Billie Eilish’s Van Halen Knowledge Tops This Week’s Internet News Roundup

The last few days have been kind of crazy, right? As soon as Americans returned to work after the Thanksgiving weekend, their government got right back to work on impeachment proceedings against President Trump—and that was just the beginning. The president also flew to the UK last week to meet with NATO leaders who were caught on camera appearing to laugh at him. Internationally, France has stopped working, literally, while the Canadian town of Asbestos has finally realized maybe it should change its name. Meanwhile, almost 700,000 people are losing their food stamp assistance. Still, at least Spotify is reminding everyone how bad their music taste actually is. Think that’s all? Oh, there’s more. So much more.

Billie Eilish Doesn’t Know Who Van Halen Is

What Happened: Apparently, it’s very essential for everyone to know that one very famous 17-year-old hasn’t heard of rockers Van Halen. This fact is not, however, all that important to either the members of Van Halen or the 17-year-old in question.

What Really Happened: It says something about 2019 that this not only became one of the most widely discussed stories of the week, but that there doesn’t really seem to be anything particularly strange about that. But, yeah. Billie Eilish doesn’t know who Van Halen is. (Are? Let’s go with the singular, even though it’s a band. They’re a band? It’s so confusing.)

Some were upset about the news—

—while others were … well, just preparing to deal with those who were upset about the news.

Putting aside the common joke being made by many across Twitter—

—the whole thing somehow became a something that got reported on by the media as if it mattered, which really feels like a sign that the world has slightly lost perspective. Especially when Billie Eilish truthers got involved, which … what? How is that even a thing in the first place?

For those as curious as we were, the last time Van Halen charted in the Top 40 in the US was in 1995, or 24 years ago. So, even if Eilish is in her mid-twenties, she would still have needed to have remembered a quasi-successful rock band from when she was a baby to know about Van Halen. At least calmer heads prevailed when it counted.

Let’s just put this into a little bit of perspective, shall we?

The Takeaway: The real takeaway from this story might be asking how we can all enter this nirvana-esque (note the lower-case; let’s not get into whether or not she knows about Kurt Cobain) state.

The Next Phase of the Impeachment Inquiry

What Happened: For those who thought the House Intelligence Committee was going to quietly fade into the background now that the first wave of impeachment testimonies was over, this week brought reasons to think again.

What Really Happened: With no more testimony during the week of Thanksgiving, there was an expectation that the House Intelligence Committee would release a report about its findings thus far with regards to the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s behavior. Indeed, there was such belief that this was going to happen that Republicans in the House rushed out their own report in defense of the president, only to see it labeled “shameless” as it got compared to a gaslighting attempt. With this kind of preamble, it would have been rude for the committee not to release a report, and so, on Tuesday afternoon, the committee obliged.

Suffice to say, the report was quite something.

It was the subject of as much attention and analysis as you’d expect.

Perhaps surprisingly, the report wasn’t simply a summary of information that everyone already knew. Indeed, there was an awkward revelation involving committee member Devin Nunes.

There was also quite a bit of new information in Rudy Giuliani’s call records, and none of it particularly good for America’s Mayor.

With all of this going on, it’s hardly surprising that the Intelligence Committee has revealed that the inquiry is continuing or that House speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that Democrats are proceeding with the process of drafting articles of impeachment against Trump.

The Takeaway: Maybe you need a TL;DR on this whole thing. That’s OK, we have you covered.

The Barron Trump Remark

What Happened: Legal scholars discussed whether or not President Trump has, in fact, committed impeachable offenses.

What Really Happened: After the release of the House Intelligence Committee report, all eyes turned to the House Judiciary Committee, which started its own impeachment hearing midweek to consider the entire matter of whether or not the president should be impeached at all.

Even before the Wednesday hearing, the subject was particularly charged, with the White House announcing on Sunday that it would be declining to participate.

As it turned out, the lack of direct White House involvement didn’t preclude the White House‘s perspective from making it into the hearing, as was obvious from the very beginning..

That last part didn’t go down well with one of the witnesses in particular.

The other witnesses, all law professors on the first day, proved to be somewhat less argumentative, if but no less fiery—even if those watching might have gotten a little distracted along the way.

Sounds like some important topics were discussed. Thankfully, the entire affair was sober and not utterly derailed by an offhand comment. Oh, wait.

Isn’t this a bit overreaction? For example, there’s a report that Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor, “insulted” Barron Trump, but she literally only mentioned his name, saying nothing about him beyond that. Is that what counts as an insult these days?

If this was a distraction technique to attempt to make people forget about what of value was actually said at the hearing, it kind of worked. But don’t forget: The majority of legal scholars testifying said, unequivocally, the president’s actions indicated abuse of power, and that it was impeachable behavior.

The Takeaway: On Saturday, the House Judiciary Committee released a report outlining the constitutional grounds for impeaching President Trump.

Ad Sense

What Happened: To some advertising executives, having the most talked about commercial of the holiday season would be a good thing. Let’s just make one thing clear: That’s not actually the case, when it comes to this particular commercial.

What Really Happened: Can you feel it? That magic in the air? Now that we’re firmly in the final month of the year, it’s safe to say it out loud: It’s beginning to look a lot like … uncomfortable holiday ad time.

It wasn’t just fat shaming and bad relationships that people couldn’t stop thinking about when it came to the ad, though. Indeed, it was a gift that kept giving.

As might be anticipated—see the previous item about a 17-year-old knowing about a band that hasn’t been culturally relevant in her entire lifetime—all the talk about the ad made it go mainstream as outlets ran with the story (and how). If nothing else, the uproar over the advertisement may have finally proven that online upset can do more than just get Sonic the Hedgehog redesigned.

The Takeaway: Aviation Gin has already made a response ad.

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