Giving Mother Mary Her Gun: St. Javelin and The Ethical Entailments of a Digital Wartime Meme

Robert Glenn Howard (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

At the outset of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, a conservative American social media influencer posted an icon of the Virgin Mary dubbing her "St. Raytheon of the Javelin." Soon, vernacular variations of Mother Mary cradling an American-made antitank weapon flooded social media. Deriving its power by combining two already powerful images--a tool of war and the Christian conduit of divine compassion--some feel she is a sacrilege. Others find her an inspiration. As we recreate, reedited, re-post, and give her our likes, what responsibility do we bear when we participate in giving Mary a gun?

Part of 08-12 Life During Wartime, Saturday, October 15, 10:30 am–12:30 pm