This week, as the kids say, was everything. No, really, it had it all: new albums from Beyoncé and Drake, the Ted Cruz-is-the-Zodiac-killer meme getting recharged by his prospective VP pick and anagrams, and arguably the least anticipated musical pairing this year. But we’ll get to that soon enough. For now, let us pay our respects to the seven days that we have all survived together, and let us tell you of things that unfolded on this here Internet, important things, that you might have missed during that period.
Will the Real Edward Snowden Please Stand Up?
What Happened: Sorry, Beyoncé. There’s a new voice of pop culture, and it belongs to a genuinely unexpected source. (Well, two sources, but one of them is trying to be the other.)
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, blogs
What Really Happened: If the week started with Beyoncé ruling everything around her, it ended with a surprise new challenger for the throne: Edward Snowden. Yes, the former CIA employee who made a name for himself by leaking information about NSA spying programs and then going on the run in 2013 has gone from a political exile to pop culture’s latest double threat, thanks to the surprise one-two punch of an Oliver Stone biopic and his first single. No, that’s really not a joke.
You’ve already seen the overblown drama of the first trailer for Oliver Stone’s biopic, in which giant screens, creepy Rhys Ifans, and Nicolas Cage all fail to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Snowden seem any more interesting, but at least Twitter seemed interested in one part of the movie:
i like how JGL earnestly imitates Snowden’s voice for this movie, but doesn’t have blond hair, a feature that ppl would actually recognize.
— Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (@Hello_Tailor) April 27, 2016
oh no JGL’s snowden voice — certified garbage bb (@Brinny) April 27, 2016
CONTEST: First person to redub every Joseph Gordon-Levitt line in the SNOWDEN trailer with the Bane voice wins my amusement and respect.
— Scott Wampler (@LimitedPaper) April 27, 2016
The Snowden movie may be fantastic, but god that trailer is awful. Joseph Gordon Levitt’s voice almost made me put my head through a wall.
— Clint Evans (@Maven) April 27, 2016
Gonna use Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Snowden voice for all my auditions tonight. I will book NOTHING. — Sam Riegel (@samriegel) April 28, 2016
Hell is being stuck in JGL’s dressing room while he works on his Snowden voice and you’re buried neck-deep in rubik’s cubes
— Caitie Delaney (@caitiedelaney) April 27, 2016
JGL’s impression of Snowden is closer to Buffalo Bill. This will be hard to watch, even academically. — (@shallowrewards) April 28, 2016
JGL as Edward Snowden sounds like a guy lowering a bucket full of lotion down a well
— Anthony Burch (@_anthonyburch) April 28, 2016
Oh, come on. Surely someone must have had something positive to say about the trailer…?
@Snowden Oliver Stone just created a market for Rubik’s cubes with SD card holders.
— Alex Abdo (@AlexanderAbdo) April 27, 2016
Fine, that’ll do. But, wait: We said double threat, didn’t we? That’s because, on Thursday, Snowden dropped a music video (above). OK, so maybe the media elite aren’t fans—Gizmodo called it “a truly, truly bad song” while Select/All described it as “magnificent hacker garbage”—but what do the people think of Snowden’s first venture into the world of music?
— Christine Estima (@christineestima) April 28, 2016
Yeah, that seems fair. This is terrible. But congratulations to Edward for daring to try something new, nonetheless.
The Takeaway: Coming up soon: Snowed In: The Edward Snowden Holiday Special, in which pop culture’s favorite leaker grills Santa Claus about just how he knows who’s naughty and nice anyway, and then lets it snow with an exciting new collaboration with Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé! “It’s such an honor to work with such professionals who are so passionate about individual privacy,” said Snowden in a statement.
Beyoncé Made Lemonade, Then Gave It to Us All
What Happened: As Lemonade conquered everything before it, people wanted to know: Who is Becky with the good hair?!
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, blogs, media think pieces
What Really Happened: There’s no getting around it: Ever since Beyoncé’s Lemonade dropped last weekend—not only offering a way to get over losing Prince, but also reviving the fortunes of the lemon emoji—it’s dominated the pop-culture landscape. It’s on track to sell half a million copies in its first week, it’s saving the reputation of Tidal, and, let’s be honest: It’s getting everyone to ask who the hell “Becky with the good hair” is.
For those hiding under a rock, the reference comes from the track “Sorry,” when Beyoncé sings “He only wants me when I’m not there/He better call Becky with the good hair,” a line which was immediately seized upon as a reference to husband Jay Z potentially cheating on Beyoncé. But cheating with who? Twitter got on the case:
— Michael Collado (@michaelcollado) April 24, 2016
— Michelle Collins (@michcoll) April 25, 2016
“Becky with the good hair” exposed: pic.twitter.com/vJ42lIxMvT
— huntigula (@huntigula) April 27, 2016
I found Becky with the good hair. Case closed. pic.twitter.com/CEyvYWIO8l
— Wesley Snipes (@wesleysnipes) April 26, 2016
Multiple suspects (including designer Rachel Roy and British signer Rita Ora) denied that they were the Becky in question, while Beyoncé’s dad suggested that everyone is Becky in a surprise twist. (Others had already suggested a similar idea, oddly enough.) Some pointed out that it was strange to see Beyoncé’s fandom go after “the other woman” instead of the cheating husband, and that maybe the whole search should be called off. And then there were those that just don’t care:
30 years from now, we’ll find out who becky was and our kids won’t care, just like we didn’t care who shot JR
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) April 27, 2016
The Takeaway: Oh, it was all a misheard Captain America: Civil War reference?
Bucky with the good hair. pic.twitter.com/edoKW8gu4G
— Bilge Ebiri (@BilgeEbiri) April 26, 2016
The Cards Never Lie, I Thought I Told You
What Happened: Donald Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton would be nowhere if she wasn’t playing the “woman card.” The Internet’s collective ears perked up. Where It Blew Up: Twitter What Really Happened: Adventures in Politics, Part 23: Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continued to try and pivot towards the general election this week, turning his attentions away from immediate competitors Ted Cruz and John Kasich and towards leading Democrat Hillary Clinton, whom he complained was playing “the woman card,” saying, “That’s all she’s got… it’s a weak card in her hands.” (Reminder: Seven in 10 women have unfavorable views of Donald Trump.) Meanwhile, Twitter got to wondering, what is a “woman card.” Does it have benefits of some kind?
— Mary Cathryn Ricker (@mcricker) April 27, 2016
let’s talk about the #womancard. is that the one that tells men they can sexually harass me in public?
— mazzie (@mazzie) April 27, 2016
is it the #womancard that says on it I don’t get bodily autonomy because I can’t possibly know what’s best for myself?
— mazzie (@mazzie) April 27, 2016
All this time I thought it was my library card that brought me all this amazing privilege. Turns out it was my #womancard
— Stephanie Nakhleh (@StephNakhleh) April 27, 2016
Will my #womancard earn me frequent flyer miles?
— rachel dory (@racheldory) April 27, 2016
Ladies, the #womancard gives you a 21% discount on your salary.
— Laurie Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) April 27, 2016
— Naureen C Fink (@NaureenCFink) April 27, 2016
I wish my #womancard gave me discounts on shoes and tampons instead of being a discount card for same work pay.
— Heather Wilson-Smith (@GoddessesUnite) April 27, 2016
Every time I try to play my #womancard, a man has to explain how it works.
— kaya oakes (@kayaoakes) April 27, 2016
The #WomanCard is so overplayed. All the female presidents have used it.
— Jenn Brissett (@jennbrissett) April 27, 2016
I Tried To Play My #WomanCard and All I Got Was This Lousy Sense That Misogyny Is Alive And Well
— Jenny Jaffe (@jennyjaffe) April 27, 2016
Does the #womancard work like a loyalty program where you get to redeem points?
— Black Girl Nerds (@BlackGirlNerds) April 27, 2016
— NickG (@sub150run) April 27, 2016
— Erin Ruberry (@erinruberry) April 28, 2016
My #womancard buys me unsolicited endearments like cupcake, sweetie, honey and girl during interactions with men I don’t personally know.
— Aღanda (@GrnEyedMandy) April 28, 2016
Yes, “woman card” definitely got some traction. Just not the kind of traction that Trump was probably hoping for when he coined the term. After all, now you can get an official Hillary for America Woman Card by donating to her campaign. That’s probably not what Trump was intending when he brought it up.
The Takeaway: Of course, not everyone is on board with this newfangled technology.
I don’t even use a #womancard. I still write woman checks.
— Elizabeth is Ruined (@Elizasoul80) April 27, 2016
Well, Just Go Right to the Pound and Find Yourself a Hound
What Happened: Science doesn’t think you should hug your dog. Or does it? Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media think pieces What Really Happened: Around here, we’re not just dog owners, we’re dog cuddlers. That’s why we were disturbed by a story that appeared earlier this week in Psychology Today suggesting that dogs don’t like to be hugged. This was very troubling. The Internet seemed to have the same reaction, with theoriginalreportspreadingvirallythroughshareddisbeliefandhorror. Twitter was, as you might expect, distraught at the idea:
i reject dog hug truthers dogs like hugs i just know it
— #rachelsyme (@rachsyme) April 26, 2016
The news just told the world not to hug dogs because it stresses them out but I hug my dog when I’m stressed out so now what do we do ??????
— Lindsey Howard (@lindseyhow) April 26, 2016
Someone explain to me why my dog is always trying to get me to hug him. Dog Hug Truthers, EXPLAIN IT. https://t.co/HyEp0eQgUE
— Kirsten Schofield (@ennuigo) April 27, 2016
— Nicola (@JardineFinan) April 27, 2016
(It’s great how quickly “dog truthers” became a thing.) Normal service was quickly resumed, thankfully, when itwaspointedout that the source of the claim wasn’t a peer-reviewed scientific study, but merely “a set of casual observations” from one retired researcher, which is to say, not any real scientific finding at all. Phew. Panic over. The Takeaway: Consider this whole thing a lesson in the importance of checking out your sources. And a reminder that your pup probably needs some affection right about now. After all, think what even the idea of dogs can do for us!
If you’re struggling with finals: 1. Imagine a dog 2. Imagine petting that dog 3. You’re welcome
— WeRateDogs (@dog_rates) April 27, 2016
All Other Priorities Rescinded
What Happened: To celebrate “Alien Day” (don’t ask), Reebok released extremely limited edition sneakers based on what Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley wore in the movie. Except they were released in men’s sizes only.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, blogs
What Really Happened: Did you know that April 26 was Alien Day? You didn’t? That’s because the marketing opportunity was a relatively recent attempt to co-opt things like “Star Wars Day” (May the Fourth) and the furore over Back to the Future last October. (The Alien Day date came from the fact that the original planet where the alien eggs were discovered was LV-426, which means 4/26, which means someone was trying far too hard to make this work.) Nonetheless, in an attempt to take advantage of this opportunity, Reebok announced plans to release a limited edition replica of the “Stompers” worn by Weaver in Aliens, James Cameron’s 1986 movie celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Both stupid-looking and wonderfully retro, fans were excited… until details of the release were revealed.
— Reebok Classic (@ReebokClassics) April 26, 2016
— Reebok Classic (@ReebokClassics) April 26, 2016
Yes, they sold out in 38 minutes—a fact that might seem a little more noteworthy had there been more than 36 pairs available. Yes, you read that right; there were only 36 pairs available, despite the release having been promoted for weeks (also, at 38 minutes to sell out, that means they didn’t exactly sell that briskly). But, wait! That’s not the worst part. You remember that these were replicas of the footwear of iconic female action hero Ellen Ripley, right?
— Sarah Schatsiek (@purduey88) April 26, 2016
what’s sadder: the fact that reebok released alien stompers only in men’s sizes, or the fact that I’m not surprised they did it?
— taylor stark (@Ieiasorgana) April 26, 2016
wait, @Reebok Alien Stomper shoes, modeled after the pair worn by Sigourney Weaver, only come in men’s sizes?! How can you be so tone deaf?
— Don Jenver (@TJECS206) April 26, 2016
— Katy Pegg (@katypegg) April 26, 2016
Reebok making Ripley shoes for men only on ALIEN DAY, they deserve this pic.twitter.com/7zuDWlV4FI
— Harry Knowles (@headgeek666) April 26, 2016
As should be expected, thebacklashtoReebok’sreleasewasswift, but the disaster wasn’t over yet. The company responded to io9 with two separate statements, the first of which explained that “The Alien Stompers were released in men’s sizes due to retail demand,” before a second—which reportedly said that the first statement came from someone who was “not authorized to give a statement” and tried to walk things back considerably: “The Alien Stomper was mis-categorized on our US website as a men’s shoe. While size availability varied by market, the Alien Stomper is a unisex style and was produced in sizes (US Men’s) 3.5 – 12, which is a typical size range for a unisex model.”
So it’s not a “Oh, now everyone on the spaceship is dead because John Hurt couldn’t stop going to investigate weird alien eggs by himself” scale mess, but it’s close.
The Takeaway: There’s really only one response, right?