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COLUMN: I know how to solve the Cincinnati Zoo's Harambe problem

Posted: 3:04 PM, Aug 24, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-24 18:23:30-04
COLUMN: I know how to solve the Cincinnati Zoo's Harambe problem

I know how to stop this Harambe madness.

I’m doing it right now. I’m writing about it. I, a member of the media, am talking about it.

That’s the solution.

You’re doubting me? OK, hear me out.

Over the last few months, there have been hundreds of thousands of Harambe-inspired memes flooding the internet. Ever since the Cincinnati Zoo made the decision to kill a beloved 400-pound gorilla, a legend was born. The world didn’t care about Harambe before his death on May 28.

Remembering Private Harambe

In his afterlife, he’s transcended into a viral joke that won’t go away. From public chants , to fake documentaries , T-shirts , movie posters , Twitter battles , Reddit threads – you name it – Harambe fever has risen to its climax.

Now, there’s nowhere to go but down.

The memes are admittedly funny. Some of them make you chuckle. A few have made me full-on keel over.

And you know why these jokes are so cool and funny?

Because we’re not allowed to talk about them in real life. Most of the memes are so inappropriate, a mere mention of the phrase “d---s out for Harambe” on national or local television would result in public shaming or a fine from the Federal Communications Commission. (See how I couldn’t even write the full word? Hint: I’m talking about the male anatomy).

For months now, Harambe has been the internet’s dirty little inside joke. A weapon millions have used to tease and attack the good people at the Cincinnati Zoo. The attacks got so bad, the zoo’s social media team had to delete their Twitter account . Hackers even took over Zoo Director Thane Maynard’s Twitter account. That’s gone now, too.

Tweets to the Cincinnati Zoo

The worst part: There’s nothing the zoo can do about it. It’s a lose-lose battle.

If they play along with the joke, it’s a PR nightmare. They’d be mocking the death of an animal – a gorilla they worked so hard to care for and love.

If they don’t play along with the joke, the option they’ve clearly been taking, the attacks just get worse and the jokes just get funnier.

So that’s where we come in.

You probably thought earlier: How can writing and talking about Harambe help? That only makes it worse.

You’re wrong. The solution is oversaturation.

I know this idea somewhat goes against a column my editor Mike Canan wrote Tuesday in opposition of the Harambe memes. But I can't shake this idea that's been growing in my head. 

The more popular something becomes -- and the more uncool adults talk about it -- the less appealing it will become.

Remember that Smash Mouth album you loved when you were young and naive? Then everyone started listening to it. And now you hate it, right?

Imagine the TODAY Show’s Matt Lauer or Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts having a laugh about the latest Harambe meme on national television each morning.

Imagine they’re staring at a photo of Harambe

Imagine grown adults showing constant highlights of the funniest Harambe jabs of the day.

Not so cool anymore, right?

Let’s make Harambe memes the next Smash Mouth.

(Oh, and internet trolls, before you start sending me Harambe/Smash Mouth memes, I beat you to it.)