Another week, and another tragedy—or tragedies, in this week’s case, because there were the shooting deaths not only of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, but also the events in Dallas, Texas on Thursday night, which ended with five police officers dead. It sounds weirdly cold to say it like that, as if each week automatically brings its own unspeakable tragedy for us to grapple with, but that’s the way that 2016 seems to be shaping up. However, you already know about such things, and this is the place where you come to learn about happenings that you possibly missed online in the apparently never-ending rush towards soul-crushing oblivion. Here, then, are some distractions from the pervasive sense of hopelessness that threatens to engulf us all. Stay strong out there.

Beyoncé’s Call to Action

What Happened: Beyoncé responded to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in a way that only she could, and it was everything you’d want.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: You might remember, upon the release of “Formation,” that some critics—read “old white men”—complained that Beyoncé was becoming radicalized, because of course there shouldn’t be any crossover between popular culture and what’s actually happening in the world. Those same critics probably went apoplectic when they learned that she put an open letter up on her website addressing the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile on Thursday.

It was a move that got everyone talking, both because of the letter’s honesty and because she called for fans to call their representatives. Something that had immediate repercussions:

That’s what happened to the page Contacting the Congress, linked to on Beyoncé’s site in the hours following the open letter being issued. Yes, she really did break a little bit of the Internet. She also broke hearts:

It didn’t stop there, however; that same night, Beyoncé performed in Glasgow and added a new piece to the Formation tour:

This, too, garnered plenty of headlines.
The Takeaway: There’s a lot to be said for Beyoncé choosing to use her platform in this way, but apparently not everyone agrees:

The Internet Did Not Like This Margot Robbie Profile

What Happened: Don’t drool over your magazine profile subject. Turns out, other people notice.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Wednesday morning, the Internet was buzzing over Rich Cohen’s profile of actress Margot Robbie for Vanity Fair, and with good reason. After all, not every magazine article starts like this: “America is so far gone, we have to go to Australia to find a girl next door. In case you’ve missed it, her name is Margot Robbie. She is 26 and beautiful, not in that otherworldly, catwalk way but in a minor knock-around key, a blue mood, a slow dance. She is blonde but dark at the roots. She is tall but only with the help of certain shoes. She can be sexy and composed even while naked but only in character. As I said, she is from Australia. To understand her, you should think about what that means. Australia is America 50 years ago, sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you go there for throwback people.”

Yes, that’s really the opening. Twitter was thrilled:

Soon enough, parody versions started appearing on Twitter:

Australia thought it was only fair to respond, too.

For his part, Rich Cohen has since claimed that the profile wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. “I was mostly joking. It is a goof,” he told reporters Friday. “To the extent that the point is serious, it’s a compliment. I’m saying that Australia is still a unified country whereas our American culture has shattered into warring camps. Australia had what we lost.”
The Takeaway: Don’t worry; there is a way to enjoy the profile after all…

Bad News at Fox News

What Happened: Turns out, Fox News might be even worse than its detractors assumed, as a new lawsuit from former host Gretchen Carlson suggests.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Media Twitter was energized midweek by the news that former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson had filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against network CEO Roger Ailes. News that, for some, wasn’t seen until after Carlson shared this on social media:

The lawsuit made for unpleasant reading:

As the Washington Post pointed out, Carlson wasn’t the first female journalist to accuse the network of harassment and misogyny, citing three earlier lawsuits that echoed Carlson’s complaint. Other outlets also reported on the sexist culture at the network, with that conversation continuing on Twitter:

Ailes released a statement that not only said that the accusations were untrue, but that the lawsuit was merely retaliation for Carlson’s dismissal due to low ratings—a statement that Carlson’s lawyers weren’t impressed by:

The Takeaway: For some, the suit is a good thing as it could force Fox News to look around at its operation, although the obvious question before that happens is, will anyone else step forward with similar accusations?

What Do We Really Really Want? Gender Equality Now!

What Happened: Bad news: The Spice Girls’ debut single came out 20 years ago. Good news: It’s back again, for good reason.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: In case you didn’t know, “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls turned 20 years old on Friday. But this week also saw the song shared online for reasons other than reminding us how old we are, thanks to this video:

The video, directed by M.J. Delaney, features a number of international figures—including Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez, Canadian Internet celebrity Taylor Hatala and Nigerian-British singer Seyi Shay—lip-synching to the song to promote the United Nations Global Goals campaign, intended to bring awareness to gender inequality around the world.

The revival grabbed a lot of headlines upon its release, not least of all because the Spice Girls themselves were sharing the video:

(OK, Mel B didn’t share it, but we bet she wanted to. Probably. Fire your social media team, Mel.)

The campaign has launched a hashtag to promote Global Goals, #WhatIReallyReallyWant, which has been adopted by some high profile Tweeters:

Really, that’s the way to celebrate an anniversary. It’s much better than a partial reunion… although, it turns out, we might have that as well:

The Takeaway: Now that we’re at the two decade mark, it’s probably safe to say it: “Wannabe” isn’t… that good of a song? (Tom Ewing, whose Popular listing of all the UK number ones is a must-read, disagrees, however.) Now, “Say You’ll Be There,” that’s much better. Can we get another video for that one, please?

Sulu’s Gay and That’s OK

What Happened: Star Trek introduces (well, re-introduces) its first LGBTQ character in time for its 50th anniversary, and everyone rejoices. Well, almost.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened:For a series as progressive as it’s been in other areas, it’s long, long overdue that Star Trek will finally add its first gay lead with this month’s Star Trek Beyond. OK, not add exactly; the movie will reveal that Sulu, played by John Cho, has a boyfriend.

As Cho put it in an interview, “I liked the approach [of the movie], which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations.” But it is, of course, a political move and one that received more media coverage than you’d expect a Star Trek movie to get.

It was also, perhaps more importantly, news welcomed by all kinds of fans:

Of course, some fans weren’t on board with the decision, which seemed somewhat at odds with the inclusiveness of the show’s mission, as was pointed out more than once on social media:

There was one surprising critic of the choice, however; George Takei, the gay actor who played Sulu in the original TV show and movies, shared his own reasoning for disliking the movie in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate,” he said. Saying that he’d been approached about the idea by director Justin Lin ahead of time, Takei said, “I told him, ‘Be imaginative and create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly being revealed as being closeted.”

Of course, this is the reboot Sulu, who’s only been around since 2009 and only appeared twice before, so “closeted” isn’t necessarily the right way of looking at it, as pointed out by Star Trek Beyond co-writer Simon Pegg. “At no point do we suggest that our Sulu was ever closeted, why would he need to be? It’s just hasn’t come up before,” he argued. “We could have introduced a new gay character, but he or she would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character,’ rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?”

Instead, Pegg said, the filmmakers “loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice. Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic.”

The Takeaway: Well, it’s not as if it’s long, long overdue…

Originally from: 

While You Were Offline: Beyoncé Calls for Action and Sulu Comes Out