HYDERABAD: Putin’s invasion (known as ‘special operation’ in Russian) of Ukraine has cast a genuine shadow of war on a world that had just started to recover from the pandemic. Russia’s nuclear division is on high alert as the doomsday clock (look it up) is probably milliseconds away from midnight.
As a World War enthusiast (past wars only), I have watched countless shows, documentaries and movies on the last two World Wars. If this happened around the 1940s, people would be digging up bunkers, stocking up supplies and spending what could be their last days praying to a higher power.
However, we took this news very differently. My Instagram and Reddit feed was flooded with just two things -- updates about the war and memes. That’s right, memes!! In a situation where the WW2 generation would be digging in for a long haul, we were digging up the Internet for war references. From Putin to Ukraine, how to avoid the draft to nuclear weapons, there wasn’t a single thing that wasn’t covered.
To add to this, the official handle of the Ukrainian government, too, was busy making and posting ‘dank’ memes. How much of that has to do with their current president being a former comedian is open to interpretation. This not only got worldwide young support in favour of Ukraine, but also informed many clueless youngsters about what was happening on ground in simple terms.
At this pace, I wouldn’t be surprised if the new Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare game has a meme-making mission. It’s so hard to imagine Hitler posting memes on Twitter and Mussolini liking them while invading Poland. But I’m not ridiculing the idea completely. When the Nazis were fighting the allies in Europe, they used a whole lot of propaganda to convince the occupied territories that they were invincible. Guess what, it worked. The only way to nullify it was through counter-propaganda -- which sounded exactly like propaganda, but from the other side.
However, memes would have offered an easier way out. I’m convinced two-three good memes would’ve hurt the Nazis more than a plane full of pamphlets showered over Dunkirk (although that would’ve been the only way to distribute these memes back then).
In fact, I think in the present day world, memes have become our coping mechanism. It’s our way of looking at a problem and laughing it off (at least temporarily). The way things are going, there’s a high chance of propaganda divisions hiring a bunch of memers to do their bidding. Can you believe it? Being drafted in the army because your memes are too dank? If that happens, I’m quitting my job as a comedian and switching to the uniform. I heard Ukraine already has a booming market (no pun intended).
(Bhavneet is a stand-up comedian and this may be his new material. His views are personal)