Why is everyone tweeting about feral hogs?
More specifically, why is everyone tweeting about 30-50 of them? And why are a lot of the tweets in the form of a parody of a William Carlos Williams poem?
The answer lies with this weekend’s mass shootings, Americana singer Jason Isbell and a general delirium that afflicted social media after several days of ghastly news.
The tweet that started it all came in response to a statement from Isbell, who maintains an active and outspoken presence on Twitter, about the discussion surrounding this weekend's two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio that left a combined 31 dead.
"If you’re on here arguing the definition of 'assault weapon' today you are part of the problem," Isbell tweeted Sunday morning. "You know what an assault weapon is, and you know you don’t need one."
Isbell's tweet went viral, amassing thousands of retweets and tens of thousands of likes. But one response also caught Twitter's eye:
Perhaps it was the oddly precise scenario that set other tweeters off. (For the record, feral hogs are somewhat of a problem in Texas.)
Whatever the cause, Twitter leaped at an opportunity for levity following the weekend's barrage of bleak updates.
Many of the early parodies took the form of the William Carlos Williams poem, “This Is Just To Say,” which has become a contemporary Twitter meme-structure.
The number of jokes increased on Monday and into Tuesday morning, with thousands of references to "feral hogs" stampeding across Twitter:
And yes, some did interject that feral hogs are an issue:
Some academics weighed in on the history of feral hogs:
And some did remember that the meme began in a discussion about gun reform:
It appears nobody has made a joke about the real feral hogs being the friends we made along the way, so there it is.