Why’s Everyone Talking About ‘The Babadook’? Explaining the Internet’s New Weirdest Joke
There‘s a new gay icon in Hollywood currently enjoying a moment of enhanced visibility. If you find Ellen too squeaky-clean, Neil Patrick Harris too eager-to-please, or Lance Bass too Lance Bass, then you’re in luck, because a new LGBTQ champion has emerged from the shadows to capture the hearts of millions. He’s here, he’s queer, and he wants to eat the child that cracked open his cursed pop-up book: Good citizens of the Internet, the Babadook has burst out of the closet, and he’s hungry.
In all seriousness, though — as Pride Month has gotten up and running, a meme-ish joke has spread in waves across the internet, the gist of it being that the fictitious monster from Jennifer Kent’s 2014 horror film The Babadook identifies as non-heterosexual. An article at Bloody Disgusting has traced the origins of the bizarre joke back to a hiccup from Netflix, wherein the straightforward horror movie was erroneously placed in the LGBT section of their content library. Some clever Twitter user nabbed the screenshot and jokingly suggested that the ‘B’ in LGBT stands for Babadook, and as is the wont of Twitter users, they eagerly ran with the joke.
Fan art, every permutation of the word (the Babadook likes to get all dressed up for the Pride parades with a fresh Baba-look, and when stunned, often feels Baba-shook), and dozens of other stupidly clever gags sprung up out of this weird obsession, recasting a monster as something kinder and warmer. Just goes to show: never underestimate the internet’s ability to extend a joke far past the point of reason until it grows into a bona fide cultural phenomenon.