Matt Damon (L) and Gene Hackman (R).

Paramount MGM

‘You can be a different person after the pandemic’ meme imagines a brand new identity

A brand new you.


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Published Apr 12, 2021   Updated Apr 12, 2021, 1:08 pm CDT

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is on the horizon (although the reality is a bit more complicated), and many of us are already starting to imagine just what a post-pandemic life might look like. We’re already looking to embrace the new: We’re trying new things, changing our hair, changing our wardrobes, and…changing our faces?

Featured Video Hide

Well, probably not. But in the case of a new meme, we’re using movies and shows that include plots of shedding identities and even faces to express just how different we’ll be on the other side.

Advertisement Hide

It all started last week with the publication of a New York Times opinion piece titled “You Can Be a Different Person After the Pandemic.” Adapted from The Atlantic staff writer Olga Khazan’s book Weird, it’s a look at just some of the ways our personalities might shift and change after a year in lockdown: We might strive to be more extroverted, make more of an effort to be on time if we were chronically late, and be driven to experience new things after getting a new lease on life.

It’s a fascinating piece. But if you’ve seen it come across your feeds over the past couple of days, it’s probably because you’ve seen the headline out-of-context. Instead of a flat-out dunking, people are largely running with the prompt that we could be entirely different people after the pandemic.

Advertisement Hide

But soon, we didn’t just start imagining who we might be, whether it be sincere or as a joke. We started to loop in many movies and shows that play around with changing identities. One of the early examples was Matt Damon’s Tom Ripley, who pretends to be Dickie (Jude Law), the person Ripley’s supposed to convince to come back home.

Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), who fakes her own disappearance and plans to frame her husband Nick (Ben Affleck) for her murder, is another clear example.

Advertisement Hide

But as more entries, from Mad Men and Face/Off to Black Swan and Joker
Advertisement Hide
Advertisement Hide
Advertisement Hide
Advertisement Hide

You even had several different Simpsons variations on it.

Advertisement Hide

We’re all looking to put a new foot—or face—forward once the pandemic ends. Who knows what that might look like! But it’s not over yet, so be sure to still wear a mask over that new identity.

Share this article
*First Published: Apr 12, 2021, 12:51 pm CDT