To be completely honest, I forgot about Harambe. I know this is probably an Internet culture sin, but after his untimely death in late May of this year, the story was in my mind for maybe a week more mulling over the negligence of the mother in the case and the unfortunate death of a contained animal. What can I say? I love animals.
But even I, engrossed in the absurd meme culture of the day, could hot have guessed how much Harambe memes exploded over this past summer. In fact, they’re still going strong! It’s like the Internet itself is a special machine capable of recycling content until it no longer becomes interesting. And I guess this beautiful gorilla is forever fascinating at this point.
Such is the way of the comic to make the dark and depressing funny, sometimes even hilarious. Harambe fits the bill, but the memes are more than that. Simply tweet out the gorilla’s name, and you’re bound to get a reaction of some sort. Decide to make a meme starring the handsome face of the ape, and you have limitless content potential.
You could do the obvious and comment about the story itself. Or you could take to comparing Harambe’s death to some other tragedy or lack thereof. Upset Suicide Squad didn’t do well critically?Say it was shot like Harambe but that the box office was animal heaven with Joker waiting, posing as Cecil the lion, and you’re gold.
Essentially, Harambe and his unfortunate and perplexing Internet legacy shows our obsession with the normal and the rarities of life. Combine the image of a gorilla, an animal everyone knows, and put the backstory of Harambe behind it, and you have the fuel to spread dankness everywhere.
When The Atlantic is analyzing the Harambe meme trends of the season and one of the most popular new hashtags of the day is #DicksOutForHarambe, I think we absolutely have a cultural oddity on our hands.