Using memes to cope with (potential) WWIII

Elizabeth Walker, Staff Writer

If you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, maybe you didn’t notice the extreme discord between the United States and Iran, and what could’ve quite possibly been a war that consumed the world. I’m here to talk about something much more important: memes. Not just any memes, no, these memes are priceless tools to help the younger generations cope with the sense of trepidation they feel. Shortly after tensions rose between our country and Iran, teens across the nation began to post funny pictures with captions about the escalating events that some speculated would lead to WWIII, starting the revolution that became the WWIII meme trend.  

Ranging from serious to hilarious and witty, some of these memes truly encapsulated the sense of uncertainty that was held within many hearts during this period of turmoil. A majority of the memes feature topics like avoiding the draft, how Fortnite players would battle on the field, the new year starting off with a war, and references from previous wars involving America, (such as Franz Ferdinand or Japan). Many older people have taken offense to these memes, seeing them as uncouth and disrespectful. The intention of these memes is to merely alleviate the worry, distress, and perturbation that is caused by the mere prospects of getting involved in another big war. 

Whatever your opinion is on the WWIII memes, we can all agree that they do indeed have some positive effects. It keeps Generation Z informed and up to date on all of the current news events around the world. Many people learned what was happening by seeing these memes on their favorite social media source. These lighthearted platforms make this daunting situation a little easier to comprehend and adjust to for the younger generations. I personally found out about all the hubbub on a social media source, and took to some trustworthy news outlets to learn all of the facts. 

These memes can also be coping mechanisms: we all know it’s better to laugh than cry. Many of the kids from Gen. Z don’t know how to cope with the thought of going to war, considering they’ve never seen a full-fledged one take place in their short lifetimes. Capitalizing on their wit and knowledge about current events, they can also creatively use an outlet to work through their emotions. Knowing someone feels the same way they do gives them validation, and it reassures them that everything is going to be okay.

 Furthermore, for people who think they’re going to get “drafted”: the correct term is a conscription notice. Luckily for 18-25 year olds across the country, a “draft” would be highly unlikely, seeing as we are currently fully functioning on a strictly volunteer basis at this point. With this in mind, the citizens of America are not equipped to become soldiers overnight, that’s why we have men and women who spend weeks and weeks of training to protect our country. 

On the popular social media app TikTok, the WWIII memes have been viewed over 1.6 billion times, and shared just as much. One thing’s for certain: these memes are as clever as they are unrealistic.  Whether they’re legitimate worries or not, some of these memes are meticulously researched and so creative that you can’t help but giggle, even a little bit.