What a week! The FCC voted to repeal net neutrality, which would make it harder to discover chapters of Harry Potter written by bots, watch conspiracy theories get torn apart in real time, and uncover awkward text conversations in the future. Meanwhile, media giants kept on growing, the slow wheels of justice turned slowly and, you know, some movie or another came out. But in case that’s not enough, there’s always … well, this.
Roy Moore’s Neigh-Sayers
What Happened: As Alabama went to the polls, folks across the country went to the internet to fret over who would be the state’s next representative in the US Senate.
What Really Happened: By now, of course, everyone knows that democratic candidate Doug Jones won the Alabama special election to become senator on Tuesday, thanks to a big boost from black voters (and not for the first time, either). But before that happened, Election Day offered not one, but two moments indicating that scandal-riddled candidate Roy Moore might somehow win.
Firstly, there was what might be the most wonderful interview on television news all year.
And, yes, you bet that the media noticed. But perhaps even more surreal was the sight of Moore showing up to vote on horseback, which led to the highlight of the week, politically: the unexpected rise of Horse Twitter, who were collectively unimpressed by Moore’s behavior.
Someone, of course, made a fake Twitter account for the very real horse, whose name is Sassy.
The Takeaway: Let’s go now to our correspondent at Moore HQ…
So, Is Paul Ryan Retiring or Not?
What Happened: As the House prepared for another vote on its tax bill, rumors started to emerge that the man in charge wanted out.
What Really Happened: Late last week rumors started circulating that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was thinking about retiring. The reason? Apparently, he was “soul searching,” which is the kind of thing that always makes news outlets excited. Well, news outlets and Twitter.
Surely that went down really well with everyone.
The Takeaway: So, was he ever actually considering retiring, or was the whole thing a rumor that got wildly out of hand? We may never know.
You Can’t Fire Me Because I Quit (Maybe)
What Happened: Who would’ve thought that a former reality star resigning (or, perhaps, being fired) from the White House would produce such drama?
What Really Happened: This one should definitely be filed under, “White House Palace Intrigue.” Because, guess what? Paul Ryan might not be quitting, but Omarosa certainly is.
Sure, it’s a good point. Who even remembered that the former Apprentice villain was even working at the White House? But, it turned out, all might not have been as cozy as it originally seemed.
Escorted off the grounds?
For what it’s worth, the Secret Service isn’t aligning with that story in its entirety.
So what actually happened? An exit interview with Omarosa herself only complicated matters.
Indeed, Omarosa said April Ryan “has a personal vendetta” against her, complained about being lonely at the White House, and suggested that she’ll spill the beans when she’s no longer officially under the employ of the federal government. Can everyone wait the month-plus until that happens?
Well, assuming that it does happen, and she isn’t swayed over by politeness from President Trump, that is…
Repeat After Me
What Happened: For all those who thought that neo-Nazis and white supremacists were working off a script—it turns out, they kind of were.
What Really Happened: Last week, the Huffington Post published an eye-opening exclusive after the site got a look at the style guide for neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer. It’s surprisingly lengthy—17 pages—but that’s about the only thing that is unexpected about it. It’s as filled by hate as you’d expect. As the piece puts it, “the guide is particularly interested in ways to lend the site’s hyperbolic racial invective a facade of credibility and good faith. Or at the very least, in how to confuse its readers to the point where they can’t tell the difference.” Twitter, naturally, was fascinated by what else was on offer in the document.
The Takeaway: Don’t worry, there were, of course, some bad takes as well.
The One Cat Person Everyone Knows
What Happened: As it turns out, cats are still very much in vogue on the internet. Or, at least Cat Person is.
What Really Happened: If you had thought two weeks ago that a short story about a woman’s life published in The New Yorker was going to be one of the most talked about things on the internet, it would have seemed ridiculous. And yet…
One of the reasons it became such a thing wasn’t just how universal it seemed to a certain part of the audience, but how non-universal it seemed to others:
And then there were the men. Oh, the men. Male response to the story got so out of hand someone even created a Twitter account dedicated to screenshots of their reactions:
The Takeaway: We can only assume the New Yorker is already working on a follow-up.