‘Meme fever’ arises in Brazil as citizens cope with political crisis

World Today

In Brazil, people may have found a way to vent their political frustrations—through funny images of internet memes. So many memes are popping up in Brazil that one university created a virtual museum to study this internet phenomenon.

CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco shared this story from Rio de Janeiro.

Follow Lucrecia C. Franco on Twitter @LucreciaFranco

While many Brazilians have taken to the streets to protest their government millions more are taking to their electronic devices. They’re unleashing their frustrations through online memes. It’s an explosion that is now studied academically.

‘Meme fever’ first swept the internet during former president Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment trial last year and it has not cooled down.

This is why Fluminense Federal University in Rio de Janeiro created Brazil’s first Meme Museum—it’s the brainchild of Viktor Chagas, a media studies professor.

“I think Brazilians discovered the power of political satire and that explains the flurry of memes,” said Professor Chagas of the Fluminense Federal University. “It is like everyone could be a political cartoonist.”

Chagas’s virtual meme museum aims to preserve the memory of these troubled times in a country that has some one-hundred million social media users, about half its population.

“It’s a way to join entertainment and politics in a moment when the history of Brazil is being written and it is not a good one,” said Gilson dos Reis, a meme creator.

The most popular meme at the museum depicts President Temer, who has single digit approval ratings, as Dracula in the shadows during daytime. It is for now, they say, the best way Brazilians can laugh away their troubles.