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The Story Behind Snapchat’s Coolest New Filter, ‘Breading’

Over the weekend, while most people were busy Instagramming subpar pictures of fireworks, Snapchat quietly rolled out a game-changing lens. It is, one might say, the best thing since sliced bread.

Like the filtered version of the classic breakfast dish called eggs in a basket, the new lens sticks the user’s face in a hole in the center of the slice and adds a few Snapchat classics like giant eyeballs and rosy cheeks as well. It’s everything you want out of a Snapchat filter: silly, janky, more than a little odd — but not so odd you don’t look cute. There have been rumblings on Twitter that the slice could dethrone the current reigning king of Snapchat lenses, the puppy. Finally, a new, wonderful meme!

But nothing is new on the internet. Those of us a bit longer in the tooth than the youthful masses of Snapchat recognize the filter’s striking similarity to a meme from 2012, which involved placing actual slices of bread over the heads of unsuspecting cats. Yes, long-time meme followers, we’re talking about “breading,” the non-trend forced into memedom by Gawker’s Adrian Chen on a particularly traffic-hungry day, and then summarily killed at his hand. As Chen wrote the same week he created the meme:

How did we get here? I coined the term ‘breading’ on Tuesday to describe the months-old internet trend I plucked out of obscurity to earn cheap pageviews on my assigned day to shamelessly grovel for pageviews. I tried to stop it that day, before it spiraled out of control. But I underestimated the viral power of breading. I created a monster, then stuck that monster’s tiny adorable head into a hollowed-out piece of rye bread.

In case you’re worried you’ve missed an important element of the meme, or the story, you haven’t. A blogger looking to get page views made a big, ironic, meta joke about cats with slices of bread stuck on their heads, and now, four years later, it’s the coolest filter on the coolest social-media app.

All I have to say is I’m happy breading continues to bring joy to people after all these years,” Chen told Select All when asked about the new meme.

The Story Behind Snapchat’s New ‘Breading’ Filter