Concern over a theoretical World War 3 is high, and people are expressing their anxiety through memes.
Following a drone strike carried out by the United States that killed two prominent Iranian officials, many Americans are concerned. People took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the matter and quickly turned to memes to communicate their feelings. Unsurprisingly, the waves of WWIII memes now sweeping the web are not sitting well with everyone.
good morning to the west coast pic.twitter.com/NniquMnDTg— C.D. Carter (@CDCarter13) January 3, 2020
Most of the memes poked fun at fear of getting drafted. Many draft-aged users are expressing their fear of the draft through funny, but ominous, posts. “Me after I fake my death to avoid getting drafted,” one user captioned a video.
Other memes centered around millennials and Gen-Z joking about their general lack of preparedness for war.
As the WWIII memes picked up speed online, they were met by a swift and fierce backlash. Disapproving users chided memers for their nonchalance, and for using memes as a “coping” mechanism. “Stop saying ur making memes about war as a ‘coping’ method,” one user wrote. “Every single one of u will be fine the people of iraq and iran will continue to suffer u people have nothing to be fucking coping for.”
stop saying ur making memes about war as a “coping” method every single one of u will be fine the people of iraq and iran will continue to suffer u people have nothing to be fucking coping for— ahmad (@uhhhhmad) January 3, 2020
so funny that americans think they CAN cope over this with jokes ... what the fuck are you coping? you’re not going to die and your homeland will not be destabilized. you are not in a position to cope by any means.— nam🐀 (@dearestcowboy) January 3, 2020
also, all world war 3 jokes are inappropriate. this war will not be fought on us soil. you will not be affected. this is not about american lives.— porg (@EFFLORESCENE) January 3, 2020
“War is not a fucking joke,” another user wrote. “It is a destructive and selfish act. 4,424 U.S. soldiers and an estimated 600K Iraqi civilians died in the Iraq war over WMDs that did not exist. So please stop with these #WWIII memes and instead call your Congress members and tell them #NoWarWithIran.”
War is not a fucking joke. It is a destructive and selfish act. 4,424 U.S. soldiers and an estimated 600K Iraqi civilians died in the Iraq war over WMDs that did not exist. So please stop with these #WWIII memes and instead call your Congress members and tell them #NoWarWithIran.— Ryan Knight 🌹🌅 (@ProudResister) January 3, 2020
americans joking about commiting more imperialism and genocide in another country and saying 'it's a coping mechanism' is peak 2020 and we're literally only two days into this year https://t.co/Lf0XgkUtnD— indie (@INDIEWASHERE) January 3, 2020
Accusations that Black users, in particular, were at the center of the influx of memes suddenly shifted the focus for critics. Some started going after Twitter users of color, heaping criticism on their tweets for not taking the situation seriously. “Honestly, I’m not believing a lot of you right now when you say that war is not funny,” one user shot back at critics. “Twitter is such a performative space, I find it likely that many of you are declaring how unfunny Black Twitter is just for some retweets. All of it is pretty disgusting at this point.”
Honestly, I’m not believing a lot of you right now when you say that war is not funny. Twitter is such a performative space, I find it likely that many of you are declaring how unfunny Black Twitter is just for some retweets. All of it is pretty disgusting at this point.— Zalika U. Ibaorimi, MA (The Final Girl) (@ZalUIbaorimi) January 3, 2020
I know how this space works. We all do in fact. Literally combing over other folks tweets to see how well you can chastise and “educate” folk about war, to get more likes and retweets. The jokes are pathetic and so are some of you.— Zalika U. Ibaorimi, MA (The Final Girl) (@ZalUIbaorimi) January 3, 2020
A lot of Black liberals are so used to playing the oppression olympics that they now want to equate Black folks experience here with that of folks in the global south, living under the bullseye of the worlds most lethal military. Pls don’t do this.— Bae Guevara (@Kaimandante) January 3, 2020
Black Twitter, meanwhile, remained entirely unfazed by the criticism. “All of black twitter chillin in jail when we refuse to go to war,” one user wrote.
“we really shouldn’t joke about the war-“— elijah ✨ (@elijahsalright) January 3, 2020
black twitter: pic.twitter.com/3N00VP6AMt
I dont know why people thought black Twitter wasnt about to get these jokes off about #WWIII. Black folk even had jokes when they was IN the last world war lol. They spelled Hitler name on an artillery shell like it was a Starbucks cup 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/ScuxUWc61W— Cognoscente of Cognomens (@ShimminyKricket) January 3, 2020
“We goin to war soon”— tj detweiler (@QuannyBeenJiggy) January 3, 2020
All of black twitter: pic.twitter.com/tcPJnGy2Ky
America: If Y’all Dont Enlist Y’all Not getting Y’all Tax Money— Granddad “Bitches” Freeman (@Krib7) January 3, 2020
Black Twitter: pic.twitter.com/wa1Kajx3a3
All of black twitter chillin in jail when we refuse to go to war pic.twitter.com/wv94VyBJ5s— Damion🌴🤟🏾 (@butl3r__) January 3, 2020
Everybody Else: Oh my god, WW3 is coming, we gotta fight this.— 𝙰𝙻•𝙴𝚇 ™👩🏾💻 (@OnyxScholar21) January 3, 2020
Black Twitter: pic.twitter.com/tvVX4mYGvH
As of press time, the memes show no sign of slowing down.