The term “meme” is credited to Richard Dawkins from his 1976 book “The Selfish Gene”. So, what do you call something that happened in 1970 – well before the term “meme” was created – but has managed to live on as a moment in pop culture history? Something that was seen on news channels, the BBC, That’s Incredible! and 20/20 before gaining new life as one of the early internet video clips? Something that was remastered in 2012 for better resolution than the original recording provided?
You call it an exploding whale.
In November, 1970, officials in Oregon had difficulty with a dead whale that had washed up on the shore. It was too large and rotten to push into the sea, and the tide would have brought it back to the shore anyway. Ideas were canvassed, and the final decision was made to pack it with explosives and blow it up. The expectation was that a large portion of the whale would be blasted into minute fragments that would wash away with the sea or during the next rain, and the rest of the pieces would be eaten by the seagulls and other scavengers that had been worrying the carcass.
KATU AM covered the event.
As shown in the video, things didn’t work out quite as expected…but sometimes the best results are the unexpected ones.
Except for that person who had their car crushed. They probably didn’t think it was the best result.
Question of the night: has anything that’s gone wrong for you ended up as a net positive?