Sizzle This: Is Indian Meme Culture Getting Out of Hand?


Sep 16, 2023


Image Credit: AFP

In ‘Sizzle This,’ The Swaddle team adds to the noise around the pop culture moment of the week. 

The G20 Summit gave us an unexpected outcome: a new ship, apparently. The Internet began meme-ing the Indian and Italian Prime Ministers together, with news outlets calling them the ‘Internet’s favorite couple,’ and reel compilations setting their interactions to the score of romantic music. Meme culture in India can often resemble the Twilight Zone in that very little makes sense and it’s vaguely threatening — but what do we make of two powerful people with openly dangerous politics normalized as humor? Everyone has hot takes on meme culture in India. Here are ours. 

RN: Memes have always been a weird pipeline into right-wing ideology, Indian ones especially so. I’m not laughing at these. Also, authoritarians who stick together…

BG: Sadly, I feel like there’s so much to worry about in this world that memes kind of make it easier to process things (in the weirdest way possible, yes).

SM: I’m truly confused…looks like all the celebrity breakups are making us dream up politician romances. 

HS: In India, we’ve turned political debates into meme battles. It’s like watching Godzilla and King Kong slug it out, but with memes instead of skyscrapers.

AT: It’s a bit weird honestly. Gives me the ick, and it’s also very heternormative. When politicians of different genders with remotely close political ideologies come together or meet it seems that the internet has to ship them. Honestly, it’s just reflective of the mass imagination, its not even ironic  imo.

DR: Birds of a feather often tend to flock together. Often, people point that out, too. And, sometimes, when they see birds of a feather not flocking together, they tend to advise the birds to flock together, or make remarks about how they probably should flock together.

Birds aside, I’d say the silver lining to this dark cloud of the prospect of two people with dangerous politics getting together is that they’ll hopefully not convert other people to their aforementioned politics.

Honestly, though, given all the vitriol that has been directed towards Italy in the past — due to it being the country of origin of yet another political figure in India — I’m finding this ship simultaneously hilarious and serendipitous. 

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Written By The Swaddle Team


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