When the history textbooks write about 2020 — the (first) year of coronavirus, a heated election and the beautiful “WAP” — they’re going to need archival photos. Really, how are they going to illustrate Election Day without some hot leftist dropping it low on page 475? How can they discuss the pandemic without sexy toilet paper spon-con?
Future generations of horny middle schoolers in 2070 need someone to simp over in American history class. That’s where Zoomers on TikTok come in, posting thot pics for the (history) books as the world burns. Because when the government’s inefficiency on climate change cuts your life short, maybe textbook publishers will at least pick you for the cover.
With the possibility of violence looming regardless of election results, storefronts have boarded up and the National Guard is patrolling 16 states. To cope with civil unrest in a year that’s already seen historic protests and riots, Zoomers are miming selfie poses with duck faces, peace signs and sorority girl squats while carnage is green-screened behind them and bombs fire off.
They caption these videos with darkly funny scenarios: “Me during a national crisis making sure I don’t lose my Snapchat streak.” Others are pretending to be influencers pivoting to chic combat shopping hauls: “This camo is perfect. Totally goes with war vibes,” TikToker Debbie Ruiz says in her video.
This trend originated in January when World War III memes first surged after Trump had Iranian general Qassem Soleimani assassinated. They returned again in March at the start of quarantine. Now they’re back once more, as first-time voters in college and high school brace for a contentious election that will decide their future.
It’s odd to think that our Instagram selfies, TikTok dances and blurry Snapchat pictures captured during a pandemic and political unrest will one day be considered archival footage. But maybe this real-time content for friends and followers will one day be dissected by high schoolers on standardized test questions about the Trump era. “Who is to say my TikTok isn’t going to be a discussion-based question on the AP exam someday?” J.D. Sollie, 22, tells me. “This perfectly captures what life is like right now.”
Why shouldn’t our thotty election selfies live on in heavy Cengage textbooks? “Textbooks provide visual material, and the thought of me submitting selfies during a hypothetical war was dumb,” says Quincy Gonzales, 21. So that’s exactly why he posted.
On an app known for clout chasing and going viral, no TikTok video can match the readership and legacy of appearing in a McGraw-Hill textbook that generations of fourth graders will finger through instead of paying attention to their teacher. “It’s all satirical and not serious. My video being irreverent during a historical moment is something I, personally, find funny — as well as 10,000 other people,” Gonzales says.
Big-budget retellings often lead us to believe that the people who suffer in wartime and civil unrest are defined only by their tragedies. But in every era of history, people had nuanced lives: Art flourishes, families celebrate holidays and dumb hots stay dumb and hot.
It’s only right, then, that we honor both our heroic and himbo ancestors by continuing the legacy of being both modern-day activists and online nihilists. “If I’m going down in history as a ‘shitposter,’ then so would millions of other people,” Gonzales says. “My generation, [even] with our cynical jokes, is making change and an impact. We sometimes do it with comedy.”
I hope my 19th-century ancestors in the Irish Potato Famine are happy with the himbo Zoomer that’s come to claim the family name.