Ben Affleck’s Viral ‘Sad’ Photo Phenomenon: The Real Reason Behind the Memes and How the Star is Taking Control of the Narrative!
You know that pic of Ben Affleck that’s making the rounds again? Yeah, the one where he looks like he’s over life. Surprisingly, it’s from nine years ago, but more than 21 million folks saw it on X (formerly Twitter). People are curious about why these Affleck pics keep going viral. Pop culture experts say it’s because his emotions hit home for many people.
Wake up, new Ben Affleck being sick of life image dropped. ☠️ PIC.TWITTER.COM/WYYZZDO1MF
— Dystopic Hippy ✍🏾 (@DystopicHippy) NOVEMBER 5, 2023
One expert, Claire Sisco King from Vanderbilt University, says the memes have a couple of different vibes. Some people love seeing someone like Affleck — who’s seen as privileged and powerful — looking like he’s having a hard time. It’s like a bit of “schadenfreude,” she says. But not all the memes are mean-spirited. For many folks, “Sad Affleck” is relatable because it captures those moments when you feel overwhelmed or just down.
Even his recent trip to the Grammys with Jennifer Lopez got dissected online, with everyone saying he had a terrible time despite what the stars said. Sulafa Zidani, a media studies professor, thinks a few things about Affleck make him the perfect meme. He looks exhausted, which we weren’t accustomed to seeing on celebrities. Besides, his craving for Dunkin’ Donuts provides an excellent, funny touch.
As for why a nine-year-old photo went viral again, Zidane says that happens sometimes with memes but usually on Tumblr. This particular pic fits the pattern of other Affleck mean where he looked like he’s “sick of life,” as one Twitter user put it. But he is just a man in the end. For the most part, every Affleck photo gets the analysis treatment, whether one in which he talks with his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner or just his body language with J.Lo.
Celebrities are aware of the paparazzi, but it’s always hard to be on guard. These moments that get blown up might be a fleeting gesture taken out of context. A yawn could look like distress in a photo. Claire Sisco King explains that these images get re-contextualized with captions and in connection with other pics, so they might not truly represent what happened.
Still, it seems like Affleck is an easier target than some other celebs. People meme Pedro Pascal and Christopher Meloni, but that’s more about them being called “daddy” and “zaddy.” It’s different from Affleck, who attracts attention for looking genuinely down. Zidani thinks it’s because “sad” is more relatable than “handsome.” People find Affleck’s sad pics more inviting to use as memes for their own reactions.
Ben Affleck’s personal life, including his high-profile relationships and openness about his alcohol addiction, might make him more susceptible to dramatic narratives about his well-being. Even if it’s not fair, it happens. Affleck has acknowledged the memes, finding the initial “sad Affleck” meme funny but worrying about what his kids think. Zidani points out that meme culture can be problematic because there’s usually no consent in the meme-making process.
But Affleck is not just a target; he’s also getting in on the jokes. He was in a Dunkin’ Donuts Super Bowl ad and another commercial with Ice Spice. He knows how to incorporate elements from his personal life into his star persona. However, not all moments of him looking sad or frustrated might be what they seem. They could just be moments of typical human emotions getting the best of him under intense scrutiny or pressure.
Despite all the attention, there might be a chance for Affleck to take control of the meme narrative. Zidani thinks the mood conveyed in Ben Affleck memes is so relatable that they’ll keep circulating on the internet. And she suggests that engaging with meme makers might be more wholesome than he expects. If Affleck is reading this, Zidani would tell him that fans making memes might just be excited about relating to a celebrity they like.