On March 23, about two weeks into our current shared nightmare, the Trump administration deployed a new method to assuage the fears of the American people. The President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, delivered this message, and it seems that the administration believed her smooth voice and calming presence would be a good vessel for people to hear the truth about the virus’ true impact on our country.
So, Ivanka donned her best pantsuit and posted a video from her home office. She used business jargon and motivational phrases to try to keep American spirits high. Twitter user, @calebsaysthings, decided the video could be quickly summed up with a popular Twitter format.
@calebsaysthings, like many other Twitter users, has been trying to pass this seemingly endless time in the only way people our age know how: making fun of things. Nothing is too close to home for people on Twitter to make fun of, and many people who grew up spending time on the internet say they are almost desensitized to anything they can’t make fun of.
Coronavirus is the final frontier of meme culture. Something so serious and horrific, but simultaneously a goldmine for jokes and memes. When the virus first hit the scene, it was prime TikTok fodder, and teens would make videos with quick punchlines. However, as the virus became more concerning, and the death tolls rose, it seemed as though the jokes would have to end soon. Now that the virus has completely hit the United States, it has become apparent that the memes will not only proceed, but they will have a new target.
Joking about the government is not new. In fact, the pillars of comedy are based in jesters making fun of kings and queens right to their faces. However, as politics have taken over daily life in a way that is unlike the decades before, many comedians and writers have opted to stay away from the goldmine that is politics.
Coronavirus has made it impossible to talk about, or even think about, anything else, and people have tapped back into using jokes against the government. After CNBC reported that Amazon and the Gates Foundation would be teaming up to tackle the virus in their home city, Twitter user @georgeclaghorn decided to call out the uncertainty many Americans feel from having to look to their local billionaires instead of the government for support.
These “anti-government” jokes are not exclusive to the United States. After Brazil’s government was caught in a confusing collection of lies about whether or not their president had been infected with the virus, @euanmarshall used a tweet to call out his recent life as a journalist covering the flighty administration.
After Queen Elizabeth II spoke out to Britain for the first time since the country was ravaged by the virus, @geekylonglegs tweeted a joke about the British monarchy and its grip on the United Kingdom that has lasted her entire life.
The virus is not over. In fact, it seems to be nowhere near. In this time, all people can do is nap, watch TV and make fun of the people chosen to govern the world’s kingdoms and countries.