Harambe: The Dark Side

By Spencer Mann, Trending Writer

Harambe’s popularity has inspired content of all different types. What remains constant, however, is the fine line between celebrating Harambe’s life in good taste and in irony. Much of the phrases and expressions used to “celebrate” the Cincinnati Zoo’s worldwide legacy are a play on real things used to express undoubted grief. Terms to express endearment of Harambe’s life, while mourning his death, are things often used to discuss human deaths and tragedies of the sort. For those that are using this in irony, or perhaps going along with a joke, it can add strife to those who really have thought those things. To some, presenting endearment to Harambe through irony is disrespectful, as it compares the tragedy of a zoo animal to that of a human.

To further that, some have gone to say that other methods should have been used to deescalate the situation, including tranquilizers. A large number of animal experts have come out to say that it would have agitated Harambe, causing immediate danger to the child. Despite this rationale, some still persist in the discussion. It can be seen as insensitive that the child’s life is being valued below that of a zoo animal. It has been said that the child should not have been saved at the expense of the gorilla, as it is the fault of his parents. While the quality of the parenting can be debated for eternity, to say the child, innocent of any wrongdoing, should not have been valued less than a zoo animal.

The rhetoric used when discussing the situation that took place on May 28th of this year mimics real situations of misfortune and tragedy. The way that the meme has spread throughout the world is a fascinating sociological experiment. However, the words spoken (or typed) still hurt the same. It is fun to see the whole world come together behind a common joke so popular that it gets references seemingly all the time. With that in mind, it must be considered how the comparison of a zoo gorilla to a human child has become backhanded humor in society.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 27th print edition.

Contact Spencer at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s