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Meme aficionados have long found glee in giving animals more descriptive names: witness the raccoon’s transformation into the “trash panda,” or the fire ant becoming a “spicy boy.” This week, they’re taking it to an unprecedented level, renaming animals and plants by the half-dozen. Why not visit the forest … of memes?
The “why not visit” meme template that’s popping off this week has a few crucial elements: first, pick a wildlife-rich biome. Next, make a grid of six animals (or plants) that live there. Give them absurd names that are either vividly descriptive or completely wrong. Bonus points if the animal in the bottom center square has a clergy-themed name, like “Brother Abernathy” or “Archbishop Frank.”
Let’s take a look at a few more:
The “Why not visit?” meme is obviously very popular, but where did it come from? One possible inspiration is this image, which dates back to at least October 2016. It spent Thursday morning at the top of Reddit’s me_irl, a major incubator of new meme trends:
This animal-renaming meme, which is at least a month old, is also doing well on me_irl:
The Daily Dot reached out to Redditor “welcometomymemepage,” who (unsurprisingly!) runs a meme page and confirmed he kickstarted the “Why not visit?” posts.
“It came from a lot of different memes where people would list a category of things, like animals, fruits, or any collection of objects and give them silly names. The sort of meme has been around for a while. All I did was start grouping them by biome.”
Meanwhile, the “Why not visit?” meme has already started to merge with other popular memes, like January’s weird obsession with Italy:
And the images are becoming more distorted, although they’re not yet fully “deep fried“—with their colors blown out and glowing eyes on every character.
Look for these memes to stick around, and to get way weirder once people run out of basic types of animal habitat to document. Further cross-pollinating with existing memes is a virtual certainty. This format is just as well suited to meme-ified pop cultural products like the Icelandic kids’ show Lazy Town, or the dank animated features Shrek and Bee Movie.
Why not visit this meme before it gets stale and makes the jump to the Facebook mainstream?
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.