But the X Is Silent, also known as I Live in Spain, refers to a series of snowclone memes based on changing the meaning of a certain statement by claiming that a certain letter is silent. The format is a variation of Replace X in Y snowclone and gained popularity on Reddit and Facebook in early August 2020.
While the first “silent letter” joke likely was made before, on July 2nd, 2020, Twitter user @Aamirah_salie posted the first viral tweet based on the format, writing “Guys I’m in Spain. The s is silent.” The tweet (shown below) received over 124,700 retweets and 356,100 likes in one year, with its screenshots being widely circulated online in the following months.
The format did not see active use until early August 2020, with separate viral posts appearing on Twitter and Reddit during that period. For example, on February 18th, 2020, Twitter user @koordell posted a similar joke about champagne (shown below), gaining over 470 retweets and 2,500 likes in seven months. On April 3rd, Twitter user @abod_alnasr reused @koordell’s joke, gaining over 24,700 retweets and 74,000 likes in five months.
On March 30th, 2020, an anonymous 4chan user made a similar joke, writing “>there is Spain >there is no Spleasure” in a thread on the /int/ board of the site. On July 17th, Redditor wonkaass posted a screenshot of the post (shown below), gaining over 14,400 upvotes and assisting its viral spread.
Following the post, memes based on an alternative interpretation of the phrase “I live in Spain” and other phrases, based on reading the phrase as if some of the letters were silent, gained popularity in /r/okbuddyretard. Starting in mid-August 2020, the format spread to ironic doge meme pages on Facebook and Reddit, with users posting multiple viral variations of the meme.
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