On Friday, March 31, local meme-generating Facebook page SGAG posted this on its Instagram page:
Which turned out to be a bit of a public snafu.
Instead of the usual "relatable humour" that SGAG strives for, where in comments on posts, people often tag friends whom they feel will identify with their content, this post stirred up noticeably more negativity.
Most of the comments were calling out SGAG for being religiously insensitive, although some did defend them, claiming it wasn't intended to offend.
And they have a point.
This is not the first time they have added captions to religious pictures, either.
In fact, two days ago, they posted this:
And nobody really made a fuss, despite it also being in the same vein as the post in question.
Now here's the thing: the act of captioning old portraits or images with current sayings has been a thing for years now.
So, what's the big deal?
Well, the big deal, according to those who called SGAG out, was that the picture they used for the most recent meme was a portrait of Jesus Christ after being crucified.
Which is quite a bit different from St Peter walking down the street, and in the context of the painting above, healing the sick with his shadow.
Is it offensive?
Again, there is no hard and fast rule to this question.
SGAG took down the post within an hour, so they probably saw some merit to the complaints.
Although they appeared to rebel a little with their next post, which was also semi-religious in nature:
You can tell the post was deliberate, because they dug through their pre-brand change posts to find something vaguely religious.
The bottom line, though, is that SGAG isn't a Charlie Hebdo-esque entity that tries to push the boundaries of societal norms to see where humour is allowed to exist.
Quite the opposite actually, as they seemed to have made not even the slightest of contextual references to the original portrait's intent.
A possible example of doing that, in relation to the Crucifixion portrait, in particular, would be:
"He'll be fine in about 3 days la."
Which might be considered offensive as well, but at the very least, the reader is aware that the meme poster understood what he was satirising.
Is there an actual stance taken here?
In fact, you could even make the case that SGAG doesn't even have a real position on a lot of issues at all.
For example, here is their passionate take on Amos Yee getting slapped in front of court in 2015:
Wow, much morals.
And here is a video on Twitter they posted literally less than three hours later, making light of the situation by placing the "Thug Life" meme at the end of their video.
Ouch! Amos Yee has just been served the THUG LIFE! pic.twitter.com/ugZJUmPWGs— SGAG (@SGAG_SG) April 30, 2015
So where do they stand? A likely simple answer: wherever they think there is populist comedy to be mined.
And the outrage over the original Instagram post seems to have blown over now, likely in part because they aren't meant to be taken too seriously.
SGAG is, we suppose, just lucky they aren't an impressionable 16-year-old making edgy videos. We take those people incredibly seriously.
Top photo via SGAG's Instagram page