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.
— ? (@catsu) October 19, 2017
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 Hill (@thehill) October 17, 2017
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:
Ivanka's punk phase ended when she married Jared Rotten
— danieldaviddunn (@danieldaviddunn) October 17, 2017
congrats you went to middle school https://t.co/jxTEWisk3n
— Chris Klemens (@ChrisKlemens) October 17, 2017
You had- AT MOST- a Sum 41 CD. https://t.co/eKSDvVKUXg
— Dave Holmes (@DaveHolmes) October 17, 2017
Ripped a fishnet stocking while getting out of the limo https://t.co/A6Vbn2jdcp
— Farran Nehme (@selfstyledsiren) October 17, 2017
Glad to see Ivanka accidentally walking into a Hot Topic once counts as news now. https://t.co/n5G3b7ILin
— Kate Aronoff (@KateAronoff) October 17, 2017
I'll save you a click….her "punk phase" was dying her hair blue for a couple of hours and listening to Nirvana.
Yes, I'm being serious. https://t.co/nggrQ2sl4s
— The Deep State (@deepstaterogue) October 17, 2017
— Dusty (@DustinGiebel) October 17, 2017
Don't worry. The phase ends with her dying her hair a lighter shade of blonde. (No, really, that's in this piece.) https://t.co/uLoa8QXykV
— Emily Tamkin (@emilyctamkin) October 17, 2017
Ivanka saying she had a punk phase bc she was into Nirvana is like Taylor Swift saying she had a goth phase bc she was into Avril Lavigne.
— Brohibition Now (@OhNoSheTwitnt) October 17, 2017
The only thing Ivanka Trump was less committed to than her "punk phase" was her feminism phase
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) October 18, 2017
Ivanka Trump said she had a "punk phase" so here's proof pic.twitter.com/edkDhgtKbn
— Alexis Benveniste (@apbenven) October 17, 2017
REPORTER: What was your favorite punk band?
IVANKA: *looking at smudged hand* Groin Day?
— Sam Grittner (@SamGrittner) October 18, 2017
While the media reported on Ivanka’s Twitter dragging, someone realized folks could simply go back and look at photos of Ivanka during this punk phase and see the evidence first-hand:
here are some photos of ivanka during what she claims was her “punk phase" pic.twitter.com/gZ4WYMeFWS
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) October 17, 2017
The Takeaway: Oh, it’s easy to mock, but there are always more layers to the truth than people think.
Was ready to make fun of this but I looked it up and turns out she was the Sleater-Kinney drummer between Laura Macfarlane and Janet Weiss! https://t.co/N6vuGH2cqr
— James Urbaniak (@JamesUrbaniak) October 17, 2017
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.
— WPLG Local 10 News (@WPLGLocal10) October 17, 2017
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.
What kind of president calls the widow of a fallen hero and says “He Knew what he signed up for”? https://t.co/13s4QfVb9D
— Andrew Weinstein (@Weinsteinlaw) October 17, 2017
Trump finally called the pregnant widow of Sgt. La David Johnson today and told her: "He knew what he signed up for."
No call at all would be better!! pic.twitter.com/YHW5Dip7gu
— Remove Trump Now (@Kanisha1Jackson) October 17, 2017
On second thought, it might be best for everyone if Trump went back to golfing & ignoring Gold Star families again. https://t.co/dlxrx15JEL
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) October 18, 2017
Trump told widow of Sgt. Johnson, "he knew what he signed up for.” That’s far more disrespectful to our troops than kneeling during anthem.
— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) October 18, 2017
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…
Sarah Huckabee just refused to deny that @realDonaldTrump told the grieving widow “he knew what he signed up for.
— John Aravosis (@aravosis) October 18, 2017
OK, sure; WH spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders might not have denied it, but the president himself certainly did.
Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
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.
Pres. Trump denies lawmaker's account of call with fallen soldier's family: "Didn't say what that congresswoman said. Didn't say it at all." pic.twitter.com/3im4BzfQdr
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 18, 2017
I still stand by my account of the call b/t @realDonaldTrump and Myeshia Johnson. That is her name, Mr. Trump. Not "the woman" or "the wife"
— Rep Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) October 18, 2017
Let’s not forget that the president said he had proof that Wilson was lying. What kind of proof was he talking about?
Sarah Sanders says there is not a recording of the president's call with the soldier's widow, but Chief of Staff John Kelly was on the call.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 18, 2017
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.
John Kelly confirms that Trump made insensitive remarks to widow of Green Beret. Just wishes no one heard him do it pic.twitter.com/6hfo5ZHAuP
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) October 19, 2017
So, just to clear up the record: This was a lie, according to John Kelly. https://t.co/jFDHm9JIdP
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) October 19, 2017
The Takeaway: Well, at least the president didn’t speak to any other grieving parents.
.@WashingtonPost: @realDonaldTrump, in a personal phone call to a grieving military father, offered him $25,000 and said he would direct his staff to establish an online fundraiser for the family, but neither happened, the father said. https://t.co/TXIHU3TLoL
— Alex Sanz (@AlexSanz) October 18, 2017
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.
This is not Melania. To think they would go this far & try & make us think its her on TV is mind blowing. Makes me wonder what else is a lie pic.twitter.com/JhPVmXdGit
— Joe Vargas (@JoeVargas) October 18, 2017
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.
Is it or isn’t it Melania??? pic.twitter.com/1XsxXad1P5
— Andi Wagner (@prettyfunnymom) October 16, 2017
instant halloween costume
put on a bad wig + sunglasses
tell people you're "melania" (gotta do the air quotes each time you say it)
— Brokey the Christmas Heaux (@brokeymcpoverty) October 18, 2017
i'm alive at a time where i can watch trump talk to reporters next to whats clearly a Melania impersonator and then just move on with my day
— dylan gelula (@DylanGelula) October 18, 2017
I leave twitter for an hour and come back to Melania doppelgänger conspiracy theories, pretty average by 2017 standards tbh
— becca (@beccaboo423) October 18, 2017
Internet: The White House is using a body double for Melania
Me: Yeah oka- pic.twitter.com/Dqwzo2RazZ
— ??? (@iconicguido) October 18, 2017
"Melania" is an anagram for " A man lie".
— Steve Zorowitz (me) (@szorowitz) October 18, 2017
There is no real Melania.
— ana marie cox (@anamariecox) October 18, 2017
okay look this "Melania body-double travels w Trump" story is silly I mean where would they find another woman willing to go places with him https://t.co/aaPQ40tWIu
— shauna (@goldengateblond) October 18, 2017
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.
What Really Happened: Hey, remember that meme that perpetuated the idea that US senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was the Zodiac Killer? Well, last week Cruz himself got in on the joke.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 18, 2017
…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?
so i found "rafael" in here but haven't decoded "grassy knoll" yet https://t.co/wVb2GMTf2i
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) October 18, 2017
My official statement on Ted Cruz Tweeting a Zodiac joke pic.twitter.com/IIkDuOnBMI
— Suze (@thesuzeletter) October 19, 2017
Not everyone was a fan of Cruz participating in his own meme, however.
i hate ted cruz even more for tweeting out a zodiac killer joke, thereby ruining the only good thing that he's ever unknowingly created
— kenny loggins respecter (@jdrisc96) October 18, 2017
Certainly, while the media was thrilled Cruz was joining in, some believed that he had killed the joke by doing so. Then again, maybe there was an entirely different reason for Cruz to post the meme.
ted cruz thinks that joking about being the zodiac killer will absolve him of his crimes
— Freudian album of the yr (@NathanZed) October 18, 2017
Does he? And how has that worked out for him?
Haha Ted Cruz posted a zodiac killer meme also he doesn’t think women should be allowed to masturbate and he doesn’t want trans people to exist in public spaces
— Whitney Houston We Have A Problem (@vincentvanngoth) October 19, 2017
ted cruz embracing the zodiac killer gag works b/c it's forced & unfunny & masks how what gets him off kills orders of magnitude more people
— Jive Turkey Jeb Lund (@Mobute) October 18, 2017
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.
When Ted Cruz posts a Zodiac cipher pic.twitter.com/HfOAPWlryj
— Data Boy (@oknicechill) October 18, 2017
(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.
— Kathryn Varn (@kathrynvarn) October 18, 2017
Hi guys just a reminder that NO ONE at UF invited Richard Spencer to speak here. Our school is required to host him #SpencerAtUF
— r?m (@airbudjesus) October 18, 2017
— Corey Davis (@WFLACorey) October 18, 2017
— CV Vitolo-Haddad (@notcolloquial) October 18, 2017
— Paige Fry (@paigexfry) October 19, 2017
Sure enough, at the event itself, there were protests—but they didn’t go the way anyone expected.
— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) October 19, 2017
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) October 19, 2017
Crowd heckles Spencer, won’t allow him to speak. pic.twitter.com/xVYuBMRUOO
— martin d vassolo (@martindvassolo) October 19, 2017
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) October 19, 2017
— Claire McNeill (@clairemcneill) October 19, 2017
Spencer’s closing remarks: “You think that you shut me down. Well you didn’t. You failed at your own game…the world is going to have a very different impression of the University of Florida. The world is not gonna be proud of you. “
— martin d vassolo (@martindvassolo) October 19, 2017
Also: Campus bells played “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as Spencer prepared to take the stage. Only two arrests were made, according to local police, and Spencer was stymied and humiliated.
The Takeaway: Still. White supremacist speech? There has to be a better way to describe that…
fragile white men convention to be held at UF today #SpencerAtUF
— meanie (@meaniepants) October 19, 2017