President Trump’s surprising friendship with Kanye West may have been the subject of news headlines all over the world in past months, but now it looks like it may have found its way to a far more unusual spot: the packaging on new Meals Ready to Eat, or MREs.
The image adorning some MRE packaging shows what are supposed to be two soldiers sitting on either side of rifles stacked as they often are while breaking for chow in the field. The silhouette on the left bears a striking resemblance to the sitting president, Donald Trump. Across from him sits another silhouette, who many are now claiming looks an awful lot like the Grammy Award-winning rapper. This comparison was first brought to the world’s attention by Reddit user Ternarian, who, it’s important to note, just said it “looks like” Trump and Kanye.
In the minds of some, this seems like just the sort of thing Donald Trump would do: The man has made a career out of turning himself, and his name, into a global brand, so why wouldn’t he also want his likeness to adorn the chow his war-fighters are eating in austere environments?
The truth is, this is more a case of pareidolia than anything else. For those who may not be familiar with the term, pareidolia is what causes human beings to spot things like faces in burnt toast or in the shape of a vehicle’s front grill.
Although scientists haven’t quite pinned down what causes the mind to spot familiar things in unrelated places, it likely has to do with our knack for identifying patterns in the world around us. In this case, pareidolia would seem to be the cause for many of us jumping to the conclusion that Donald Trump must have commissioned his very own MRE packaging to commemorate his friendship with Kanye West, which is the angle a number of media outlets have dangled in front of their readers. The thing is, according to the MRE bag design historical timeline on MREinfo.com, this specific packaging was actually introduced in 2008—eight years before Trump was elected to office.
That bag design actually first saw print two years earlier, when it was among five designs tested in 2006.
The original design was two-toned and slightly different than it was when it reached production in 2008, but it still bears a striking resemblance to the modern bag that has recently caught the attention of the internet.
So it would seem the mystery has been solved. Do these MRE packages show Donald Trump having a pow-wow with his favorite rapper? Negative, but it does make for some good clickbait.