Whew, the past seven days have been doozies. How so? Well, it was a week where Survivor tried to address sexual harassment and it didn’t go well, and a week where someone made the mistake of trying to discover the best meme of the past 10 years. Also, people are wondering what is going on in that new SpongeBob trailer, but also relieved someone fixed the issues with Sonic. All told, there’s been a lot happening over the past seven days, really. No wonder some are seeking out a new kind of internet. What else have people been talking about on the World Wide Web lately? Why, my friends, there’s one simple way to find out: Read on.
Lady Gaga Doesn’t Remember Artpop
What Happened: Just because there’s no new music to promote doesn’t mean Lady Gaga can’t drum up interest and sales by pretending to forget her own back catalog.
What Really Happened: If there’s a new pastime of the rich and famous that we’ve come to enjoy lately, it’s watching Lady Gaga decide to break social media with a well-timed, seemingly innocuous tweet that she almost certainly knows is going to cause trouble. Remember last month when she decided to ask what Fortnite was and people lost their minds? That was fun. This past week, though, she was far more self-referential.
The tweet was posted on the sixth anniversary of Artpop’s release, no less.
So how did the Little Monsters feel about this?
Yes, the response became a thing in and of itself, but even so, the furor was still arguably less fanatical than we were expecti—
—OK, that’s more like it. Of course, perhaps this is all some kind of smart double bluff that we mere mortals cannot comprehend.
Look, if nothing else, you have to respect the savvy of an artist who can push newspapers to write defenses of work no one was really thinking about just by declaring that they, themselves, don’t remember it. At this point, the only real question is, what is Gaga going to get her fans to freak out about next month?
The Takeaway: Can we at least appreciate this self-referential response tweet to Gaga’s self-referential tweet that prompted the whole thing?
That Whole Han-Shot-First Fiasco
What Happened: Of all the things that could derail the launch of Disney+, we’re pretty sure nobody had “yet another edit to the Han Shot First scene” at the very top of their list. Well played, House of Mouse.
What Really Happened: Perhaps the big pop culture news of the week is the launch of Disney+, the new streaming service that everyone expected to revolutionize entertainment just by its very existence. It has Marvel! And Star Wars! And The Simpsons! And lots of Disney Channel shows and movies that you probably haven’t thought of in two decades!
Anticipation for the service’s Tuesday launch was high, making Day One technical problems all the more glaring. But that wasn’t the big Disney+ story on launch day.
OK, so that was weird, but it’s not like it’s going to become a thing and overshadow the big official Disney+ reveals, like the debut of the first Star Wars live action TV show The Mandalorian, right? Oh wait, of course it did because that’s how the internet works.
The meme even gained a celebrity fan or two.
As it turned out, the change came from someone who knows about editing Star Wars movies.
Even if we know who is responsible, that didn’t answer the why of it all. Some wondered just what “maclunkey” meant in Star Wars canon, considering it was spoken by an alien who was already talking in a different language.
But will we ever know the true meaning of maclunkey?
(Spoilers for Citizen Kane on that last one, I guess?) One thing’s for sure.
Shockingly, as of this writing, there’s still nothing there.
The Takeaway: There’s no denying it: The internet is an amazing place and Disney accidentally stepped on their own big reveal with this debut.
The Start of the Public Impeachment Hearings
What Happened: The public portion of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump launched this week, and it brought with it an almost overwhelming amount of information.
What Really Happened: Last Wednesday, Congress began the public inquiry into the impeachment of President Trump, letting the world see exactly what both sides of the political divide had up their partisan sleeves when it came to investigating the president’s dealings with Ukraine. First up, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff.
Schiff’s opening remarks were followed by his counterpart on the Republican side, the man who is suing a fake cow, Devin Nunes.
To say that Nunes confused many people with his opening statement was an understatement. (There was, eventually, an annotated version for people to try to understand.)
The purpose of the Wednesday session was to hear public testimony from Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent and Ambassador Bill Taylor on the subject of the Trump administration’s relationship with Ukraine, but that didn’t mean everyone attending was eager for that to happen.
Nevertheless, Kent and Taylor got their chance to have their say.
The questioning of the two men by all involved was at times enlightening and at other times utterly baffling, depending on what side of the political aisle you were on. (Those two sides, by the way, being “people concerned with getting to the bottom of the matter” and “people interested in covering as much up about the president’s behavior as possible.”)
The theory behind the public hearings is that they allow the American people to become more knowledgable about what actually happened on this subject. Of course, that only works if people actually get to see the testimony, and there’s an entire demographic who aren’t necessarily being given the chance.
That might explain why one notable figure wasn’t seeming to pay attention.
The Takeaway: Let’s take a moment to think about just what the current impeachment inquiry hearings say about politics in 2019.
Donald Trump Jr.’s Triggered Book Tour
What Happened: Donald Trump Jr.’s book tour hit a snag in Los Angeles.
What Really Happened: While the impeachment hearings continued apace in Washington, DC, Donald Trump Jr. hit the road to promote his new book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us. During a stop at UCLA, where he and his wife, Trump campaign adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle, were asked to speak to a crowd of conservative fans, the following happened.
Yes, in a surprising turn of events, Trump Jr. found himself booed offstage by protestors, some of whom were Trump supporters. It didn’t get any better after that.
Actually, there was a far uglier reason why the booing was happening: A civil war inside the right over just how ruthless and cruel they can be, led by those who stan for “Even More Cruelty, Please.”
After the story went viral, America First’s self-appointed leader Nicholas Fuentes decided to announce that Don Jr. wasn’t actually at fault at all.
For those wondering about “Groypers,” it’s basically Pepe the Frog, but worse. So, you know, there’s that.
The Takeaway: As could only be expected, the internet also couldn’t help but remind everyone of the title of Trump Jr.’s book and point out the irony.
What Happened: At times, the internet can be a grateful place indeed, and in entirely unexpected ways. For example, last week, the online community came together to sing the praises of birth control.
What Really Happened: Midweek last week you might have noticed #ThxBirthControl trending on social media. The hashtag came from a political campaign against unwanted pregnancy, but it soon became a way for a lot of folks to speak their truth.
The hashtag got some media coverage, helping to spread the word further than it might have spread otherwise. The hashtag also let people share the other benefits of birth control.
All of this is not to argue that birth control is perfect, as many discussed using the hashtag—
—but, as many pointed out, imperfect birth control is still preferable to no birth control. Which is, you know, a real possibility these days.
The Takeaway: For those who might be tempted to shame those taking part in the hashtag, there was already a well-written response lying in wait to be used by any and all interested parties.
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