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Why World War 3 Became a Meme

1 min read
soldiers raiding a beach

Following the news broke the first week of January, President Trump had arranged the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleiman, among the most rapid responses to emerge amid the surprise and confusion was the memes.

Jokes about the potential fallout of Soleimani’s death proved instantly everywhere. They particularly proliferated on TikTok and Twitter, where hashtags like #WW3 drove significant trends for many days.

Members of the popular internet forum, Reddit, created a subforum called “r/ww3memes” over two decades ago, suddenly saw a massive growth of over 43,000+ subscribers.

You might think this sort of response is juvenile or dismissive, but it is really just a result of the 21st century. Memes operate as exemplars of broader trends, just like how myths and legends were in the past.

In addition to stand-ins for ethnic anxieties and methods to express and relieve fears or other emotions through comedy. The collectivism of memes, also, is a critical part of the popularity, because their visible and rapid spread helps us figure out how we are feeling about some news fad or other matter.

So what are the memes saying?

Teenaged meme manufacturers perceive the Iranian battle and the bigger, more abstract idea of a third World War?

Surprisingly, many seem to demonstrate far less anxiety than you might expect. In actuality, the general tone of the memes boiled down to some sort of cheerful ambivalence about the possibility of war.