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“We can’t stop here, this is bat country” is a catchphrase originating from the 1998 film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which is often used in image macros of cats or pop culture icons driving in a vehicle.
The comedy film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, adapted from a 1971 novel of the same name by Hunter S. Thompson, was released on May 22nd, 1998. The movie was directed by Terry Gilliam and starred Johnny Depp as the protagonist Raoul Duke and Benicio del Toro as his lawyer Dr. Gonzo. In one scene (shown below), Duke and Gonzo are driving down a desert road when Gonzo suddenly pulls the car over. Duke responds by proclaiming “we can’t stop here, this is bat country.” It is suggested that the bats are a product of Duke’s imagination brought on by hallucinogenic drugs.
Several months after Hunter S. Thompson’s death on February 20th, 2005, the YTMND site “We can’t stop here! This is bat country!” was created on May 16th. It featured a photoshopped image of two cats in a car with background audio from the original scene in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
The cat image macro was posted on Internet humor site Error Access Denied on December 3rd, 2006. The following month, the image was posted to the LOLCat site I Can Has Cheezburger and was subsequently reposted on a variety of other sites including ROFLCat, Sad and Useless and the photo sharing site Flickr. The image went onto inspire a number of other LOLcat instances featuring the quote.
On March 7th, 2008, an oil painting titled “This is Bat Country” was submitted to the art sharing website deviantArt by user misstressalice. Online interest in the phrase may have seen a resurgence after the December 2008 release of the documentary film Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, which detailed the life of the deceased author and included interviews with close friends and relatives.
On November 9th, 2009, the Internet Quote Database blog featured a YouTube clip of the scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. On November 12th, 2010, the Australian pop punk band Short Stack released their second studio album titled “This is Bat Country”. The browser game “Bat Country”, in which the player operates a helicopter to shoot down bats, was uploaded to the flash sharing website Newgrounds on January 1st, 2011. A Facebook page for “We Can’t Stop Here, This is Bat Country” has received 854 likes as of March 8th, 2012.