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.