New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie‘s infamous Independence Day weekend beach photos are the stuff meme-makers dream of.
Since he was captured Sunday by NJ Advance Media photographer Andrew Mills heartlessly sunning himself on a state beach he had closed to the public, Christie and his folding chair have been cut and pasted by internet jokers into everything from the beach scene in “From Here To Eternity” to the deck of the Starship Enterprise.
So hats off to best-selling Chicago born-and-raised author Brad Thor, who created the viral image of the news cycle by reversing the usual rules of meme-making.
Instead of chopping Christie out of the picture and reinserting him into an alpine scene from “The Sound of Music,” or blowing him up to 100 times his normal size to rule, Godzilla-like, over the Jersey Shore, Thor had the original image subtly doctored to add a copy of his latest thriller, “Use of Force,” into Christie’s hands.
“I think I’m the only one in America not mad at #ChrisChristie,” he wrote in the tweet accompanying the photo, which had been liked more than 62,000 times as of Wednesday morning.
“My designer and I were chuckling about how the only thing missing from a perfect day at the beach was a Brad Thor book,” Thor, 47, told Chicago Inc.
His designer quickly knocked out a digitally altered version of the picture, said Thor, who added that it was his designer’s inspired decision to pixelate Christie’s crotch.
While Thor has not met Christie, he is pals with a cop on Christie’s security detail, who has shared his books with the governor, Thor said.
Most people got the gag, he added, “but some people were so worked up about Christie shutting the beach that they were telling me ‘You’re right, you are the only one who isn’t mad at him,'” he said. “They should get off Twitter and go to the beach!”
Alas, Chicago’s beaches are a trek for Thor these days. He moved to Nashville, Tenn., three years ago, blaming rising downtown crime and high taxes imposed by Illinois politicians who “treated me like I was their personal ATM.”
“At a certain point, Tina Turner looked at Ike and said, ‘I’m getting out of here,'” he said, making an analogy between a battered wife and Illinois taxpayers who leave the state.
Among his grievances with the city he still loves, he said, were that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and then-police Superintendent Garry McCarthy closed North Avenue Beach on Memorial Day in 2011, citing high temperatures, though many Chicagoans believed that the violence plaguing the lakefront that holiday weekend was the real reason for the closures.
“That was a bunch of malarkey!” Thor said.