Welcome back, internet fans. We’ve got a lot to catch up on, so let’s get started. First of all, to set the scene, it’s been the kind of week where an attempt to avoid backlash causes backlash and everyone in Texas is, as of this writing, getting ready for a hurricane that will hopefully disappoint when it shows up. In other news, plans are being made to “shrink” national monuments, British people are crying over a clock, and some folks are just now discovering Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” is a cover. As for what else has been going on, well, welcome to the highlights—and, OK, maybe some lowlights—of the past seven days of online playfulness.
Staring at the Sun
What Happened: Despite warnings to the contrary from nearly all corners, President Trump looked directly at the sun during last week’s solar eclipse. It did not go unnoticed.
What Really Happened: Cast your mind back to Monday, and the total solar eclipse that captivated the nation. If there was one thing everyone was told about the eclipse ahead of time, it was that no one should look at it without protective glasses. So guess what happened at the White House?
As should only be expected, this quickly became a thing being eagerly reported. And while most of the media covered it as you might expect—which is to say, in stunned disbelief—one network was giving it to America straight:
Oh, no, wait, that was a joke. Well, how did Fox cover it, anyway?
The Takeaway: Is there some way to put this all in some kind of perspective?
Well, OK, that’s certainly one way to do it.
The Internet Doesn’t Care About James Cameron’s Wonder Woman Opinions
What Happened: Director James Cameron decided to complain that they don’t make feminist action heroes like they did in his day. The internet was hearing none of it.
What Really Happened: With the re-release of Terminator 2 just days away, James Cameron decided to weigh in on the success of Wonder Woman in an interview with The Guardian.
“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided,” he said. “She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards. Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit. And to me, [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female!”
Let’s see how that went down, shall we?
Of course, Cameron’s criticism (and the pushback from fans) was something that the media couldn’t resist. And Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins ended up taking to Twitter herself to respond to the criticism.
Jenkins’ comments started a whole new conversation and series of thinkpieces, which continued into the weekend. As of this writing, Cameron hasn’t weighed in again.
The Takeaway: A step backwards, you said, Mr. Cameron?
You Say Potato and I Say Potato
What Happened: It’s the hot new buzzword, but what happens when the president yells “antifa!” during a rally?
What Really Happened: Donald Trump’s rally in Phoenix was another public display that stunned many, but that’s not to say there wasn’t something entirely inconsequential for people to focus on in the midst of it. Namely, Trump’s first public usage of one word in particular.
Yes, the president said “antifa,” and it caused a stir:
Actually, it’s funny you should ask…
Meanwhile, there was a backlash forming about the complaints about his pronunciation.
It’s the new “gif”/”jif” debate of our times! Which is to say it’s utterly pointless but will get debated ad nauseam anyway.
The Takeaway: Actually, does anyone remember how they pronounced “antifa” before this moment?
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?
What Happened: From social media slithering to the backlash against a new single, it’s been quite a week on social media for the returning queen of pop, Taylor Swift.
What Really Happened: It hasn’t been all celestial events and political pronunciation on the internet this week, of course. For many, the biggest news was the emergence of a snake on social media.
Yes, Taylor Swift wiped her social media presence and replaced it with a glitchy image of a snake in advance of … something. (It was later revealed to be an album announcement. Because of course it was.) The internet went wild.
And then it continued to go wild as the promotional posts kept coming.
By the time the announcement was finally made, things had reached fever pitch.
And then the single dropped. And things… changed.
Yes, friends, just instants after the return of Taylor Swift, it’s the return of the Taylor Swift backlash! It’s nice to know that, in a time of shifting norms, some things can be relied upon.
The Takeaway: Hey, no one got that excited about the new Beck song, released the same day. What’s that about? Not enough snakes?
What Happened: One man just wants to love some cats, but there’s some weird catfishing to deal with first.
What Really Happened: We’ll end with one of the stranger stories of this last week—but one that, thankfully, has a happy ending. It has a less-than-happy beginning, though.
Twitter en masse was particularly understanding:
It turns out that that initial tweet was just the start of an amazing story:
Surreal, right? Turns out, some people weren’t quite into the story.
Oh, we promised you a happy ending, didn’t we?
The Takeaway: So we’re all agreed that this was a sweet and heartwarming story, right? That doesn’t mean there’s any excuse for puns, however. Do you hear me? No puns at—
—OK fine, “furvever” is allowed, but that’s it.