Quarantine memes might be the only thing that is making navigating the excruciating existential angst even a tiny bit feasible. As always, memes speak both to the micro/macro of this odd universal experience of death, economic collapse, and isolation we are all experiencing. Bless them. I’m almost one hundred percent positive that we are the virus memes actually started popping off from people who really do carry those beliefs (the majority of the first posts were later proved to be false) later, of course, to be repurposed by edge lords (love u edge lords) who would share mocking versions of the original viral posts, only to then be shared across the board in the universal domino effect of memes.
This one is probably my favorite I’ve seen, I love 9/11 memes though so I’m a little biased. I do think that with any meme format its final conclusion is always a 9/11 meme, but more thoughts on that another time. The meme below is an example of one of the first posts I saw going around, which truly people initially in their shock and panic I’m sure were like “oh sweet, something not awful!” This was done very light-heartedly, not really thinking about the strange ideological implications of the post itself (and its many sibling posts).
The sudden popularity of these posts led very quickly to the rightfully critical ~nature is healing we are the virus~ meme that has actually lasted quite some time considering how quickly memes fall out of the public mind. In the first few weeks of the pandemic, these odd posts were shared (again later being found out to be fabricated) which feels odd to be pushing the idea that having fewer humans around is a good thing when a global pandemic is actually killing people, which in a country such as the United States it is mostly killing people who are essential workers (the working class) and due to systemic and environmental racism it is disproportionately impacting communities of color…. anyway, so clearly these posts have eco-fascist ideological underpinnings. Luckily in typical left fashion, the response was to make fun of it, which led to many funny memes.
Many of the memes really went next level with the environmental aspect, which I love and to some extent, there are critiques layered throughout of consumerism and pollution under capitalism that exists. These two memes above are good examples of this meme, both referencing the lockdown/people not being out while also mocking the fact people really bought into the original posts. It’s also interesting that they were both done about a month apart, so you can see how the meme still really is staying popular, despite there being several memes that have simultaneously circulated. I think this is because as we go further into the pandemic, weird eco-fascist arguments aren’t just going to go away and these memes really pinpoint the problem of not prioritizing peoples’ lives, both as a society and across governments globally that are simultaneously embracing a herd immunity instead of taking care of their citizens.
I love this crocs one too, again a sucker for crocs generally but come on! It’s so good! A play on crocodiles and a reference to everyone’s favorite shoe that they also hate! Either way, it seems that we are the virus memes are here to stay for the pandemic, as people get more and more frustrated with the overall state of things.