Updated (11:45 p.m.) The final debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was bound to spawn a meme or two in in the hours after the debate. But actually, it only took a few minutes for the Internet to latch on to the zinger of all zingers. After Romney criticized the administration by claiming that the United States Navy has fewer ships today than it did in 1916, Obama seized the moment.
"You mention the Navy, for example, and the fact that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. "Well Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets," said the president. "We have these things called aircraft carriers and planes land on them. We have ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines." Obama drove the point home, "It's not a game of Battleship where we're counting ships, it's 'What are our priorities?'"
Well, that sounds like a good bundle of words to inspire a fake Twitter account doesn't it. World, meet @obamasbayonets which went live just a few minutes after Obama's quote-worthy answer. But does one fake Twitter account make a meme, right? Probably not, but three Twitter accounts, two Tumblrs and a standalone website probably does. That all happened before the debate was over, too. In fact, it took exactly nine minutes from the time that Obama made the remark until the first tweet about the parody Tumblr was said.
The celebrities jumped on to the trend, too. "Fact: Iran has been stockpiling horses & bayonets," tweeted Dane Cook. "We wouldn't have less horses and bayonets if blacksmiths and bayonet makers had a public union behind them," quipped Drew Carrey. "If Romney's military budget includes bayonets, it better also include tri-cornered hats," said Seth McFarlane.
As quickly as the meme was borne, it was spread wide and monetized. Google's already reported that the number one search term from 9:00 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. on Monday was "horses and bayonets." Meanwhile, it looks like the Obama campaign has already purchased the search term "bayonets" on Twitter.
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but the U.S. Army actually still uses bayonets. Horses, not so much.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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