While You Were Offline: And God Said, ‘Let There Be Harambe McHarambeface’
Whether it’s been Hillary Clinton collapsing because of pneumonia, the shake-up at The Great British Bake-Off, or Donald Trump finally admitting what everyone has known all along, the Internet hasn’t been short on things to have opinions about this week. But say you’ve been stuck under a Wi-Fi-unfriendly rock for the past seven days: what stories would you have missed that you really need to know about? Well, these ones.
Welcome to the World, Harambe McHarambeface. Sort of.
What Happened: For a brief, shining moment, the spirit of Harambe lived on online, but it was just a ghost.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Consider this one a perfect collision of the memes. Perhaps you remember Harambe, the poor gorilla who was killed earlier this year by the Cincinnati Zoo after a 4-year-old climbed into the gorilla enclosure. And maybe you remember Boaty McBoatface, the winner of the UK online poll to name a science vessel, which happened in the same month. You remember both? OK, then you’re fully prepared to learn that a Chinese zoo held an online poll to name a new baby gorilla, and the winning name was Harambe McHarambeface. The news, amplified by Reddit, was quickly shared across the Internet, and—as you should expect—delighted Twitter:
So ‘Harambe McHarambeface’ just won a Chinese zoo’s gorilla naming poll.
I feel we’ve reached peak internet today.😑 pic.twitter.com/hcn7W0kTRe
— I H Laking (@IHLaking) September 13, 2016
“Harambe McHarambeface,” Harry said quietly… “you were named after two of the dankest memes in history.” https://t.co/6lwhQ2p4Jv
— jose de jesus (@Jesusloves_god) September 13, 2016
— This Is Pulp (@ThisIsPulp) September 13, 2016
The Internet named a baby gorilla Harambe McHarambeface, because democracy and the Internet are always a bad combo https://t.co/8x06X5atrj
— Josh Elliott (@joshelliott14) September 13, 2016
There’s only one problem: It’s not actually true.
The hoax, which relied upon people’s combined worst expectations of the Internet and humanity, ended up being debunked multiple times, as if no one could really understand how they’d actually fallen for it. The answer, of course, was simple: for a brief, wonderful second everyone thought the Internet’s tendency for self-referentiality had formed into a perfect whole that would haunt a poor ape for his entire life. It’s what we’ve all been hoping for, all along.
The Takeaway: If we’ve learned anything from this whole mess, it’s that even though this particular Harambe McHarambeface turned out to be a lie, that doesn’t mean that—if we all worked together, towards a common goal—we couldn’t make it happen for real in the future.
Harambe is dead!
Long live Harambe McHarambeface!
— Ruby Weapon (@PeachSaliva) September 13, 2016
This Doesn’t Look Good
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: It’s possible that you’d heard of Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny before this week; she was the 8-year-old who gained some small fame earlier this year after writing a letter to President Obama, inviting him to Flint, Michigan to meet her. That ploy was successful, but it turned out, there was a karmic balance to be had, which would explain what happened to the now-9-year-old this week:
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) September 15, 2016
Yes, Mari met Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. And look at her reaction.
Somebody save this poor child. pic.twitter.com/yUl9La3iOA
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) September 15, 2016
Little Miss Flint wondering how his hands are as tiny as hers.
— Imraan Siddiqi (@imraansiddiqi) September 15, 2016
It was the photo that the Internet couldn’t resist, expressing people’s concern about Donald Trump in a way that words can’t manage. It would be the definitive Donald Trump image of the week, if it weren’t for this:
Fallon: “Can I mess your hair up?”
— CNN (@CNN) September 16, 2016
The Takeaway: Not all photo ops are good photo ops.
On Your Marks! Get Set! Replace!
What Happened: The Great British Bake-Off is moving networks and losing its hosts in the process, which means it’s time for the Internet to step in with suggestions about where the show should go from here.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: You can tell that a TV show has become a phenomenon when news about it switching networks is picked up internationally. (Also, when royalty feel the need to comment on it. Such it was when The Great British Bake-Off was announced as leaving the BBC for Channel 4, leading to an announcement that hosts Mel and Sue will leave the show at the end of this season. (Whether or not judges Paul and Mary are staying on has yet to be revealed.)
Immediately, the Internet en masse had the same thought: Who could replace Mel and Sue as the hosts? Thankfully, it turned out that there were a lot of options, as Twitter shared:
Kevin Bacon and Meatloaf #NewGBBOHosts
— Richard Pulsford (@RichardPulsford) September 13, 2016
— Richard Harris (@cigarboyrick82) September 13, 2016
— Nick Sheridan (@TwitSheridan) September 13, 2016
— Darth Lebowski (@Darth_Lebowski) September 14, 2016
The Takeaway: With the current season only on its fourth episode (good job, Benjamina), it’s maybe a little too early to be talking about the Mel and Sue era in the past tense, as some have pointed out…
— Sam Homewood (@SamHomewood) September 13, 2016
…but nonetheless, they really will be missed. Hey, BBC: We can bake. Just sayin’.
Prepare Yourselves: A New Lady Gaga Album Is Coming
What Happened: Hey, remember Lady Gaga? Twitter does.
Where It Blew Up:Twitter
What Really Happened: After a relatively low-key couple of years, it’s beginning to look like Lady Gaga is making a bid to own the end of 2016. She’s back onscreen in the new season of American Horror Story (although perhaps not as recognizably as some would hope), and, as she teased this week—
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) September 15, 2016
—she’s got a new album on the way, too. It’s her first in three years. But do you think her fanbase is ready for all this new Gagaism?
— Pato | Lady Gaga (@hausofpato) September 15, 2016
— Lady Gaga (@hausoframez) September 15, 2016
— ˗ˏˋ LADY | GAGA ˎˊ˗ (@ROARyals_) September 15, 2016
OK, that would seem to be a yes. Indeed, the Gaga portion of the Internet went on high alert with the news of the new album, from discussing the title (Joanne), to considering Gaga’s choice of headwear on the album cover, to simply analyzing the cover art for clues about what to expect.
— jake (@50ShadesOfGaga) September 15, 2016
As much as we love to snark about the Internet, there’s something genuinely wonderful about seeing fans get to geek out about their beloved favorites. You go, Lady Gaga fans! Embrace the excitement and anticipation of what’s to come! Live the dream, you beautiful little monsters!
The Takeaway: This enthusiasm is great and all, but let’s keep our expectations realistic. It’s way too early to start contemplating a follow-up.
What year will Gaga’s next album be in?
— King Swift (@AHSLadyGaga) September 15, 2016
The Triumphant Return of #CheeseBooks
What Happened: A long-forgotten hashtag made a surprise return on Twitter, but given the puns on offer, it was good to see it back.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter
What Really Happened: Here’s the thing. #cheesebooks, as a hashtag, isn’t even vaguely new. It’s been around since 2012. (A favorite from the olden days: “Paddington Camenbert.”) So what brought it back this week to such an extent that it was the primary trending topic on Twitter? It’s hard to tell, but also, who cares when the rewards are puns like this?
To Havarti and To Havarti Not #cheesebooks
— Jackie Shepherd (@JackieAShepherd) September 14, 2016
Isn’t a wonderful day to play #CheeseBooks? We’ll go first. Jane Gruyere. Now YOU go!
— Little, Brown and Co (@littlebrown) September 15, 2016
A Short History of Paneer-ly Everything #cheesebooks
— Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom) September 15, 2016
— B&N Teen Blog (@BNTeens) September 15, 2016
The Girl With The Dragon Fondue #CheeseBooks
— Christopher Buehlman (@Buehlmeister) September 15, 2016
Are You There Gouda? It’s Me, Margaret #CheeseBooks
— Amy Wang (@ORAmyW) September 15, 2016
The Takeaway: This is the winner, either for inventiveness or sheer dedication to the joke. Six puns in one!
HP and the:
Camembert of Secrets
Prisoner of Parmesan
Goblet of Feta
Order of the Fontina
— Theresa Bourke (@PAL_Theresa) September 15, 2016