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You Can’t Explain That is an advice animal style image macro series featuring American Fox News Channel political commentator Bill O’Reilly. The captions presuppose that O’Reilly does not understand how mundane occurrences work, similar to the confusion presented in derivatives of Insane Clown Posse’s song Miracles derivatives.
On the January 4th, 2011 episode of The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly interviewed American Atheists president Dave Silverman about a billboard the company had put up arguing that religion was a scam. When Silverman asked for proof of a god’s existence, O’Reilly argued that he knew because the tide comes in and out regularly without fail, and it could not be explained without divine intervention. Silverman’s facial expression after this statement was the inspiration for the Are You Serious? rage face.
The first image macro featuring the quote “You can’t explain that” was posted to Reddit on February 9th, 2011. It received 9505 upvotes and 2083 points overall.
The same day the first Reddit post was submitted, a subreddit called Can You Explain That? was established to feature these image macros. Both Memegenerator and Quickmeme pages were created using various photos of O’Reilly, with the latter having over 3500 submissions as of April 2012.
On February 10th, 2011, a series of these image macros were posted on Geekosystem. Following this post, additional images were shared on Urlesque, Funny or Die, Buzzfeed, AcidCow, and Atheist Nexus throughout the month.
Bill O’Reilly’s Response
In response to criticism of his arguments for the existence of God, he made a video defending his statements about the tides and the moon being supernatural creations. After that, more image macros poking fun at his explanation were created. Stephen Colbert also critiqued O’Reilly’s argument, with a special appearance by Neil deGrasse Tyson, in which Tyson proclaims, “Actually, Stephen, I can explain that” leading to the creation of Knowledgeable Neil image macros.
William James “Bill” O’Reilly, Jr. was born on September 10th, 1949 in New York City. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1971 from Marist College in New York, a Master of Arts in broadcast journalism from Boston University and a Master of Public Administration for Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He began his television news career soon after finishing school, anchoring at local stations in Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. In 1980, O’Reilly began working at WCBS-TV in New York City where he won a second local Emmy and was promoted to a national CBS correspondent, followed by a similar position at ABC News. In 1991, O’Reilly joined the syndicated celebrity gossip show Inside Edition before receiving his own show, The O’Reilly Factor the Fox News Network in October 1996. In 2008, outtake footage of O’Reilly ranting was posted online, with the catchphrase “Fuck it, we’ll do it live” becoming popular YouTube remix material.
Huffington Post – O’Reilly: God Causes The Tides, Not The Moon (VIDEO)
The Colbert Report – Bill O’Reilly Proves God’s Existence – Neil deGrasse Tyson