Oh the huge manatee meme

Oh, the Huge Manatee

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Oh, the Huge Manatee is an image macro featuring a edit of the Hindenberg airship disaster, parodying the infamous comments made by journalist Herbert Morrison during the incident, "Oh, the humanity," with the phonetically similar phrase. The phrase became an idiom used in a satirical way to ridicule, diminish and trivialize emotional displays the speaker deems overly sentimental.


On May 6th, 1937, the German passenger airship the Hindenberg caught fire while attempting to dock at the Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey.[1]

Journalist Hebert Morrison reporting for the WLS radio station in Chicago was an eyewitness of the disaster. His comments were broadcast the following day. Later, newsreel footage of the disaster included Morrison's broadcast, creating the appearance that they were recorded together. THey were not. Morrison said:

It's practically standing still now they've dropped ropes out of the nose of the ship; and (uh) they've been taken ahold of down on the field by a number of men. It's starting to rain again; it's… the rain had (uh) slacked up a little bit. The back motors of the ship are just holding it (uh) just enough to keep it from…It's burst into flames! Get this, Charlie; get this, Charlie! It's fire… and it's crashing! It's crashing terrible! Oh, my! Get out of the way, please! It's burning and bursting into flames and the… and it's falling on the mooring mast and all the folks between it. This is terrible; this is one of the worst catastrophes in the world. Oh it's… [unintelligible] its flames… Crashing, oh! oh, four or five hundred feet into the sky, and it’s a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. There’s smoke, and there’s flames, now, and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring mast. Oh, the humanity, and all the passengers screaming around here! I told you; it – I can't even talk to people, their friends are on there! Ah! It's… it… it's a… ah! I… I can't talk, ladies and gentlemen. Honest: it's just laying there, a mass of smoking wreckage. Ah! And everybody can hardly breathe and talk and the screaming. I… I… I'm sorry. Honest: I… I can hardly breathe. I… I'm going to step inside, where I cannot see it. Charlie, that's terrible. Ah, ah… I can't. Listen, folks; I… I'm gonna have to stop for a minute because I've lost my voice. This is the worst thing I've ever witnessed.

The origin of the meme is unkown. However, the earliest use of the phrase was published on the website for the Encyclopedia Britannica as the title of an article about manatees.[2] The following year, photoblogger Micahel Howden posted the phrase as the caption for a photograph of manatees skeleton (shown below, left).

The earliest available usage of the meme was published on March 31st, 2006, by Flickr [3] Pedro Vera (shown below, right). They cite wormuniverse.com as the source for the image.[4]

Oh the Huge-Manatee! (Skeleton) OH, THE HUGE MANATEE!


On November 27th, 2007, the New York Times[5] featured the meme on their website.

Over the next decade, people continued to post variations of the meme. For example, on December 18th, 2011, Redditor dingle_hopper1981 posted a version of the meme in the /r/funny subreddit (shown below, left). Others used the phrase as a caption to other pictures of manatee (example below, right).


Various Examples

OH THE HUGE MANATEE Oh the huge manatee

h2. Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – Herbert Morrison

[2] Britannica – Oh, the Huge Manatees

[3] Flick – Oh, the huge manatee

[4] Wormuniverse – "Wormuniverse":wormuniverse.com/pics/random/humanatee.jpg

[5] The New York Times – ‘Oh, the Humanity!’ -- Oops, Wrong Disaster

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