Jokes and Memes during the time of ourbreak

Andreas J. Pratama

Resilience of the people are tested in these difficult times. Jokes and memes are flung and strewn all over the internet. Memes are quick expressions based on popular culture icons, screenshots, and phenomenons; their disemmination varies and personalized according to the makers. Context changed very swiftly with each posts. This change of context is what makes memes represents the surface-deep reactional perspective of people.

Given the highly swappable context, meme pulled anything it pasted into reference as additional message that spice up the interchangable context. This corona meme below for example adds into the already dire situation of corona pandemic with an additional disease, the purpose ofcourse is a play of imagery from the advertising industry where corona beer is often portrayed with a fresh slice of lime on the bottle opening.

Memes are never limited to simply the swap of context and jokes. Their main mission, when examined deeper, is to laugh at our own or others’ peril. A truly depressive culture we live in today, in which the canis canem edit (dog eats dog) mentality and the savagery of internet culture surfaces through these merciless digital renderings.

Arthur Schopenhauer used the term “Schadenfreude” in his essay On Human Nature, to highlight how much humanities savor schadenfreude – to laugh at the misfortune of others and it is diabolical. The argument is further strengthened by Susan Sontag in her book Regarding Pain of Others, Susan believed that schadenfreude is like a two-edged blade one that promotes sympathy / empathy while at the same time they may indeed become a window of viewing pleasure for the condescending. Would we like it or not, the schadenfreude is embedded within us all and it is embedded into our nature as being. One that signifies that as a race we have grown nihilistic and grown accustomed to taking masochistic pleasures of inflicting pain on others but oh dear God, it feels good to judge sometimes, doesn’t it? Such is the current state of reflection on humanities ever sinking morality.