Following a week in which Twitter announced a schedule to try and make the platform less awful and the Scaramucci Post seemed hellbent on proving all of its critics right, it’s important to take a moment to think about what’s really important in life.
Please remember @catsu as you explore the mixed bag of randomness the internet offered over the last seven days. It might be the only thing that will keep you sane.
Punk as … Huh?
What Happened: Of all the Trump children, which one do you think is the most likely to have listened to Nirvana and really felt bad when Kurt Cobain died? The answer may surprise you, if you were thinking Eric or Donald Jr.
What Really Happened: Even this far into our relationship with the First Daughter, Ivanka Trump knows how to surprise us all, it seems.
The story came from Ivanka’s latest memoir, Raising Trump, in which she writes about her “punk phase in the nineties,” when she was “really into Nirvana.” Twitter was, shall we say, somewhat unconvinced:
The Takeaway: Oh, it’s easy to mock, but there are always more layers to the truth than people think.
Thank You for Your Service
What Happened: If there was one issue being discussed more than any other on social media last week, it was the ways in which a president should console grieving military families.
What Really Happened: In one of the stranger moments of political theater in recent months—an increasingly competitive space, let’s be honest—President Trump responded to a question about his lack of comment on the deaths of US soldiers in Niger by criticizing President Obama over whether or not he’d called families of fallen soldiers. Trump, of course, said that he would certainly call the families of the dead soldiers when he felt it was appropriate, which seemingly turned the whole incident into an even bigger embarrassment for all involved.
Wait. What? The report came from US congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-Florida), a friend of the family of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who heard Trump’s call to his widow on speakerphone. “We were in the car together, in the limousine headed to meet the body at the airport,” Wilson would later tell CNN’s Don Lemon. “So I heard what he said because the phone was on speaker.” Twitter was … not impressed.
While all of this undoubtedly looked bad for the president, it was almost certain that the White House would announce that he didn’t actually say that…
OK, sure; WH spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders might not have denied it, but the president himself certainly did.
How could he have not? After all, it’s the perfect defense for him, considering that the reports had come from a representative of the opposing party. And it’s not as if the widow herself had confirmed the report. Sure, the soldier’s mother did confirm it, but all that really meant was that the back-and-forth was on.
Let’s not forget that the president said he had proof that Wilson was lying. What kind of proof was he talking about?
It would turn out, days later, that there’s apparently an official transcript of the call which, inexplicably, the president’s family has apparently read. But if White House chief of staff John Kelly was present, surely he—a military veteran who has lost his own son in service—would back up the president.
The Takeaway: Well, at least the president didn’t speak to any other grieving parents.
Melania, Is That You?
What Happened: As if 2017 wasn’t strange enough already, last week Americans found themselves asking, “What if the First Lady of the United States wasn’t actually the First Lady of the United States?”
What Really Happened: This one is surreal and wonderful. Early last week, the president made a public appearance accompanied by his wife Melania. Except, to some, she didn’t quite look like Melania.
For whatever reason—paranoia, boredom, the sheer glee of starting such a ridiculous meme—the internet quickly embraced the possibility that Melania Trump had been replaced by someone else in public appearances.
Unsurprisingly, mainstream media couldn’t resist joining in on such a dumb, great idea. One report even claimed credit for the Fake Melania idea in general, suggesting that the real deal is currently hiding in “a small town somewhere in Missouri, where she works on a volunteer basis at a center offering counseling and support to refugees and immigrants.” Well, it’s not impossible…
The Takeaway: If nothing else, it’s a silly enough idea that people want to believe it.
if you do not choose to believe in the existence of fake melania I encourage you to find more room in your heart for joy and whimsy today
— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) October 18, 2017
Here’s Another Clue for You All
What Happened: Sometimes, it might not be the best idea to try and reclaim a meme that involves you being a serial killer.
…Yes, really. That’s not a mistake, or even the kind of thing that is claimed to be a mistake after the fact; Ted Cruz actually tweeted out a letter from the Zodiac Killer. There is, of course, context for why he did this, but why ruin everything by looking at facts?
Not everyone was a fan of Cruz participating in his own meme, however.
Does he? And how has that worked out for him?
So, yes. It’s all going swimmingly, if that was his intent. Good job, Ted!
The Takeaway: Before we leave Cruz to ponder how much the senator has embarrassed himself here, let’s appreciate the very best response of all.
(Get it? No? Read this.)
Louder Than Bombs
What Happened: In the case of Florida v. Richard Spencer, the Sunshine State came out on top.
What Really Happened: White supremacist, alt-right leader, and punch receiver Richard Spencer had a public appearance at the University of Florida last Thursday. It was certainly something that seemed like a big deal ahead of time, with the state governor declaring a state of emergency before the event, fearful of violent protests. And, sure enough, ahead of the actual appearance, everyone was very aware of the possibility of something going down.
Sure enough, at the event itself, there were protests—but they didn’t go the way anyone expected.
The Takeaway: Still. White supremacist speech? There has to be a better way to describe that…