In case you thought the saga of Zack Snyder’s fabled Justice League cut couldn’t get any more absurd, the film’s first official trailer has ended with Jared Leto’s Joker saying “we live in a society.” The line has long been a meme associated with the Joker, but until now no iteration of the character has actually said the line.
According to its Know Your Meme page, “we live in a society” is a line associated with the Gamers Rise Up/Gamer Joker meme that arose around 2016, when Leto’s version of the Joker was first revealed. The meme features different versions of the Joker, as well as photos of various people wearing their own versions of Joker’s makeup, paired with edgy or cringey text.
“We live in a society” is one of the most common iterations of the meme, with the line apparently originating from a 1991 episode of Seinfeld. The line has since seen broader popularity outside of the Joker-specific meme, though it was still associated with the character enough that a petition to have Joaquin Phoenix say the line in the 2019 Joker movie gained almost 60,000 signatures.
While the meme is often used to make fun of comic book nerds, the line appearing in the Snyder Cut is meta enough that its fans apparently don’t care. Reactions have ranged from disbelief to appreciation of what some see as high-level trolling on Snyder’s part. Leto is also playing into the meme, with his retweet of the trailer simply reading “we live in a society.”
The actual line in the trailer doesn’t copy the meme exactly, with the Joker telling Batman “we live in a society where honor is a distant memory,” but the intention is still clear. The Joker didn’t appear in the original cut of Justice League, and it’s unlikely he’ll have a large role in the Snyder Cut, as only a few minutes of new footage was reportedly filmed for the cut.