This Is a Powerful New Meme. I’m Sorry, But It Is.

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Photo: Astrid Riecken/Getty Images

Over the weekend, Michelle Obama attended the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, D.C. Also attending the opening was former president George W. Bush, whom Obama hugged (if you want to call it that) for the briefest of moments during the ceremony. And, like a scene out of The Butterfly Effect 2, that hug shifted something in the fabric of our nonlinear system and spawned … an internet meme.

Like many people, actor and comedian Mike Birbiglia was apparently touched by the photograph, and he tweeted a screenshot of the New York Times story about the photo with the caption, “This is powerful. I’m sorry, but it is. Please don’t write something snarky.”

A sincere sentiment, no doubt, but one that violated the number-one rule: Don’t tell people online not to be snarky. His tweet has since been deleted, but lives on thanks to the glory of screenshots. (Birbiglia, shockingly, did not immediately respond to Select All’s request for comment regarding his hot new meme.)

While the tweet is gone, Birbiglia’s caption has taken on a life of its own. Got a picture of planes flying in a 69 formation? Call it powerful. Picture of a cat dabbing? Ask that people don’t write something snarky about it. The meme works for just about anything.

It’s also definitely worth watching the full clip of the Obama-Bush hug, which when played out over video looks a lot less like a passionate embrace and more like a quick, awkward acknowledgment. Still, given its sudden viral lift, there’s no denying it: This meme is powerful. I’m sorry, but it is. Please don’t write something snarky.