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After US oil prices dropped below $0 for the first time in history, people made memes about becoming oil barons

FILE PHOTO: The sun is seen behind a crude oil pump jack in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, U.S., November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Angus Mordant

  • US Oil prices on Monday fell below zero dollars for the first time in history, with the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil plummeting.
  • As news about the negative price spread, people began to make memes about the low prices.
  • Topics included purchasing barrels of oil with pocket change, deciding to become an oil baron, and highlighting items that were more expensive than a barrel of oil. 
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In a historic drop as a result of lack of demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil in the United States slid down to a cool -$40.32 on Monday. Despite an agreement made earlier this month by OPEC Plus, a coalition of oil-producing countries, to cut production by nearly 10 million barrels per day, prices have continued to free fall amid a lack of demand due to the pandemic. A negative price means that some traders and even producers may pay people to take oil off their hands, but as of Wednesday, prices have rebounded.

Of course, people took to Twitter to share memes and comments on the price drop, with many expressing fake sympathy for the industry or talking about becoming an oil baron at a cheap price. Oil itself has become a broad cultural signifier for the United States' interventionist policies and has already shown up in meme culture, frequently used to comment on US foreign policy, as Mashable reported in March 2018.

 

Now, people are memeing the low oil prices. Some expressed a lack of sympathy for the plummeting prices, making fun of oil companies or making remarks alluding to the industry's ties to lawmakers.

 

Many compared the prices of commodities like toilet paper or Netflix against the price for a barrel of oil.

Some realized that this might be the perfect time to buy up oil and become an oil baron. 

 

Others simply mused over the possibility of buying up some oil.

 

One person made an absurd, recombinant meme that appears to celebrate the oil price drop, combining a few viral elements: the "Caramelldansen," a Swedish dance track popular in anime fandom, the character Chika Fujiwara from the anime "Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War" dancing in the background, and a moving graphic from the "Coffin Dance" meme featuring an oil barrel, all superimposed on top of a graph depicting plummeting prices.

Perhaps, one meme suggests, oil companies should simply adopt streetwear branding to send their prices skyrocketing once again.

Overall, the trend is testament to the fact that all facets of the pandemic and its global impact are fresh meme fodder.

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