Thoughts and prayers meme.

Thoughts and Prayers

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Updated Mar 28, 2023 at 10:22AM EDT by Zach.

Added Jun 17, 2016 at 03:28PM EDT by Pat Bateman.

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Thoughts and Prayers is an expression of sympathy typically offered toward the victims of large-scale disasters and tragedies. Online, the catchphrase has been widely denounced as a platitude used in place of meaningful action, often mocked in memes and jokes in the aftermath of tragic events.


The exact origin of "thoughts and prayers" is unknown. On February 19th, 2009, MetaFilter[4] user HopperFan submitted a post about the expression, to which user interplanetjanet cited several uses of the term from books published in the 1800s.


On July 21st, 2012, The Inquirer[5] published an article titled "When 'thoughts and prayers' simply aren't enough," which criticized the expression as a meaningless platitude. On November 13th, 2015, a YouTuber uploaded a stand-up comedy routine by Anthony Jeselnik, in which he mocks those who post "thoughts and prayers" messages on social media immediately following a major tragedy (shown below).

The following day, Redditor JusDame submitted a post titled "Thoughts and Prayers," featuring of a screenshot of a woman's Facebook profile picture edited to look a "Pray for Paris" overlay (shown below). Prior to being archived, the post received upwards of 5,600 votes (94% upvoted) and 60 comments on /r/blackpeopletwitter.[2]

red photo. 53 mins IT updated her profile picture. 2 hrs Edited Since nobody wanna show me how to do it

On June 12th, 2016, Redditor michael_kidd reposted Jeselnik's routine to /r/videos,[3] where it gained over 4,800 votes (77% upvoted) and 360 comments within five days.

"Thoughts & Prayers" Game

On June 17th, 2016, programmer Mike Lacher released a satirical flash game named "Thoughts & Prayers: The Game",[1] ironically asking the players to prevent mass shootings with "Pray" and "Think" buttons, while berating the player for clicking the "Ban Assault Weapons" button. The game also has some critiques of GOP politicians in the loading screen.

THE GAME THE GAME START Press T to think and P to pray A CAMEB A R CADE Everyday Arcade, Inc.

NRATV Production Shutdown

On June 25th, 2019, the New York Times[6] reported that the television channel of the gun rights advocacy group the National Rifle Organization (NRA) would be shutting down the live-production wing of the channel and would be parting ways with its spokesperson Dana Loesch. According to the report, the channel only received 49,000 unique visitors in January, and its content had come at odds with some board members. The Times writes:

Some N.R.A. board members and officials were also unnerved by the breadth of the channel’s content, which strayed far beyond gun rights and encompassed several right-wing talking points, including criticism of immigration and broadsides against the F.B.I. A show hosted by Ms. Loesch that put Ku Klux Klan hoods on talking trains from the popular children’s program Thomas & Friends drew outrage from some within the organization.

Following the news, opponents and critics of the NRA began tweeting "thoughts and prayers" at the organization, mimicking the oft-used comments in the wake of mass shootings (examples below). For example, Parkland Shooting survivor David Hogg retweeted the article with the phrase. The post received more than 27,000 likes and 3,000 retweets in two days (shown below, left).

Throughout the day, others mocked the news in a similar fashion (examples below, center and right).

David Hogg @davidhogg111 Thoughts and prayers @DLoesch @stinchfield1776 NRATV 94 OMIC N.R.A. Shuts Down Production of NRATV The National Rifle Association shut down its live broadcasting arm on Tuesday night and severed ties with its estranged advertising firm. 11:07 PM - 25 Jun 2019 Thoughts and prayers @DLoesch Shannon Watts @shannonrwatts BREAKING: Both NRATV and @NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch are over "While the @NRA may continue to air past content, its live broadcasting has ended and its on-air personalities including Dana Loesch - will no... Show this thread 10:40 PM -25 Jun 2019 It's much too soon for us to discuss this. Let's not make it political A good guy with a gun would have stopped it. Thoughts and prayers. Kyle Griffin@kylegriffin1 New: The National Rifle Association has shut down production at NRATV, NYT reports. 10:46 PM - 25 Jun 2019

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