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For years, vigilant members of the American public have been asking: What did George W. Bush know, and when did he know it? Today we can reveal at least part of the answer. George W. Bush knew the mother of Harambe, the gorilla who died, and he knew her in July 1996.
Before Harambe moved to the Cincinnati Zoo, where he was tragically shot dead this year after a small child fell into his enclosure, he lived in Brownsville, Texas, at the Gladys Porter Zoo. He wasn’t yet born when then-governor Bush made a visit to the zoo’s gorilla exhibit, but his mother, Kayla, was there. Dubya got to meet her personally, and there are photos to prove it:
This seems like an awkward coincidence, considering the meme community’s conspiracy theory that Bush Did Harambe.
How do these photos fit into that hyper-ironic, totally wackadoodle narrative? Rich McCormick at the Verge has some ideas:
Perhaps the future president felt slighted during his meeting with the majestic gorilla’s mom, and orchestrated a plan to murder her offspring almost 20 years later? Maybe he spent the next decade finding a suitable baby and imprinting it with a burning desire to drop into the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla enclosure?
There’s no evidence it’s true, but there’s no evidence it’s not true, either, you know?
The recently uncovered archive of Texas gorilla photos contains something more troubling, though: baby photos of Harambe.
This might be the thing that finally puts an end to Harambe as a meme. Celebrating the gorilla as a larger-than-life figure was funny and ironic for a while, and people have kept the meme going even though it’s become overexposed and played out. But the cute baby pics are a reminder of the real animal behind the meme, piercing the protective layer of irony that keeps us from crying about a murdered primate.
Well, that turned un-fun very quickly. R.I.P. Harambe (meme). And R.I.P. for real, Harambe (gorilla). You were such a beautiful lil’ bebe.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.