On Tuesday, September 12, author, philanthropist, and content creator John Green mobilized his fanbase — Nerdfighteria — in a video about overpriced tuberculosis test materials.
He called upon Danaher, a multinational corporation, and its molecular diagnostics company Cepheid, to reduce the price of their GeneXpert testing cartridges, which are the most highly recommended TB test option by the World Health Organization, but are too costly for many middle- and low-income countries.
“Tuberculosis has killed over a billion people in the last 200 years, and we’ve made very little progress in ending it because both testing and treatment remain out of reach for millions,” Green explained in his video.
“This year, of the 10 million people who will get sick with TB, about 4 million people will go undiagnosed, often dying before they can get an accurate test.”
His call to action? To convince Danaher and Cepheid to reduce the cost of their testing cartridges to $5 a pop, following in the footsteps of the Time For $5 campaign, initially created by Doctors Without Borders and Treatment Action Group.
So, Green and his army of activists took to the internet to engage with Danaher and Cepheid — and they did so in the way they do best: With memes.
Though this community organizing is designed to confront a deeply heartbreaking and rage-inducing reality about infectious disease, Nerdfighteria reminds us that activism comes in many forms — and engaging respectfully and with levity can inspire people to get involved and make a difference.
The communications advisor at Doctors Without Borders, Shailly Gupta, tweeted to express her gratitude for Nerdfighteria, too.
“So glad to see [the] fight for TB tests and medicines taken up [by] @johngreen and nerdfighters!” she said. “Thanks for posting these super cool messages/videos/memes.”
These messages, videos, and memes are at the heart of John’s call to action.
“I am disappointed that Danaher is currently choosing profits over people, but I don’t think it’s inevitable. I think that most people, most of the time, want to do what is right,” Green said in his video. “They just sometimes need polite but impassioned reminders of what’s right.”
Here are some of the most bold and iconic memes from Nerdfighteria & John Green about the fight to pressure Danaher to drop tuberculosis test prices —
The language and content included in the memes below are those of the original poster and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Good Good Good or its staff.
The Wild Goose Chase
It seems that Nerdfighteria has no problem squawking after Danaher shareholders in the name of global health.
Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to face reality, but activists are committed to ensuring that Danher — and its employees and supporters — know the truth.
The Jealous Partner
Actually, thinking about the implications of corporations on global health seems like a green flag.
Disgruntled Bus Driver
Don’t make Nerdfighteria touch the sign.
Nerdfighteria says it’s time to get serious.
An Optimistic Approach
Nerdfighteria dares Danher to hit the big blue button.
The Nail-Biter Of A Decision
Nerdfighter Danny replied to Danaher, saying “tough one, guys.”
Everyone’s Least Favorite UNO Player
Advocates are curious… what if Danaher just didn’t draw 25?
A Quick Apology To The Social Media Team
While grassroots activists are unapologetic about their mission, they do feel bad about spamming social media and admin teams in their pursuits.
A Match Made In Heaven
Nerdfighteria is dreaming up what it could be like if Danaher decreased prices.
A Novel By John Green
A play on Green’s best-selling novel “The Fault in Our Stars,” advocates put the blame somewhere else.
Taking The Minion Approach
In an effort to reach the generation most likely to hold Danaher stock or have decision-making power within the corporation, Nerdfighter Payton kicked things off with a series of Minion memes.
Reverting To 2011 To Get The Point Across
Okay, maybe some Nerdfighters didn’t have minions on deck, but what about some of the most ancient relics of Internet culture?
Finally, A Reminder That Activists Have Had "Kenough"
Because if John Green can connect tuberculosis to “Barbie,” he definitely deserves a new job title, too.