If you’ve been on Twitter in the past 24 hours, you may have found yourself asking an unprecedented question.
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:
Legit question for rural Americans - How do I kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into my yard within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?— William McNabb (@WillieMcNabb) August 4, 2019
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.
I have battled— Audrey Anderson (@aeande) August 6, 2019
that were in
the front yard
saving my children
they were delicious
and so 30-50#feralhogs
I have eaten— feral hog disliker (@MaryHartmanx2) August 5, 2019
the feral hogs
that were in the yard
you were probably
there were so many
or possibly thirty
The number of jokes increased on Monday and into Tuesday morning, with thousands of references to "feral hogs" stampeding across Twitter:
30-50 feral hogs? In this economy??— Kate Aronoff (@KateAronoff) August 5, 2019
it is a truth universally acknowledged, that 30-50 feral hogs within 3-5 minutes of my front yard, must be in want of a small child— helminniemouse (@careyhelmick) August 6, 2019
I am a:— AshPop (@BarbiturateCat) August 5, 2019
🔘 30-50 feral hogs
🔘 a yard with unsupervised small children to run in to within 3-5 minutes
Hot town, summer in the city— Jake Swearingen (@JakeSwearingen) August 6, 2019
How do I kill feral hogs, 30-50
far more people die from the flu than from 30 to 50 feral hogs. Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data,— jonny sun (@jonnysun) August 5, 2019
ladies if he:— James (@Gilofthepeople) August 6, 2019
- never texts back
- never apologises
- cannot be brought down by small arms fire
- stampedes at your small kids
he's not your man. he's 30-50 feral hogs
Uh excuse me, those are my 30-50 emotional support feral hogs— Sara Öberg Strådal (@tinyredbook) August 6, 2019
30-50 feral hogs?!— alice (@lookitsalice) August 5, 2019
At this time of year
At this time of day
In this part of the country
Localized entirely within your backyard with your small kids? pic.twitter.com/HHUyYsXyQO
And yes, some did interject that feral hogs are an issue:
All y’all blue checkmarks do realize feral hogs are a thing, and a major threat to livestock and crops, not too mention people in some instances right? (Signed a southerner with a farm who legally owns guns & a safety license and hunts)— Brian M. Johnson (@BrianJohnsonMPA) August 6, 2019
Some academics weighed in on the history of feral hogs:
Ok y'all did it: A thread about hogs, ferality, and race in American history.— Gabriel Rosenberg (@gnrosenberg) August 6, 2019
And some did remember that the meme began in a discussion about gun reform:
Okay here’s my plan:— nilay patel (@reckless) August 6, 2019
- If you can prove you are regularly attacked by 30-50 feral hogs, you can enter an intensive firearms training and licensing program
- Otherwise no guns
It appears nobody has made a joke about the real feral hogs being the friends we made along the way, so there it is.