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The #IceBae Meme Captures the Worst of 2019 So FarNormally, a tropical storm in the Atlantic isn't fodder for meme-makers. Sure, the internet is quick to make image macros out of photos of emptied-out supermarkets or Floridians taking inadvisably defiant stands against the weather, but usually that's about it. The tropical storm that formed Sunday is different, though. As it formed, the National Hurricane Center got to the letter K on its list of 2019 storm names, and this year, K is for Karen. A storm got a name; the internet got a gift.
Before we get into why Karen is, to some, the funniest possible name, a caveat in the name of decency: Tropical storms aren't at all funny. Tropical Storm Karen, which has been described by meteorologists as "disorganized," with only a middling chance of becoming a stronger tropical cyclone, is still a threat to lives and property, particularly in Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from Hurricane Maria. That said, Karen is quite literally an unstoppable force of nature, and there's not much anyone can do about it but wait, so it's hard to begrudge people a chuckle. (Please don't hate me, Greta Thunberg .)
More than two centuries of trying to control the Mississippi with engineering and trying to protect New Orleans from floods and storms has made the city more vulnerable to severe weather—which is exactly what gets more likely with climate change .Levees along the Mississippi and its intersecting rivers, as well as channels for navigation and all kinds of other engineering, make the river as important to North America’s economy as it is to the continent’s hydrology.
For the last three years or so, "Karen" has been the internet's stock female antagonist: a righteously annoyed middle-aged white woman who loves coupons, reverse mullet bobs, and, above all else, speaking to the manager. The collision of this well-known meme with an incoming stormfront has generated many jokes.
Most memers focus the manager thing.
Others lean on the haircut.
And some are just seeing the big-picture boon Tropical Storm Karen represents.The meme's origins are opaque, but meme encyclopedia Know Your Meme suggests that it might be a repurposed Mean Girls reference: "Oh my god, Karen, you can't just ask someone why they're white," which became a meme of its own. That quote was directed at a character played by Amanda Seyfried, though, who looks nothing like the "Karen" image the internet typically conjures. That honor goes to the aforementioned Kate Gosselin, erstwhile star of Jon & Kate Plus 8, a sharp-edged middle-class American mom.