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.
Your Twitter timeline is probably clogged with jokes about nuclear war right now for a similar reason.
2017 Con: We're teetering on the edge of apocalypse.
2017 Pro: I've gotten really good at spelling "apocalypse".
— ⬛️Laid Protester⬛️ (@elsajustelsa) August 11, 2017
Might throw a slumber party for the nuclear apocalypse
— donni saphire (@donni) August 8, 2017
Of course the ONE YEAR I finally achieve my beach body we’re on the brink of nuclear war and no one cares ????
— Lauren Sivan (@LaurenSivan) August 10, 2017
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.
I always knew the end of the world would start in New Jersey
— Chase Mitchell (@ChaseMit) August 9, 2017
the best part about the end of the world is that it's so dumb
— ಠ_ಠ (@MikeIsaac) August 9, 2017
it's the only appropriate end for america to be led into nuclear apocalypse by a reality TV star with an impacted colon. it's happening
— libby watson ???? (@libbycwatson) August 8, 2017
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.
This is the dumbest end of the world ever.
— Rupert Putin (@citizenkawala) August 10, 2017
The world will end not with a bang, or a whisper, but with Trump launching a nuclear war out of insecurity about his micro-penis.
— Nathan Rabin (@nathanrabin) August 10, 2017
what if the twin peaks finale is just the actual end of the world
— nathan e. smith (@trillmoregirls) August 8, 2017
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.”
Fire and fury. Locked and loaded. Alliterated and obliterated.
— Nein. (@NeinQuarterly) August 11, 2017
Seriously though, fire & fury? I never would've guessed the apocalypse would be a blurb on the cover of a Jerry Bruckheimer production VHS.
— (((OhNoSheTwitnt))) (@OhNoSheTwitnt) August 8, 2017
Trump: I just put in a launch code instead of my PIN
Morgan Freeman: & there was fire & fury like the world had never seen
— Brynnester™ (@brynnester) August 10, 2017
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.
The apocalypse can’t happen before I see this movie, thanks https://t.co/I1H8MsxHKx
— Miriam Elder (@MiriamElder) August 11, 2017
I swear to God if you kill us all before Black Panther comes out https://t.co/PfHD9Qp02F
— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) August 8, 2017
Not fair for the world to end before Game of Thrones does.
— Mo Ryan (@moryan) August 9, 2017
And finally, another strain of jokes has been all about the insufficiency of making jokes to truly protect us at a time like this.
The last tweet will probably be some dude mansplaining the apocalypse
— Fred Delicious (@Fred_Delicious) August 9, 2017
I will continue tweeting about how we're all about to die, without thinking we're actually about to die, until I suddenly die.
— Joe Berkowitz (@JoeBerkowitz) August 11, 2017
*opens twitter app*
Time to zing the apocalypse
— Pixelated Boat (@pixelatedboat) August 8, 2017
How are you coping? Are you really afraid? Let us know on–where else–Twitter.