J. Robert Oppenheimer / Oppenposting meme example depicting a 4chan post.

J. Robert Oppenheimer / Oppenposting

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Updated Dec 06, 2023 at 03:48PM EST by Philipp.

Added Apr 19, 2023 at 11:04AM EDT by Philipp.

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About

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.

Origin

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.[1] 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).


This is Fluffy He is the destroyer of worlds. NOW L AM BECOMEDEATH DESTROYER OF THAT ME LIKE!!! 7 years old me after peeing on an ant colony Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds

On January 23rd, 2019, Tumblr[2] 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).


Now I am become sleepy, the goer to bed'" 2 J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the after drinking warm milk 5 "Now I am become BART, the SIMPSONS -J. Robert Oppenheimer PY

Oppenposting

On November 23rd, 2020, an anonymous 4chan /tv/[3] 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).


23KiB, 640x480, 3D6734B6-CB85-4424-9A3D- DE69AE9B7C27.jpg View Same Google iqdb SauceNAO Trace Anonymous Mon 23 Nov 2020 15:35:29 No.142528726 View Reply Original Report Quoted By: >>142528814 >>142529472 >>142529942 >>142529981 >>142530612 >>142530645 >>142530684 >>142531526 >>142531571 >>142532056 >>142532203 >>142532349 >>142533130 I am become things you people wouldn't believe [90/21/56] Anonymous Mon 23 Nov 2020 15:37:27 No.142528814 Report Quoted By: >>142529981 >>142528726 >nooo you can't just bomb the cityrinos and save millions of citizens!!! they should have waited until the emperor was eating dead peasants so they would capitulate!! Anonymous Mon 23 Nov 2020 15:41:54 No.142528991 Report Kino face Anonymous Mon 23 Nov 2020 15:51:57 No.142529451 Report Quoted By: >>142529981 >>142530020 >>142536024 OH GOD... I AM BECOOOO0000000OOOMING.... Anonymous Mon 23 Nov 2020 15:52:23 No.142529472 Report >>142528726 Is this the birth of an epic new meme?

On November 28th, an anonymous 4chan user used the image in another /tv/[4] thread, with another user posting[5] a Soyjak version of it (shown below, left). On April 11th, 2021, a 4chan[6] user captioned the image with a humorous version of the "I am become Death" quote (shown below, right).


Anonymous Sat 28 Nov 2020 11:48:15 No.142759796 Quoted By: >>142760049 >>142762685 >>142757905 >they'll give him a onions mouth. Why wait? 1608051443061.png 124 KB PNG >I willingly helped inventing the most destructive weapon on earth and now I feel bad about it how could this happend to mee AAAAAA I have become deatherino

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[7] subreddit, where it gained over 3,300 upvotes in two years.

On April 26th, 2022, the movie news Twitter[8] 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[9] user @EasimerNull posted a screenshot of the tweet, gaining over 2,100 retweets and 22,900 likes in roughly one year.


I hate this corny n---- so much "Hey want to come build a big bomb for us?" "Okay sure" "AAAAAAAAAAAA NO I KILLED A BUNCH OF PEOPLE HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN WOE IS ME I AM BECOME CHUCK THE SNEEDER OF FEED"

In the following months, the post was reposted multiple times.[10][11] For example, on December 20th, 2022, Twitter[12] 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/[13][14] board made humorous using promotional images of Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer (shown below). The trend, which achieved viral popularity on the /tv/[15][16] 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).


View Same Google iqdb SauceNAO Trace MV5BNmNkNWU5NzUtNmVkNS00ZDE2LTg0 (...).jpg, 47KiB, 1536x864 Anonymous Tue 14 Feb 2023 12:24:38 No.180570448 Replies: 71 Bomba? View Same Google iqdb SauceNAO Trace +MV5BNmNkNWU5NzUtNmVkNS00ZDE2LTg0 (...).jpg, 47KiB, 1536x864 Anonymous Sun 12 Feb 2023 20:26:38 No.180508719 Replies: 4 >asian... folk? View Same Google iqdb SauceNAO Trace MV5BNmNkNWU5NzUtNmVkNS00ZDE2LTg0 (...).jpg, 47KiB, 1536x864 Anonymous Sun 12 Feb 2023 20:03:37 No.180507991 View Report because they bum go...le boom? View Same Google iqdb SauceNAO Trace MV5BNmNkNWU5NzUtNmVkNS00ZDE2LTg0 (...).jpg, 47KiB, 1536x864 >bum.. >boom? View Report Anonymous Sun 12 Feb 2023 11:38:45 No.180490867 Replies: 18 View Report View Same Google iqdb SauceNAO Trace MV5BNmNkNWU5NzUtNmVkNS00ZDE2LTg0 (...).jpg, 47KiB, 1536x864 View Report Anonymous Sat 11 Feb 2023 22:40:56 No.180472662 Replies: 7 View Report >bum....go boom? 128KiB, 1472x864, 0B9680AD-F505-42DA-9501- E689C7875B2A.jpg Anonymous Thu 06 Apr 2023 03:37:28 No. 182647200 Quoted By: >>182647431 >> 182647665 View >>182647719 >>182648684 >>182648831 >>182648890 >>182649026 >>182649653 >>182650363 >>182650410 >>182650638 >>182650954 >>182651029 >>182651105 >>182651296 >>182653764 >>182655979 >>182656058 >>182656278 >>182656648 >>182656693 >>182658355 >>182659808 >>182660173 >>182661333 >>182661408 >the bomb... exploded?! I Anonymous Thu 06 Apr 2023 06:09:16 No. 182650276 Quoted By: >>182650389 >>182650977 >>182651037 >>182651754 >>182651985 >>182656584 >>182656767 >>182661011 >>182661537 >>182662148 >They've used me... Now I realize, too late, what Project Japslayer Megabomb was truly about

Various Examples


Anonymous Tue 11 Apr 2023 11:20:47 No.182867533 Quoted By: >>182867571 >>182867604 >>182867676 >>182868915 >>182870022 >>182870030 >>182870262 >>182871750 >>182872799 >>182873616 >>182873784 >>182873870 >>182874285 >>182874331 >>182877399 >>182879247 >>182883242 >>182883508 >>182883932 >>182884019 >>182884424 >>182884628 >>182885750 This summer... >*Gangnam Style beat starts playing* Doctor Oppenheimer... >*OP, OP OP OP* Is about to find out... >*OPPEN HEIMER STYLE* What being "the bomb"... >*AYYY SEXY LADY* Is all about... >*OP, OP OP OP* >*YOU KNOW WHAT IM SAYIN-* >*music cuts out* >"My le bomb..... le killed people...!?!?" >*cuts across the table to Truman* >"Well, I wouldn't exactly call them people..." >3 seconds of silence as they stare at each other >*music cuts back in* >*OP, OP OP OP* >Letters float up onto the screen, spelling OPPENHEIMER >*OPPEN HEIMER STYLE, UH!* >Rated PG-13 brett @bretuwaru "Mr. President... I have blood on my hands. It turns out Project J---Killer 9000 was a weapon of terror, not a resolver of peace..." "Never come back into my office ever again you stupid f------ nerd." 2:55 PM . Apr 18, 2023 94.4K Views . : 72KiB, 1248x754, 1681168342512807.jpg Anonymous Tue 11 Apr 2023 10:18:44 No. 182865722 Quoted By: >>182867923 >>182868230 >>182868461 >>182868472 >>182869804 >>182870278 >>182870290 >>182870322 >>182870653 >>182872520 >>182876037 >>182877165 >>182883502 >>182883680 >>182883730 >>182883945 >>182884089 >>182884413 >>182886497 >> 182886877 >a SECOND bomb?!... >that's insane..... View
2MiB, 1536x864, Friezablewupnamek.png Anonymous Mon 10 Apr 2023 19:45:08 No. 182844412 Quoted By: >>182844439 >>182844637 >>182844726 >>182844808 >>182845038 >>182846431 >>182846608 >>182846657 >>182846861 >>182847753 >>182847788 >>182848010 Frieza blew up ...... Namek? III View oppenheimer when the Bomb that he designed specifically to murder Millions murders Millions

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Top Comments

NoBuddy
NoBuddy

These people have a terminal case of cynicism…

A little bit of context for those who might be interested:

1. Oppenheimer also said he'd do it all again if he had the chance. That's actually the deepest part of the famous Bhagavad Gita quote: it's about following the divinely ordained duty laid out before you without regret or hesitation, even if it's horrible to do so.

Also: Oppenheimer learnt Sanskrit, and his quote is his own unique translation that others have contested the accuracy of.

2. Many Manhattan Project scientists never thought the bombs would actually be used – they (Leo Szilard in particular) assumed that they would be demonstrated, and used as a threat. A number of them wrote to Truman urging him not to use them.

3. It was unclear just how close or far the Nazi and Imperial Jap nuke projects were, but they did have nuclear programs (Soviets too, but they were way behind). The fear was that if the Allies didn't use it first, they would, and they would do far worse…

4. There is no upper limit to how large a yield you can get from nukes, and it was known even before Trinity that there would be absolutely nothing stopping us, theoretically, from building effectively planet-sterilising nuclear weapons, and many were designed, such as Teller's 10 gigaton 'Sundial', which is still highly classified. Letting the Genie out of the bottle in combination with arms race escalation was (and is still) a very real fear.

+76
Deli Mage
Deli Mage

I'm I the only one who feels that Oppenheimer is getting ragged on a bit too much. Like look from his perspective, the nuclear bomb is inevitably going to be made and he had the ability to have at least some input in how they gets used. You rather you sit by idlily and watch other people with a lot of more malicious intent make and use nuclear bombs or do something to have at least some sway in how people view these nuclear bombs. The man is just expressing remorse over a tragedy that he was involved in but what was inevitably going to happen nevertheless if he wants it to or not.

+72

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