2007 feels like a long time ago, especially in internet time. But the internet has a longer memory than you might think, and a joke from 2007 has returned to gently haunt us.
On August 4, 2007 someone posted a link to a collection of "52 Influential Photographs Selected by an amateur," as compiled by researcher Luke Muehlhauser, to the community weblog MetaFilter.
Muehlhauser's list included the oldest surviving photo in the world, by Nicéphore Niépce in 1827. It included photos by photographers like Mathew Brady, Robert Capa, and Margaret Bourke-White, as well as one from Hubble Telescope. It also included Goatse, the photo of a man's distended anus that has become an enduring meme, and a photo of a cat, specifically a cat asking "I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER?"
The cat photo's inclusion on the list really pissed people off at the time. Most commenters felt it was disrespectful to put the cat photo (and Goatse) up next to the other photos, by renowned photographers like Brady and Capa, on the list. One commenter wrote "The Goatse, and the “I Can Has Cheezeburger” in my humble opinion are not influentianl." [sic]
The same happened on MetaFilter, where one user, photoslob, angrily opined
LOLCATS and Goatse up there with Capa, Curtis, Steichen, Hine, Lang, etc….
Please kill me now. If that's what the internet age is going to be represented by I'd rather just forget it ever happened.
In response to this hyperbole, someone else, under the handle goodnewsfortheinsane, intervened:
Don't be dramatic. It's just recentism. Also, it's the I CAN HAZ picture because it's *iconic* for the LOLCAT meme - as well as the name of the best-known website - not because it's necessarily the best one.
Look, 9/11 is in there, right? In 10 years it will still be, and LOLCAT will have been replaced with that stupid HIBRYD HIBRYD meme of 2016.
Oh shit I've said too much ++++ATH0 NO CARRIER
The argument continued on, but goodnewsfortheinsane's joke sat there, kinda funny, suggesting a knowledge of the future. And now, nearly a decade later, someone has decided to close the loop, and create that stupid HIBRYD HIBRYD meme of 2016.
Collected on a Tumblr that has fifteen posts so far, the HIBRYD HIBRDY meme of 2016, as imagined by MetaFilter poster Faint of Butt, is photos of different sorts of hybrids, mostly animals photoshopped together, with the phrase HIBRYD HIBRDY emblazoned on the image.
There's a cat snake:
Spock (half-human, half-vulcan):
And this very cool boat truck:
The meme is stupid, and will probably last all of a month, but that was always the point anyway: it's wonderful in its own stupidity. Someone saw that comment in (or at least from) 2007, and remembered it well enough to make a silly blog based on it. It's nice and, perhaps terrifying, to think that someone who isn't working for the national security establishment is out there, seeing the small things you're up to online, remembering them, and maybe even enjoying them enough to make a Tumblr.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org