Remembering a fallen ape in the virtual world
Harambe was a gorilla who was shot at the Cincinnati Zoo after a four year old boy fell into the moat of the Gorilla World exhibit. Many people were upset about the killing of Harambe but none as explicit as one Twitter user, which according to this article, wrote “dicks out for Harambe” in which they tweeted a picture of someone holding a fake gun. Since then, the meme, like all memes, took on a life of its own, puzzling many people about its meaning and also leading to people using the meme to mock people who follow online trends without much knowledge of the situation. According to the user ayogabos on Reddit,
“Dicks” is a hiphop phrase used to reference the length of a clip on a gun. If you are “dicks out” it means you have an extended clip. The phrase loosely means “boys, grab your guns and let’s go to battle for Harambe” but meme culture obviously took it to another level
Since this meme went viral, there has been a ton of user generated content memorializing and lamenting the ill fate of Harambe- some include a Facebook page with more than 5,000 users, numerous YouTube videos, and plenty of tweets.
Perhaps the most relevant tribute to Harambe has been in the game Overwatch, which is a team-based first person shooting game. The game takes place in the future and allows you to choose from a range of different characters, including Winston, a genetically engineered gorilla. In Overwatch, characters that die during combat are resurrected at the start point; thus players, when Winston dies, type “dicks out for Harambe” and then have the satisfaction of having the gorilla resurrected. There has even been a petition to Blizzard (the game creator) to change the name of the Winston character to Harambe and several players who created IDs such as Harambe or HarambesRevenge and played in games with the Winston character.