The pandemic has turned vacation shaming into a blood sport that has only intensified along with Covid-19’s third surge in the United States. Add in a blissfully clueless celebrity, and you’ve got the making of an instant viral meme.
“After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine,” tweeted Kim Kardashian West on Tuesday, “I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time.”
No sooner had the reality TV personality shared images of her 40th birthday celebration in Tahiti — face masks and social distancing be damned — than the vacation shaming began.
While West acknowledged her “privileged” life, the backlash was swift, as many called out her post as being out of touch and tone deaf. “Hi Poors! I know you’re hurting right now and can’t figure out how you’re going to feed your family, but please enjoy these photos of my family’s expensive vacation!” wrote a Twitter user.
“Happy birthday,” commented the British actress Kelechi Okafor. “I hope someone got you an alphabet book as a gift, so you can learn to read the room.”
Within hours, West’s vacation post turned into a viral meme, as social media users famous and unknown used her misguided quote as a caption for scenes from TV shows, movies, animations, book illustrations and famous artworks.
Comedian Patton Oswalt led the way with a still shot of Marlon Brando from “The Island of Doctor Moreau.”
In Portland, Oregon, the beloved independent bookstore Powell’s Books chimed in with a scene from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.
The Sims tweeted a scene from the video game series.
Marvel Unlimited, the online service by Marvel Comics, also dragged West.
Journalist Ronan Farrow posted Hieronymus Bosch’s vision of hell from his triptych oil painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights.”
Scholastic Books joined in by captioning the cover of The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body.
Even New York’s MoMA took the opportunity to throw some shade.
Finally, the State of New Jersey’s official Twitter handle used West’s quote to caption a scene from “The Sopranos.”