- Mark Zuckerberg appeared in front of Congress last week to answer questions from lawmakers about Facebook’s plans for its Libra currency and its policies on monitoring content on the platform.
- The testimony included an intense exchange with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who grilled Zuckerberg about Facebook’s policies regarding fact-checking political advertisements and news outlets.
- A picture of Ocasio-Cortez during the questioning has been turned into various memes, thanks to her gesticulating hand gestures that are traditionally linked with Italians.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The intense exchange last week between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mark Zuckerberg has yielded not only a video of the Facebook CEO struggling to answer questions, but also a series of memes invoking references to traditional Italian foods and “The Godfather.”
Zuckerberg appeared in front of Congress last week to answer questions about Facebook’s Libra digital currency, which has faced mounting concerns and scrutiny from regulators in recent months. Congressional representatives also grilled Zuckerberg about Facebook’s stance on freedom of speech and its policies regarding fact-checking of ads and news stories.
One of the most memorable moments of the testimony came when it was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s turn to question Zuckerberg about the fact-checking of political advertisements. Facebook currently allows politicians to lie in advertisements, a stance that has received a lot of backlash. The Facebook CEO’s evident struggle to answer her questions yielded a memorable three-minute viral video of Zuckerberg stumbling over his answers as Ocasio-Cortez drills questions at him.
But a well-timed picture, captured by Getty Images photographer Chip Somodevilla, has also produced a series of memorable memes, as first reported by Mashable. The photo shows Ocasio-Cortez mid-question and, as many of us do, using her hands to gesticulate as she speaks.
However, in the exact moment that the photo is taken, Ocasio-Cortez’s hands are both clasped in what I can only refer to as “finger purse” hands. This gesture is something that’s often associated with Italians who are speaking adamantly and loudly, such as Don Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” or “The Sopranos” lead character, Tony Soprano.
The photo has spurred social media users to create memes of Ocasio-Cortez alongside the hashtag #ItalianAOC and captions that reference notable lines from Italian mob movies, classic Italian dishes, and memories that those particular gestures invoke from their own childhoods. There was even briefly a Twitter account devoted to the memes, but it’s since been shut down.
Here are some of the best memes we found using the photo of Ocasio-Cortez during Zuckerberg’s testimony:
One Twitter user was reminded of their own experience of not being Italian themselves, but picking up the hand gesture from the Italians around them.
I feel this *when you’re not Italian but you grew up in an Italian neighborhood in NY* AOC gesture in my soul pic.twitter.com/LEqNiWP3re
— Kellyrose (@rockinrosey) October 28, 2019
For others, the hand gesture has become something readily picked up by fast-talking New Yorkers, both Italian and not alike.
— ????Patti Focus14 DemCastAZ (@olivier_patti) October 29, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez’s gestures were used in many, many references to classically Italian foods.
There’s no clear consensus on whether these hand gestures are meant to express a positive or negative emotion. Here, it seems that a positive response would be appropriate…
When the cannoli has chocolate on one end and pistachios on the other pic.twitter.com/7rGO0UFuy1
— Guinea The Pooh (@hashy_larry) October 28, 2019
… While here, Ocasio-Cortez’s are more obviously meant to emphasise that something went wrong with someone’s recipe using Italian herbs.
— AngryAsian #TheNotoriousRBG #AmericanLegend #Woman (@AngryandAsian) October 29, 2019
But others used the Italian-linked gestures to pull out their favourite quotes and lines in movies, like this one referencing a scene from “A Christmas Story” where the Old Man mispronounces “fragile.”
— Liz (@JustMyTweet) October 29, 2019
Source: TBS on YouTube
Other users referenced “gabagool,” a New Jersey-esque mispronunciation of a deli red meat made popular in “The Sopranos,” and later used by Michael Scott in “The Office.”
When the gabagool is fresh pic.twitter.com/UslFx4OSmO
— It was the Busta Rhymes, it was the worsta rhymes (@Trilliam_Yeats) October 28, 2019
Then there were, of course, countless famous lines from the classic Italian mob movie, “The Godfather.”
— Z-Diddy™ (@Ziggy_Daddy) October 29, 2019
Some Twitter users adjusted some of the most famous “Godfather” lines to make them more appropriate to appear alongside a photo of Ocasio-Cortez. Congress saw testimony not only from Zuckerberg on Oct. 23, but also from officials related to the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
— Connor M. Kelley (@CMKelley___) October 29, 2019
It comes to no surprise that other users also referenced Ocasio-Cortez’s much-discussed Green New Deal proposal for tackling climate change.
— Jeffrey Donston (@DonstonJeffrey) October 29, 2019
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.