The MTA released its updated masking policy on Instagram, outlined in a new and controversial graphic. (all screenshots Valentina Di Liscia/Hyperallergic)

In a “there are very fine people on both sides” kind of move, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) released new masking guidelines this week that amount to — literally — “you do you.”

The MTA’s new graphic campaign says masks are “encouraged, but optional” and calls upon us all to “respect each other’s choices.” These choices include wearing a mask, wearing a mask the wrong way (“you do you”), and also not wearing a mask at all. If you can’t afford Broadway tickets, just get on the subway, folks, because it’s anything goes!

As previously discussed this week and backed by 95% of activity on the internet, there is nothing that cannot be processed by meme-making — but this new MTA campaign is just begging for the meme treatment, and the meme treatment it has received.

A meme shared by @ArtvWar
Meme by @rafaelshimunov
Meme by @rafaelshimunov

Memes circulating online since the MTA’s announcement yesterday satirize the government agency’s unbelievable suggestion that riders wear a mask in the center of their face with equally nonsensical interpretations of other activities; for example, discouraging smoking, but also endorsing crack smoking as a “you do you” option, depending on what you’re into. And good news: The subway fare is also optional! Well, at least according to one meme.

This truly puzzling new take on subway mask mandates particularly stings, as it is an evolution of the original campaign which encouraged people to, you know, stop spreading a highly infectious disease while in extremely close quarters.

We are DONE taking care of each other. Only the strong survive! (The strong also die.)

A meme by @memekriot

Not only has this new campaign compromised the concept of mutual aid on the most basic level, it has also ruined “Yes, yes, you do you, yes!” which is my signature catchphrase in bed. Luckily, since restrictions seem to be a thing of the past, I can go back to my true kink, which is licking subway poles. God bless America!

Meme by @hanolliver

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Sarah Rose Sharp

Sarah Rose Sharp is a Detroit-based writer, activist, and multimedia artist. She has shown work in New York, Seattle, Columbus and Toledo, OH, and Detroit —...

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