J. Robert Oppenheimer / Oppenposting
Part of a series on History Memes. [View Related Entries]
[View Related Sub-entries]
PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.
This submission is currently being researched & evaluated!
You can help confirm this entry by contributing facts, media, and other evidence of notability and mutation.
J. Robert Oppenheimer was an American theoretical physicist best known as the "father of the atomic bomb" for his role in the Manhattan Project and for his famous quote from the Bhagavad Gita, "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds," with which he expressed remorse over his creation. The quote has been used in memes since as early as 2003, and starting in 2020, Oppenheimer himself became a subject of mocking posts on 4chan and Twitter, with the trend of Oppenposting gaining more popularity in 2023 following the promotional campaign for the biographical film Oppenheimer.
J. Robert Oppenheimer was an American theoretical physicist. A professor of physics at the University of California, Berkley, during World War II, Oppenheimer headed the Los Alamos Laboratory that designed atomic bombs as a part of the Manhattan Project. While witnessing the Trinity nuclear test in July 1945 shortly before the devices were used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Oppenheimer thought of the verse from Bhagavad Gita, which he famously repeated during a 1965 television broadcast (shown below).
Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.
On August 17th, 1945, one week after the bombing of Nagasaki, Truman traveled to Washinton to deliver a letter to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson expressing his wish to see nuclear weapons banned.
During his October 1945 meeting with President Harry S. Truman, Oppenheimer said he felt he had "blood on my hands," with Truman ending the meeting and later calling him a "cry-baby scientist" and stating that never wished to see him again.
In the years following WW2, Oppenheimer notably opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb.
Use in Memes
"Now I Am Become Death, The Destroyer of Worlds"
Oppenheimer's famous quote "Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds" has been used in various memes since at least 2004 (examples shown below).
On January 23rd, 2019, Tumblr user e-seal posted a recaptioned image macro of Oppenheimer paired with the quote (shown below, left), with the post inspiring a recaption subformat (examples shown below, center and right).
On November 23rd, 2020, an anonymous 4chan /tv/ user posted a line art drawing of J. Oppenheimer, writing, "I am become things you people wouldn’t believe." In the thread, users replied with jokes referencing memes popular at the time, such as Nooo You Can't Just and Coomer (shown below).
On November 28th, an anonymous 4chan user used the image in another /tv/ thread, with another user posting a Soyjak version of it (shown below, left). On April 11th, 2021, a 4chan user captioned the image with a humorous version of the "I am become Death" quote (shown below, right).
The post saw viral spread through reposts online in the following years. For example, on July 26th, 2021, Redditor DehBoi2000 posted a screenshot of the post in the /r/greentext subreddit, where it gained over 3,300 upvotes in two years.
On April 26th, 2022, the movie news Twitter account @DiscussingFilm wrote that films Barbie and Oppenheimer (the latter directed by Christopher Nolan) are scheduled to premiere on the same day, which brought significant public attention to the upcoming film.
Prior to May 20th, 2022, an unknown Twitter user posted a humorous tweet calling J. Robert Oppenheimer "corny" and combining his quote with the Sneed's Feed and Seed meme (shown below). On May 20th, Twitter user @EasimerNull posted a screenshot of the tweet, gaining over 2,100 retweets and 22,900 likes in roughly one year.
In the following months, the post was reposted multiple times. For example, on December 20th, 2022, Twitter user @Wendigoon8 posted the screenshot, commenting, "Oppenheimer may be a great movie, but can it reverse the damage caused by this tweet?" The post gained over 3,600 retweets and 54,300 likes in four months.
Starting in February 2023, users on 4chan's /tv/ board made humorous using promotional images of Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer (shown below). The trend, which achieved viral popularity on the /tv/ board in early April that year, involved mocking the scientist over his imagined incomprehension of the consequences of his own actions (examples shown below, center and right).
 Internet Archive – J. Robert Oppenheimer and the American century
 4plebs – /tv/ Thread #142529862
 4plebs – /tv/ Thread #142757505
 4plebs – /tv/ Post #142759796
 4plebs – /tv/ Post #152205741
 Reddit – Anon has become the destroyer of worlds
 Twitter – @DiscussingFilm
 Twitter – @EasimerNull
 Twitter – @LilithLovett
 Twitter – @VoicesByZane
 Twitter – @Wendigoon8
 4plebs – /tv/ Thread #180472662
 4plebs – /tv/ Thread #181561240
 4plebs – /tv/ Thread #182647200
 4plebs – /tv/ Post #182650276
Apr 19, 2023 at 09:26PM EDT
Apr 19, 2023 at 05:52PM EDT
+ Add a Comment
Add a Comment