Legit Question for All Americans: What’s Up With the “30-50 Feral Hog” Meme on Twitter?

The latest viral meme is utterly bizarre, but we've got answers.


The warped nature of the internet means it’s possible for a post decrying the ubiquity of assault weapons after they were used in two mass shootings in one awful weekend to spawn a meme that is somehow political, absurd, and poetic (seriously) all at once.

It all started when Jason Isbell, accomplished musician and great Twitter follow, posted a fairly standard pro-gun control take to the site Sunday morning. Its message boils down to this: “Why on earth would anyone need an assault weapon?” A fair question, given their role in seemingly every mass shooting, including those in El Paso and Dayton

Twitter user and Libertarian William McNabb had an answer.

In a now-legendary tweet, McNabb made his argument for assault weapons ownership by conjuring up an image of an untamed South straight out of a Flannery O’Connor story turned horror movie.

There’s a lot to unpack there. The tweet starts fairly tame. “Legit question for rural Americans” is a fairly standard “city folk don’t take away our guns you don’t know our way of life” thing to say.

Then the hogs come. “How do I kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into my yard.” A Pamplona-esque mass of wild pigs, technically related to their docile domestic livestock cousins but feral — untamed, vicious, dangerous — is coming. It’s quite the image to consider, particularly if you are one of those city folk who hasn’t seen much of El Dorado, Arkansas, where McNabb lives according to his Twitter bio.

The kicker: “within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?” Here, now, are the stakes. Do you, award-winning songwriter Jason Isbell, have a better way to protect my kids, exercising their sacred right to play in the yard, from a marauding gang of dangerous animals? Would you rather my children, my small, helpless children, become swine feed as I look on, helpless to do anything without an AR-15?

Setting aside the veracity of McNabb’s scenario, which seems dubious at best, and the fact that fences exist, his was the tweet that metastasizing into a trend that, briefly but definitely, distracted seemingly all of Twitter.

For a tweet about such a hot-button issue, it’s surprising that the political dimension wasn’t what made it go viral. It was the insanity and, let’s face it, the poetry of the tweet that attracted plenty of similarly entertaining responses. First up: 30-50 feral hogs left the yard and made their way into some classic memes.

As it turns out, that many feral hogs also fits nicely into a variety of TV shows and movies. Who knew?

This is what we call a pun for the ages.

And while we’re not really sure what to call this, it’s definitely…something if you click through to see the rest of the thread.

They didn’t quite rise to the level of “Weird Al” Yankovic — and honestly, what could? — but the song parodies also began to write themselves.

If you’re not ready to let feral hogs fade into obscurity, there are plenty of other examples out there that are sure to delight until the next viral tweet sweeps us all away.