Rick Perry’s mugshot-heard-round-the-world was taken yesterday, and there is really almost nothing to distinguish it from any other stylish, handsome-looking headshot taken of the longest-tenured Governor of Texas. (Though he’s not wearing his recently-acquired signature glasses.) He wears a dark suit and a smart blue tie, holds up no numbers, and gives a practiced headshot-taker’s confident smile—they even got him from his best angle.
Even if Perry’s picture really just looks like any other photo of the man, it’s still the mugshot of a sitting governor with a national profile who’s been a meme at least three times before—when he debuted his “Strong” ad in 2012, after a photograph in which he appears to be pouting while the rest of the table is laughing during last month’s meeting with President Obama, and “oops,” a joke that never seems to go away. In essence, the picture was a big, smiling target for the Internet, and the Internet was quick to take its shots.
Thus was born the Rick Perry mugshot remix, which flooded Twitter for a few hours on Tuesday night. The images ranged from the silly to the—well, to the sillier and sillier. Former Onion editor-in-chief Baratunde Thurston launched what may have been the first salvo shortly after the image hit the Internet, and it was off to the races shortly thereafter.
Better Rick Perry mugshot pic.twitter.com/ucR0GI5GPB
— Baratunde (@baratunde) August 19, 2014
— Wylde (@WyldeRottie) August 20, 2014
looking forward to next season tbh pic.twitter.com/1rEIDiaOox
— darth™ (@darth) August 20, 2014
The images quickly went from “let’s photoshop funny things onto Rick Perry’s mugshot” to more surreal. New York-based journalist Dana Rasso noticed a similarity between Perry’s mugshot and the headshot of “Addicted To Love” singer Robert Palmer on his greatest-hits album:
— A. V. Cook (@AVCinFLA) August 20, 2014
Perhaps the finest—and most complicated—mugshot meme came from conservative talk radio host Artist Angie, who put Perry in a t-shirt with Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s mugshot (which kicked off the chain of events that led to the Governor’s indictment) on it—while Lehmberg wears a t-shirt featuring an image of Macaulay Culkin wearing the t-shirt that the former child star made of Ryan Gosling wearing a t-shirt of Culkin’s face. It all gets pretty meta and Inception-y down here on the Internet, y’all).
Rick Perry’s Mug Shot. I can’t be the only person hoping this happens. Right? Perry > Rosemary< Culkin< Gosling pic.twitter.com/vmGFKBeHcP
— AngieSenseiofSass (@Artist_Angie) August 19, 2014
Ultimately, it’s not hard to imagine that Governor Perry isn’t getting a kick out of the attention. He’s managed to challenge current title-holder Jeremy Meeks for the “handsomest mugshot” trophy, and he proudly followed-up the inconvenience of having to have his picture taken with a trip to Sandy’s Frozen Custard on Barton Springs Road in Austin to cheer himself up—and, presumably, his supporters who wanted to see a defiant response from the Governor. Any day that ends with custard and countless people photoshopping a picture of you in which you look pretty good can’t be that bad, ultimately.