The question is whether or not we respond with empathy to the real fears of people who never had our best interests at heart.
Every so often, a dank meme appears with big pandemic energy, spreading exponentially until suddenly it's everywhere.
Such was the case with "OK Boomer" and so seems to be the trajectory of "Boomer Remover," Gen Z's new term for the coronavirus.
It started, like many memes, with a single Tweet:
According to writer Bailey Carlin's familial grapevine, middle school students have been referring to coronavirus as the "boomer remover." Naturally, Twitter saw this and immediately lost their collective sh*t.
"Boomer remover" quickly became the top trending topic in the United States.
But while the term has an obviously jokey air to it, there's also a very serious undercurrent of anger beneath the surface. Even a perfunctory scroll through related posts reveals an overwhelming number of people who genuinely feel like the boomer generation has destroyed the world for younger people. And while they might shroud their generational rage beneath the guise of humor, there does seem to be some real sentiment that the coronavirus might be the karmic reckoning that boomers deserve.
In truth, there is some irony at play amidst all of this pandemic horror. 53% of American voters over the age of 50 voted for Donald Trump (compared to only 35% of voters under age 24), and now Trump is bungling medical efforts to respond to a virus that has the highest chance of killing older people.
But does that mean it's fair to joke about a situation that has many people fearing for their lives, especially when not all of those people even support the awful policies that have left America entirely unprepared to handle a wide-scale health crisis? After all, the boomer generation isn't a monolith. 44% of people over 50 still voted against Trump.
We're in a very precarious position, culturally speaking (not to mention, in every other regard). The past four years have been an absolute nightmare for many young Americans. Faced with crippling student loans, rampant underemployment, poor healthcare options, lack of resources, etc., etc., etc., Gen Z and Millennials have been loudly crying out for help. In response, we have been called entitled and disrespectful by the older generations, told to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps as they vote against our best interests again and again and again. Of course, all of this is generally speaking. There are plenty of awful millennials and plenty of wonderful boomers. But social media is oftentimes a reflection of the overarching social conscience, and thus reflects generalities.
The question isn't really whether or not "boomers" deserve the coronavirus, the "boomer remover." The question is whether or not we respond with empathy to the real fears of people who never had our best interests at heart. Finding the right answer might not be so cut-and-dry. Even those of us who find divisive behavior uncouth shouldn't be so quick to ignore the pain and anger that has built up within younger generations over the past few years, as older generations have continued to spit in their faces and disregard their very lives.
Even worse, while many young, healthy people are self-quarantining for the greater good, too many older people are still viewing COVID-19 as a big media joke.
"For me, that would've just extended my vacation," said the same retiree from the above tweet, in reference to her annoyance over her cruise being canceled. "As long as someone was feeding me and changing my bed, I would be fine...People are too worried. The flu has killed more people than the coronavirus, and people haven't been as concerned over the flu."
Her sentiment, full of passive disregard for whatever low-wage workers need to risk their own safety feeding her and changing her bed in the face of a pandemic, is exactly why so many younger people hate the older generations. Oftentimes, it seems like they only care about themselves, other people be damned.
So while boomers may be fuming over the Boomer Remover meme, perhaps they can use their quarantine time for a little introspection. Regardless of whether anyone is right to use such a divisive, dark meme during such a trying time, the anger behind it is more than justified.
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Production on the end of the world has been a mess since day one
With June of 2020 nearly here and no sign of the final cataclysm we've been promised, it's beginning to seem like The End Times will forever be near, without ever being upon us.
While the early phases of civilization's collapse into a burning hellscape were promising, progress on the more dramatic culmination of armageddon has been repeatedly stalled by restructuring, miscommunication, and the high rate of turnover within the ranks of the Great Old Ones' loyal subjects.
"The slow burn is great and all," said John Knӕlgghyrt, née Phillips, who was briefly the high priest of Cthulhu's Dark Order—prior to being scooped unceremoniously into his lord's tentacled maw—"but trying to get the big stuff done has been a real challenge." The main struggle he points to is the lack of cohesion and structural order among the death cult working haplessly to hasten Earth's return to a state of desolation and chaos. "It's like herding cats sometimes. Insane, death-obsessed cats."
The greatest threat to the human race has always been our own bodies.
Our vulnerability to infectious diseases has caused the greatest calamities in recorded history, from the Black Plague to the astounding threat still posed by the common flu. But behind each health catastrophe is a story of blind greed or hubris, with humans spreading diseases due to rampant consumption, ecological destruction, or just plain ol' bureaucracy. Such is the case with the coronavirus, which, despite emerging in humans only recently, has made historic disruptions to everyday life. The World Health Organization recently declared the virus a pandemic, in addition to being a global emergency.
Luckily, we have movies to turn to in times like these to educate us on how to survive (and prevent) a global pandemic. So what can we learn from virus outbreak movies?
Contagion is an especially relevant thriller that follows the global spread of a deadly virus, along with researchers' attempts to contain and cure the disease. As the plot progresses across several lines of perspective, we witness the mass social disorder caused by the pandemic.
But the real twist comes at the end, when we see the virus' source [SPOILER]: A bulldozer plows through a Chinese jungle, which disturbs a bat that infects a pig, which is then handled by a chef who doesn't wash his hands before shaking hands with Gwyneth Paltrow, who is Patient 0. So the lesson here is that the virus is entirely humans' fault for engaging in deforestation, and also wash your f*cking hands.
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