- Tom Steyer calls for reparations Tuesday 9:05 PM
- Etika mural added as official PokéStop in Pokémon Go Tuesday 8:35 PM
- Debate devolves into candidates shouting ‘math’ at each other Tuesday 8:19 PM
- Bloomberg rolls his eyes when challenged over sexist comments Tuesday 8:18 PM
- Bloomberg almost accidentally claims he ‘bought’ Congress Tuesday 8:03 PM
- ‘Dick Pound’ and ‘Bisexual Men Exist’ trend together–Twitter goes wild Tuesday 7:54 PM
- James Charles receives backlash over ‘racist’ imitation of Latinx TikTok character, Rosa Tuesday 7:06 PM
- Video shows people harassing elderly Asian man while he collects cans Tuesday 6:23 PM
- Bob Iger steps down as Disney CEO, prompting conspiracy theories Tuesday 5:53 PM
- Bhad Bhabie threatens to kill Skai Jackson amid feud involving their moms Tuesday 4:51 PM
- Body camera shows officer boasting about arresting a 6-year-old Tuesday 3:58 PM
- Singer Duffy opens up about the rape, captivity that led her to stop singing Tuesday 3:51 PM
- Cynthia Nixon embodies feminist rage in viral video Tuesday 3:30 PM
- Samsung factory shuts down amid confirmed coronavirus case Tuesday 3:08 PM
- Bebe Rexha says she won’t be ‘imprisoned’ by bipolar disorder Tuesday 2:33 PM
A hot Turkish butcher is driving the internet wild this week with the flashy way he sprinkles his salt on a juicy chunk of meat. They’re calling him “salt bae”—”bae” being short for “babe,” or someone you’ve got a crush on—and there’s no doubt he’s attractive, albeit in a hipster way. But salt bae’s videos aren’t the real story. For that, you have to look at the “sprinkling” meme he’s spawned.
First, some background: Who is this “salt bae,” anyway? He’s Nusret Gökçe, a family man and professional butcher with restaurants in Turkey and Dubai. Here’s the video that’s making him famous, where he delivers a dusting of salt to a slab of “Ottoman steak.”
On a basic level, this has gone viral because people who love meat and hipsters think he’s sexy:
He’s even got his own emoji:
But on another level, one which actually has the potential to be good, Saltbae’s sprinkling flourish has become a meme. It’s being used to embody totally owning a situation, with style:
A tweet from Bruno Mars employed the sprinkle in this sense, too. Here, it’s basically synonymous with a mic drop:
But it can also be used to describe situations where someone adds a little extra, or goes entirely overboard:
Saltbae plays well with other memes, too:
If you’re feeling extra or doing the most, he’s your guy. Saltbae is easily the most popular meme of the month thus far, and he looks like he’ll probably endure thanks to his broad appeal. As with many memes, most of the creative work behind Saltbae came out of Black Twitter, but it took less than a day before he was fully absorbed by mainstream news sources and the BuzzFeed set.
This one is big. Look for him sprinkling his salt on some year-end meme lists in December.
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.