EUGENE, OR—Detailing the cultural origins of an icon that is now most closely associated with Nazis, a historian told reporters Wednesday that Pepe the Frog actually dates back thousands of years and has a rich, storied history as a Hindu religious symbol. “Long before his appropriation by white supremacists and antisemites, Pepe could found adorning Hindu homes, temples, and shrines,” said University of Oregon professor Murray Stewartson, noting that many Americans who visit India are shocked when they see tapestries in which the anthropomorphic frog is inscribed upon the hand of Ganesha. “I remember when I first saw a Pepe the Frog hanging in the home of one of my Indian friends. I thought, ‘Hey, you have to take that down. Don’t you know what that means?’ For me it was synonymous with a right-wing hate group. Thankfully, my friend noticed me staring at the frog, and he soon set me straight.” Stewardson went on to explain that, in Sanskrit, the word Pepe roughly translates to “Feels good, man.”
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