World War Memes

Gage Landauer, Feature Editor

Memes are prevalent throughout modern culture and have been since the mid-nineties. They are often humorous ways for people to relate to each other. Madeleine Pownall of The British Psychological Society believes that memes can represent “a unique window into the collective identity of certain participating groups.” Essentially that many societal truths can be gleaned from memes. 

At the beginning of the new year, it seemed one thing was on the internet’s mind: War. With the announcement this January that President Trump ordered the assassination of Qassem Soleimani a slew of anxious new memes were posted. These memes showed a general sense of anxiety at the idea of the draft and a possible third war. And though it’s very unlikely either of these would happen, the fears were of them occurring were at least genuine as the Selective Service website crashed on January 3rd. The Selective Service explained in a tweet what had happened; “Due to the spread of misinformation, our website is experiencing high traffic volumes at this time. If you are attempting to register or verify registration, please check back later today as we are working to resolve this issue. We appreciate your patience.”


Students in Yamhill Carlton High School seem much less anxious. I interviewed seniors Aliya Seibel and Cameran Ricketts about their thoughts on war and memes and they didn’t seem bothered by the situation. Ricketts believes, “Our generation try to make anything funny.” Seibel agreed and added, “they take a bad situation and try to make it into something that would get attention.” 

Psychologists agree that a lot of meme culture is fueled by a need for attention; “There’s also an issue of jumping on the wagon — the feeling that I have to be part of the conversation, I have to remain relevant on social media and be part of the general discussion — at times without really understanding the issue in depth.” Essentially the genuine fear of war is now being overshadowed by the need to seem relevant and funny.