Everyone please give a warm round of applause to the New York Times, which arrived in the year 2017 this week in a big way. The paper of record published its own version of the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme on Wednesday, using the characters to represent Fiat Chrysler, Renault, and Nissan. (Fiat Chrysler and Renault are about to merge, sorry Nissan.) Fun!
Seeing this meme in the wild brought me equal parts joy and pain. On one hand, a meme in print! What a treat. On the other hand, the meme has long since been played out. The two models in the photo did interviews at the end of summer in 2017. The photographer spoke out. In October, it was a choice Halloween costume. And then, as with all memes, we moved on.
Well … almost all of us. Earlier in 2019, a different stock photo from the same shoot with the same models popped up on a billboard in Hungary for a campaign pushing “traditional families” in an attempt to increase birth rates. Anyway … tl;dr the Times published a big ol’ meme today. As you were.