People are drawn to the moth meme almost like moths are drawn to ... lamps. (Illustration by Sofie Moustahfid, University of Maryland)

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Moth-Lamp Meme

Society is straying further and further from the moth’s lamp on the daily.

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Society is straying further and further from the moth’s lamp on the daily.

At this point in time, it’s second nature to watch the internet to take any form of joke and blow it out of proportion in a variety of ways. We saw it happen with Arthur, as all it took was LeBron James to turn a .jpg of the beloved, anthropomorphic aardvark’s clenched fist into Twitter sensation and, worst of all, this.

Through all of these viral gags, the one term that comes to mind more so than any other is “meme,” a four-letter word that means no more than a form of media that’s been reiterated, recycled and re-used-all-the-f—ing-time.

Having said all that, looking back at phenomena like Pharrell’s Smokey the Bear hat, Kermit enjoying a refreshing cup of Lipton tea (lemon flavored, I believe), overly attached girlfriend, prayers for Harambe and even Kermit’s evil twin, there is a relatively new addition to the broad encyclopedia of memes. And it is another four-letter word. Or, should I say, a pair of four-letter words?

The meme overtaking the internet begins with a household appliance most people couldn’t consider living without: lamps. Prestigious definition provider describes this noun as “a device for giving light,” and if you ask me, that’s as accurate as it gets. (Unless we’re talking about the late Robin Williams’ unrivaled performance as Genie, but I think it’s a safe assumption we’re not.)

I bet you’re wondering what the second word is, so allow me to spell it out for you: M-O-T-H. Moths are related to butterflies and, in a sense, are no more than ugly looking butterflies. For those who don’t know where I’m taking this, we are getting so close to the point that I can feel it beaming down on me.

It’s a common fact that these pesky, hell-ridden flying insects have an infatuation for one thing, and one thing only: lamp light. On the off chance that you’ve been hiding under a rock while avoiding any sense of legitimate light, I’m sure you are all well aware of what the f—‘s goin’ on. It’s moth meme time, ladies and gentlemen.

Birthed into the meme universe no more than three weeks ago, the lamp-loving insect has embedded its presence deep in the culture over the course of the past month or so. But, where did the moth meme begin its migration from mere bug to global internet sensation? Let me explain

According to, which is, apparently, a prime source for explanation for any and all things meme, the infamous photo made its way onto Reddit on July 14. Although the French celebrate the 14th as Bastille Day, I would offer that some form of “Biglamp Day” holiday finds itself implemented shortly.

Moving forward, the Redditor’s name was No_Reason27, which just so happens to be my favorite number. Damn, there’s a coincidence, it’s almost as if I was spiritually meant to read into this s—, or something. The glowing monster got over 33,000 upvotes, or karmas? Points? Whatever the hell they’re called, the moth spread its blurry wings across the internet like wildlam — like wildfire. All it took was 13 days for wisecracks about how much moths love lamps to show up everywhere you turned your head, and for good reason, too.

To help explain the meme, you have to imagine how important lamps are to moths. Imagine a world in which moths were the dominant species and, like humans, some had steady jobs, some went to school and others preferred to live life on the fly, literally. At the end of the day, what is their sole source of enjoyment? They don’t eat food, hang out with friends or go dancing — they just buzz around lamps. It’s all they care about. 

Just imagine how much a lightbulb would cost in moth currency, or a lantern, let alone a lamp. For Christ’s sake, the world’s 1 percent moths would probably install stadium lighting into their d— homes. Their electricity bill would probably be off the f—ing wall, as they would have the option to stay in light for an entire day as opposed to being stuck with a measly 12 hours of it.

Anyway, I can’t even believe I just explored this meme so far in depth to be completely honest. I never even knew this encyclopedia of memes ever existed. But there’s one thing I know for certain, and it’s that moths are a certified phenomenon. If you’re seeking spinoffs of this ideal concept, there have been a lot of gopher log photos spreading around, and a handful of them are honestly hilarious.

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