Open up Instagram, TikTok or Twitter and you’ll be hard-pressed not to come across a meme within a few scrolls of your thumb (pun intended).
But if you thought these digital morsels of Gen Z humour were just for shits and giggles, you’re actually mistaken.
In fact, meme humour is a coping mechanism for Gen Zs desperately trying to cope with an incredibly depressing state of affairs.
A VICE Media survey conducted during the height of the coronavirus pandemic found that almost three-quarters of Gen Zs (72%) said memes helped them cope with restrictions and lockdowns.
And frankly, nothing seems to be off-limits.
Many memes make light of dark topics like depression, suicide and self-harm, nihilism, environmental apocalypse, and existential crises (aka Gen Z dread).
Gen Zs even created a meme-pseudonym for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin called ‘Vladdy daddy’ and went to town creating memes to take the edge off the prospect of adding World War Three to their uncertain futures.
But does this go too far?
It depends who you ask.
Sixteen-year-old Lena, from Poland, was critical of the ‘Vladdy Daddy please no war…’ memes in an interview with Reuters.
“I don’t think that people that live far away and see it only as a meme or as a joke should be joking about it because it’s a serious situation,” she said.
On the other hand, another Gen Z tweeted, “(We’re) just memeing our way through the apocalypse.”
“Telling our silly little jokes.”
And as Happy News pointed out, “of course, the tensions between Russia and Ukraine are no laughing matter”.
“But it seems that joking about Putin’s looming threat of war is the world’s way of dealing with the situation.”
Each to their own, perhaps?