Harambe, the western lowland gorilla shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2016 after grabbing a three-year-old boy, has apparently not left the popular consciousness. There were a slew of memes about the late gorilla along with genuine outrage, but the enduring memory of Harambe is being the definitive meme of 2016. Enough that an intrepid Google Maps troll named the city of Mauldin, South Carolina’s brand new bridge after Harambe with no official approval.
While the gorilla's death is tragic, the culture that has spawned around it is quite comedic. Memes age like milk, so there’s no need to revisit any of it, but the naming of Mauldin’s bridge was clearly well orchestrated. Along with the bridge being listed as the Harambe Memorial Bridge on Google Maps, a small memorial was erected at the site of the bridge. According to Fox Carolina, the memorial includes framed pictures of Harambe, stuffed animals, flowers, candles, and artwork. There’s also a cigarette and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR).
Clearly, this is the work of a local, as evidenced by the on-site memorial. And it’s almost certainly a joke, as evidenced by the cigarette and the can of PBR. This is Grade-A internet trolling of a city, and Mauldin is not amused. The city accepted over 2,000 submissions for a bridge name that had to meet specific criteria, most of which are boring. The names in the running are Mauldin SkyWay, Mauldin Archway, Mauldin Highway Overpass, Mauldin Gateway Bridge, and Mauldin’s Palmetto Pathway.
City officials said that the joke won’t last long. Once the bridge is officially completed, the on-site memorial will be removed. Finally, an official edit request will go to Google after a name is decided on October 16. Harambe, unfortunately, will not have a bridge named after him.
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