It seems to be common knowledge that PHP is a terrible language and that it's not enough to simply avoid it, but to signal your position with memes to make sure you are "a full member of the web dev world". But what is behind this weird behavior?
When PHP gained popularity in the late 90s, it wasn't perceived as a full programming language. Back then, the acronym stood for "Personal HomePage" Tools and was more like a capable template engine than anything else. Additionally, the concept of a "web language" was more or less unknown: something that only does this new internet thingy? How can we take that seriously? With this background, the first wave of "PHP hate" came from programmers that saw PHP as a cute yet inconsistent tool for hobbyists. And arguments pointing out structural weaknesses were usually founded and mostly based on comparison to compiled languages. End of story? Not so fast!
So were are we now? PHP8 has grown into the fastest interpreted language with all features one could desire without transpiling or compiling and without the dependency-hell and installation time of i.e. node. However, every week we find a new "PHP go home" meme on our wall and beginners are actively discouraged of giving it even a glance. These beginners have grown into mid-level, sometime senior developers without ever having given PHP a look yet tweeting about the superiority of "their" solution as if it was grounded on anything else but the generation before them preventing them from making up their own mind.
In a time were serverless devs consider themselves as full-stack and bootcamps selling the idea of being a reputable developer after 14 weeks, we live in a world where express developers are under the illusion that they are using a superior technology and therefore have the "right" to look down on PHP. And not only is that far from the truth, but it also makes them look really stupid or at least uneducated. Whenever I encounter a candidate or student laughing at or bashing at PHP, I always ask if they can explain their distaste. And the answers are always embarrassing and only show their limited understanding of technology in general.