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‘Parasite’ has reemerged as a powerful source for class-warfare memes during the pandemic

The best-picture winner has proven so “metaphorical” during this time of quarantine and tragedy. Get used to it.

‘Parasite’ has reemerged as a powerful source for class-warfare memes during the pandemic
[Photo: Neon; raphaelsilva/Pixabay]

In the dwindling days of the prequarantine U.S., perhaps around the time you last set ass in an actual movie theater seat, the president was laser-focused on the country’s most pressing issue: not understanding why Parasite won best picture at this year’s Oscars.

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Had the president paid closer attention, or perhaps read Fast Company’s explainer on why Parasite was best-picture-worthy, he might have understood more about what was to come. (The word “might” is doing strenuous work in that sentence.)

Parasite, after all, has already proven to be enduring cultural shorthand for economic disparity—and fans are using it during the pandemic to put the upper class on blast.

Even before Americans locked themselves in for quarantine, the film had already etched itself deep into the cultural consciousness. During the tail end of the political primary season, people were already projecting Parasite everywhere stark class-based contrasts exist. (So, basically everywhere.)

Once the pandemic hit and everyone had to hunker down at home, Parasite became a factory full of meme-fodder. As celebrities began spreading the message that “We’re all in this together,” more and more people who were just scraping by or worse couldn’t help noticing the difference in what being “in this” meant to the wealthy.

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Indeed, the quarantine has revealed that some of these celebrities’ houses actually resemble the Parasite house to a T—something that has not escaped the notice of the film’s many fans. Those in the know have made a go-to meme out of merely mentioning the basement in these tastefully gaudy digs.

At this point, in fact, there’s probably no obnoxious move that ridiculously wealthy public figures could make during the pandemic that wouldn’t get the Parasite meme treatment.

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Fast Company plans to continue monitoring the situation and will add more examples here as they develop. Even though, as Ki Taek (Song Kang-ho) says in the film, “Life cannot be planned,” you can count on this.

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