain. When a person looks at the sun without protective sunscreens, the radiation can easily overload the retinas. As a result, the cells begin to undergo chemical attack and heat up to the point of frying the tissues.

“It just highlights that no one under the sun is immune to this sort of thing.”

Some people think that as long as they take a quick look, everything will be fine. But experts say several short glances throughout the day can be as harmful as one long stare. Some people also believe that if their eyes don’t hurt, they haven’t caused any damage. But the retina has no pain receptors.

President Donald Trump installs filters for solar eclipses

And the goggles continue.
Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Regardless of how people understand the message about potential eye injuries from the sun, it seems to be working, based on how White House spectators reacted to Trump’s momentary slip, Chou said.

“I also heard a lot of people remind him immediately, as soon as they saw what he was doing, ‘Put your glasses on, put your glasses on,’ and he did it,” Chou said. “For once, he actually listened.”

The question now is whether he will wear the protective glasses of the April 8 election campaign.

“It should be on one of those betting sites: Is he going to see the eclipse again?” » Caldwell said. “I wonder what the upside would be.”


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