WASHINGTON -- Before he was Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul D. Ryan was a prominent congressman, an intellectual leader of the GOP and, of all things, a stand-in for actor Ryan Gosling in an Internet meme.
“Hey Girl, It’s Paul Ryan” takes the Wisconsin representative and, with a bit of wordplay, turns him into an Internet sex symbol. Take, for example, this photo of Ryan, with the caption, “Hey girl, you know I can’t inflate our love … and that would just devalue it anyways.”
The site started when Emily Zanotti, an account services director for a Chicago-based communications agency, and two friends, Lyndsey Fifield and Lindsey Dodge, drew a connection between Ryan’s stories of bare-handed “catfish noodling” (popularized by the New York Times) and the pre-existing “Hey Girl” meme featuring Gosling. After making a few images, they decided to start the site in May, never expecting it to be met with such popularity.
Zanotti, the unofficial spokeswoman for the group, made clear that there was no political motivation to the posts.
“There is already a wealth of partisan negativity, spin and misinformation in politics. You can get cheesy jokes about Paul Ryan’s position on any number of issues anywhere,” she said, “We tried to be funny first, and positive, and judged our success on whether our liberal and our conservative friends found it funny.”