Welcome back! It’s been a few months, but let’s get right to it: there were some very silly takes this week.
Most [Really Clever Covfefe Joke]
Chauncey DeVega, “The dark genius of ‘covfefe’: With one stupid tweet, Donald Trump is winning again,” Salon, 6/1/2017
Okay, so, earlier this week, the President of the United States got distracted midway through a tweet and sent out a tweet that read “Despite the constant negative press covfefe” with no other context or explanation. Most of us assumed it was a typo, and either ignored it or made some silly jokes. Some of us winced when Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared to suggest that it, rather than being a typo, was some kind of code word, but hey, that wouldn’t even be the weirdest thing to happen this week in the Trump Administration, so who cares? The Writers of Takes care, that’s who.
While the rest of us saw that typo and just went back to sleep, the word “covfefe” shone like a beacon on some faraway hill to the Writers of Takes. These stalwart men and women roused themselves from their beds and flung themselves at their keyboards, eyes shining with dark purpose.
So we got a bunch of thinkpieces about Covfefe, as well as a universe of memetic jokes, and that’s to be expected. Chris Cillizza, for instance, over at CNN, suggested that “‘Covfefe’ tells you all you need to know about Donald Trump,” because it suggests that Trump does whatever he wants and doesn’t listen to anybody, which, fine. Sure. I guess.
But the Silliest Covfefe-related take belongs to this article over at Salon, which opens with a short summary of a Simpsons episode where Homer asks for a raise and is instead conscripted to act as Mr. Burns’ “prank monkey,” doing various humiliating things for Mr. Burns’ pocket change.
“After watching this episode dozens of times since it debuted in 2000, I have come to the conclusion that it is an indictment not just of Mr. Burns and the callous cruelty of America’s plutocrats and Wall Street robber barons, but of Homer Simpson as well. Poor Homer, like too many other Americans, is a slave to consumerism and measures his self-worth by the amount of money in his pocket and his ability to buy things he does not really need. Homer is easily manipulated and he literally dances for the crumbs his boss throws at him.”
DeVega’s thesis is a loose connection between Homer dancing for Mr. Burns’ entertainment and the American press dancing for Trump’s entertainment. He goes through a litany of bad things Trump has done, and ends by suggesting that making fun of Trump’s tweet is a distraction from all these bad things, and that this is precisely Trump’s plan:
“The chattering classes will try to assign some profound or hilarious meaning to “covfefe.” It will be the subject of dozens if not hundreds of columns and essays. Somewhere, right now, a writer is trying to analyze the semiotics of “covfefe” and what it tells us about language formation and identity performance online.”
“Dance monkeys, dance. In many ways, his detractors are Homer Simpson and Donald Trump is Mr. Burns. ‘Covfefe’ may be nothing more than Trump throwing crumbs at his enemies for his own amusement.”
“Stop writing about this silly thing that Trump did because it distracts from Trump’s problems” might be worth saying, though it’s hardly a new thought. But listen: this would be a more stinging indictment if our guy wasn’t also writing one of these very columns that’s trying to assign profound meaning to “covfefe.” “Covfefe isn’t profound” is hard to square with “Covfefe is a sign of Trump’s dark genius.”
Most “Thinking Face Emoji” Tweet of the Week:
Erick Erickson, A Tweet, Twitter, May 31, 2017
Erick Erickson is a conservative blogger and erstwhile contributor to CNN who is most known for saying things related to being an evangelical Christian. (He denounced Donald Trump from that perspective, for one thing.) He also occasionally says things like this on Twitter:
Sure, buddy. That’s a coherent thing to say.
Most Inexplicably Hagiographic Thing to Say About a Political Figure:
Amanda Marcotte, A Tweet, Twitter, May 31, 2017
What the hell was in the air on May 31st?
Here’s Salon writer Amanda Marcotte, who also made the rounds this week for an article about Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that I’m just too tired to make fun of right now:
Let’s be clear: of course there are people whose hatred of Hillary Clinton is based in or at least expressed via a hatred of women. And it’s probably true that if your boyfriend spends a lot of time, like, shouting gendered slurs at the television whenever Hillary Clinton is on screen, he might have some hang-ups that could impact your life.
But, like, “[h]ow he treats Hillary Clinton will be how he treats you,” is some steps further removed from that point. There’s an old adage that you should never work for anyone who treats the waiter poorly, because that’s how he will treat you as an employee, and presumably that’s what Ms. Marcotte is trying to call to mind. But I submit that it is possible for a person to criticize (even sharply!) Secretary Clinton without being a misogynist, and I submit that it is also possible that there are more important red flags about an abusive relationship than how your boyfriend talks about a defeated political candidate.
Also, what in Sam Hill does “real feminism is about crafting handmade breast pumps instead of seeking power” mean?
The Silliest Take of the Week: 6/4/2017
Peter Heck, “So Sex-Segregated Bathrooms, No Good; but Sex-Segregated Movie Theaters, Good,” The Resurgent, May 30, 2017
The Wonder Woman movie came out the other day, and the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain elected to show some “woman-only” screenings of that movie. A small subset of the right-wing Internet treated this as a personal insult, including some Heat Street contributor named Stephen Miller, who purchased a ticket to a woman-only screening for later this week. Various people on the left-wing Internet got mad at Miller, and a whole lot of people shouted at a whole lot of other people. Amongst the various takes and twitterings, we got this paragraph, from Resurgent writer Peter Heck’s little roundup of various ways in which liberals are destroying American culture:
“And in what may be the most confusing development of all, liberals (particularly liberal feminists) recently became enraged when conservative pundit Stephen Miller purchased a ticket to the “woman-only” screening of Wonder Woman in Brooklyn. Of course this happens on the heels of the left’s collective freakout over state legislatures who would dare to pass laws segregating bathrooms on the basis of sex. So, sex-segregated bathrooms are bad, but sex-segregated movie theaters are essential in order to dismantle the patriarchy.”
This is one of the most relentlessly disingenuous, nonsensical, and downright stupid things I’ve ever read in my entire life. Laws segregating bathroom usage in public facilities “on the basis of sex,” as Heck describes them, are fundamentally not the same freaking thing as gender-“segregated” movie screenings. Bathrooms and movie theaters are different things, and laws are different things from movie theater stunts. If I’d said “You were okay with sex-segregated bathrooms, so what’s the problem with having a sex-segregated movie showing,” this writer presumably wouldn’t have liked that, even though it’s the same stupid idea.
For another thing, and I hate to quibble, but the movie theaters in question aren’t “sex-segregated,” the way Heck describes: the Alamo Drafthouse made it clear that any person who identifies as a woman is welcome at the screening, which means they’re not even “segregating” on the same basis.
So, let’s put aside, for a moment, the fact that these “sex-segregated bathroom” laws he’s describing are asinine, ridiculous laws that serve only to further put vulnerable people at risk and stoke an atmosphere of fear. Let’s ignore that these laws claim to be about defending “women and children,” but do absolutely nothing to do that, given that attacking women in restrooms is already illegal, and that the number of trans women who have assaulted cis women in restrooms is approximately zero. Let’s leave alone the fact that these laws were passed without even any meaningful way to enforce them, and instead serve only as a way to score cheap political points with that small subset of people who are desperately concerned about the genitalia of those peeing in the bathroom stall next to them.
Even aside from all of that, this is a remarkably silly thing to say, because it doesn’t make any freaking sense.
Finally, Heck opens his piece by talking about those who maintain “intellectual residency in the trailer park of regressive liberalism.” On behalf of trailer trash everywhere, allow me to be the first to say, “hey, screw you, buddy.”
Thanks for reading, and tune in next week for more Silly Takes! Thanks to Ken for submitting a Take, and, as always, please submit any Silly Takes you find to firstname.lastname@example.org!