When the internet gets down to compiling its “Best Viral Tweets of 2019” list later this year, there’s a good chance that Willie McNabb’s feral hogs tweet will be at the top. “Legit question for rural Americans,” McNabb tweeted in response to calls for greater control of assault weapons back in August, “How do I kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into my yard within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?”
This objectively hilarious tweet is the focus of this week’s episode of Reply All, a podcast about internet culture from Spotify-owned Gimlet Media. The episode sees podcast host PJ Vogt perform a surprisingly nuanced deep dive into America’s feral hogs problem. It turns out there are literally millions of the creatures roaming across America, destroying crops and causing massive problems for American farmers, their population egged on by a hunting industry that benefits from being able to charge people to kill them.
There’s a dark side to the feral hogs tweet, of course. It’s hard to ignore the fact that McNabb was essentially suggesting that the only response to the feral hogs problem is to allow ordinary American citizens to purchase and use assault weapons. But that’s not what Reply All’s episode is arguing. Instead, it simply wants to make its listeners aware of the problem in the first place, and to explain why no one’s been able to find a compromise-free solution.