The Washington Post

Hey Girl: Paul Ryan Gosling is back

Maybe it’s their clear blue eyes or their impeccable levels of fitness or all that pillow-talk about fiscal conservativism .... no, definitely not that. But the Internet wants what it wants, and right now, it wants a hybrid of sensitive hunk Ryan Gosling and VP-pick Paul Ryan, now in the form of two Paul Ryan Gosling memes.

View Photo Gallery: The 42-year-old Wisconsin Republican is the chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Gosling, of course, has long been the subject of a meme featuring brooding photos of the actor paired with captions (often beginning, “Hey girl. . .”) designed to melt women’s hearts. Gosling has been a good sport about it, giggling about his viral fame on MTV.

“Hey Girl, It’s Paul Ryan,” which parallels the actor’s and the politician’s boyish good looks, began in a just-as-complimentary way in May as a Tumblr created by Emily Zanotti, Lyndsey Fifield and Lindsey Dodge. They described themselves as “a few 20-something women who think fiscal sanity and conservative values are sexier than anything else,” and filled their blog with quips like, “Hey Girl, unlike the debt, our love will never hit a ceiling.” They soon called it quits when Ryan was critical of the endeavor.

But now that Ryan is on the Romney ticket, “Hey Girl, It’s Paul Ryan” is back — and it’s battling a less-than-complimentary rival. @PaulRyanGosling turns the meme on its head, with Ryan voicing unappealing overtures to female voters and undecideds. Such as:

Hey girl, I know I’m only 42, but my ideas on women’s rights are over 500 years old.

— Paul Ryan Gosling (@PaulRyanGosling) August 12, 2012


Hey girl, I don’t believe in global warming. But I do believe in snuggles.

— Paul Ryan Gosling (@PaulRyanGosling) August 12, 2012

The Gosling meme has gone through several iterations, and the most prominent of them, “Feminist Ryan Gosling,” got a book deal. Paul Ryan Gosling — who, at this point, is becoming sort of an evil twin to Feminist Ryan Gosling — is also spreading the word about Ryan’s policies via Tumblr. The flattering Paul Ryan Tumblr gets more reblogs than the unflattering one — but the unflattering Twitter account has 21,000 followers and counting.

Which Paul Ryan will persevere? “I am your American dream” Paul Ryan? Or “Hey girl, I’m pro-life. But not necessarily yours” Paul Ryan? In this meme-off, there is already one take-away for Ryan, a lesson learned earlier this year by Hillary “Hillz” Clinton, which embraced the “Texts from Hillary” blog: When it comes to flattering viral jokes, politicians shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts.


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