Thursday 11 February 2010 | How about that? feed

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Polish newspaper claims 'Pedobear' is 2010 Vancouver Olympic mascot

A Polish newspaper mistakenly identified "Pedobear", a notorious internet meme, as one of the mascots of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

 
The incorrect mascot is on the far right
The incorrect mascot is on the far right

The Gazeta Olsztynska published an image showing the bear alongside genuine Olympic mascots Quatchi, Sumi, Miga and Mukmuk to illustrate a feature about the Games.

It appears that the newspaper lifted the picture from Google Images, unaware that it had been created as a prank by Michael Barrick, a Canadian artist and graphic designer.

Pedobear, who is on the far right of the picture, was originally devised by members of the anarchic 4chan message board as a way of mocking users who expressed a sexual interest in young people.

Since then a tasteless internet trend – or meme – has emerged in which users insert the bear into other photos in a contest to create the most inappropriate composite image.

On his blog yesterday Mr Barrick wrote that online amusement about the newspaper's error had sparked a surge of interest in his artwork, and hinted that the financial burden of the Games on Canadian taxpayers was the motivation for his mischievous creation.

He wrote: "There seems to be a Tweet about this coming up every minute or two. The day before this started I was amused by the 27,000 hits I got in January. Yesterday alone I got 120,000 (with about one third coming from Poland) and today is looking like it will top that by at least double."

He added: "Maybe I'll just keep the money to help cover the price gouging, raised taxes, disappearing arts funding, and all the other "benefits" we Vancouverites are getting from the games that are kicking me in the back pocket."

The four genuine mascots of the Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics were inspired by traditional native creatures.

 
 
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