When you think of Vladimir Putin you might think of that photo where he’s riding that horse without a shirt on like he’s some kind of romance novel cover star. His whole rep is built on manliness. Strength and dominance is his entire thing (not unusual for dictators), and that’s a large reason Donald Trump and so much of America’s right-wing look up to the guy so much. Somebody who doesn’t really look up to him is President Obama, like, literally, as this attention-getting photograph from the G20 summit proves. At 6’ 1” Obama basically towers over the 5’ 7” Putin. Of course height has absolutely nothing to do with leadership skills or how somebody will do as the head of a country, but the stark difference in height has surprised a lot of people. When combined with the tense stare down shared by the two, it’s easy to see why this photo caught on so quickly earlier this week, and why it eventually inspired one of Reddit’s Photoshop battles.
That’s right: We’re not actually here to talk about the heights of world leaders or how good they are at staring contests. All we care about is how this photo was quickly adapted and exploited by the semi-anonymous, photo hacking jokers at Reddit. Viral folderol like this can play a valuable role in not losing your goddamned mind in this increasingly noxious and depressing year/decade/century. So take a look at some of the best of the best of this particular Photoshop battle, and also check out the original Reddit thread, where you can find these images and more—including the original photograph.