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UNITINU (also spelled UNITIИU) is a photoshop meme in which each subject has been mirrored to appear rather ridiculous in bilateral symmetry. Since emerging through a mirrored photograph of the former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2006, the series has grown into an internet legend surrounding the fictional nation-state of UNITINU..
The palindromic name “UNITINU” comes from the first known instance of the series, which depicts the former U.S. State Secretary Condoleezza Rice standing with her hand raised at a United Nations Security Council meeting on August 11th, 2006.
The original news photograph was taken in 2006 by Getty Image photographer Stephen Chernin. The image shows a strong and determined Madame Secretary Rice casting a vote on behalf of U.S. government for the passage of UN Resolution 1701. As a result of mirroring, the official plaque of the “United States” was turned into a non-existent palindromic word “UNITINU.” The photoshopped image first appeared on 4chan’s /b/ (random) board in late 2006.
In the following years, symmetrical UNITINU image threads continued to appear on 4chan’s various imageboards, resulting in hundreds of mirrored images based on photos of public figures as well as popular videogame and anime characters. Some of the more notable threads appeared on /a/ (anime) board in November 2007, /v/ (videogames) board in March 2008, /r9k/ (experimental) board in April 2008 and /b/ (random) board in May 2010.
The meme has since spread outside of 4chan imageboards to other online art communities like DeviantArt, YTMND and Tumblr, where similarly mirrored images can be found under the tag “UNITINU.” Also in October 2007, a Steam Community group named “UNITINU” was created and a Team Fortress 2 server was launched under the domain Unitinu.net. The first Urban Dictionary entry for “UNITINU” was submitted in April 2008:
A meme from late 2006, UNITINU refers to “funny” mirrored images. The most notable of these images is a photo of Condoleeza Rice raising her arms and looking like an evil horde dictator, with the word UNITINU in front of her on the podium.
On February 26th, 2009, YouTuber SirMootles posted a video featuring the original instance of Condoleezza Rice set to a theme from the first person role-playing game Final Fantasy VII. A few months later in May, the video was reposted on the flash-animation sharing community Newgrounds by the user UNITINU.
In addition to its presence in media-sharing communities, there are several Facebook pages and groups dedicated to the original UNITINU image, including the Facebook pages “UNITINU” and “OBABO”, which have accumulated more than 40 likes and 360 likes respectively (as of April 2012). The mirroring technique was also turned into a free application available for Mac OS X by Steven Frank in December 2011.
Inspired by the strange mirrored image of Condoleeza Rice, people began building onto the mythology of UNITINU by photoshopping other political leaders and officials representing various nations in the same manner.