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Why You’re Tweeting Jokes About Your Impending, Fiery, Radioactive Death

A collection of apocalyptic jokes, and an explanation for all the heavy words thrown lightly.

Why You’re Tweeting Jokes About Your Impending, Fiery, Radioactive Death
[Source Photos: Flickr user Gage Skidmore (Trump), and SDASM Archives (Nuclear Explosion)]

One of the major criticisms of The Blair Witch Project, a chief progenitor of the found footage craze, is that it was unrealistic to suggest that the lead character would in actuality keep filming the terrifying events of the movie. However, the reason Heather Donahue never puts the camera down is baked right into the mockumentary’s premise. The character clings to her role as documentarian while her woodland romp deteriorates into a certain deathmarch. It’s a psychological defense: If she is making a documentary, her situation can’t truly be as dire as it seems—which is why she keeps filming until the bitter end.

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Your Twitter timeline is probably clogged with jokes about nuclear war right now for a similar reason.

https://twitter.com/JenaFriedman/status/895909907802845184

Since Twitter jokes have become our default setting for processing unsettling news, why should we react any differently as the news escalates from “unsettling” to “apocalyptic”? Making jokes keeps us at arm’s length from the situation. By engaging in a running commentary on the war of words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, we might as well be describing an episode of a TV show, rather than our own potential demise.

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Dystopic jokes and Handmaid’s Tale memes dominated discourse all year, but as the nuclear threat escalated this week, things have gotten serious–and by that I mean, the amount of jokes about nuclear annihilation has reached a serious threshold.

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Some of the jokes have been about specific elements of our potentially impending doom, like the corniness of Trump’s use of the phrase “fire and fury.

Another subset of the nuclear winter jokes have been ones that focus on a fear of not being able to live to see promising pop culture projects come into fruition.

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And finally, another strain of jokes has been all about the insufficiency of making jokes to truly protect us at a time like this.

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How are you coping? Are you really afraid? Let us know on–where else–Twitter.