Black and white image of someone crying into their hands. (Image: Kat Jayne on Pexels.)

Landlord Providing Self-Owns Via Memes as They Complain That Tenants Have Rights

Seizing the means of the memes.
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More radicalizing than any book or exposure to different people in an educational setting (college), this pandemic’s devastating nature continues to highlight the inequities in our society. Many people question (for possibly the first time) what role and power some systems should even play when they are solely focused on profits and a bottom line. Because housing is an immediate need for all, the pushback against bailouts for landlords and banks, as well as the push for eviction moratoriums continue to dominate the conversation.

Back in the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Justice Department even had to issue a public warning to landlords not to require sexual favors for rent. This was not an issue just because of the pandemic, and like many other problems, they continue through even 18 months in. Now, what are landlords up to in addition to raising rents and organizing strikes against potential renters? Making memes, of course, and this one takes the cake.

The dunking caused “Mao’d” to start trending—in reference to Mao Tes-tung, the leader of the Chinese Communist Revolution and considered the architect of the new China. Since the beginning of the 21st century, any talk of equity has been equated to communism, socialism, and any other “ism” that is scary. Fox News and other far-right-wing media programs have shown the culture war (red scare) is alive and thriving in 2021.

To add insult to injury, this image is the second when searching for an image depicting “victim” in Shutterstock (the origins of the graphic.) The real victims are “the hands” in the meme—the people in dilapidated housing, overpriced spaces, and the homeless. Even in my state (Texas), where many people are moving in because it is more affordable, quality housing that doesn’t go above that 30% of our income threshold was on the decline even before the pandemic.

I thought the Scooby-Doo Green New Deal = Communism image shared by Qanon representative Marjorie Taylor Greene on the House floor was going to be the worst meme I saw this week. If someone looks at this image landlord meme and feels empathy, they might have a problem.

(via Twitter, featured image: Kat Jayne on Pexels)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.