Oh, internet. You always know how to make things seem so special. Why, at the start of this week, we thought that Captain America was a defender of liberty with admittedly poor judgment (Cap, if Bucky can be brainwashed just by someone saying a few words, why are you taking him on a mission with you without any other backup?), but thanks to the internet, we now know that he’s actually a Nazi who definitely isn’t gay. And we also know which laundry detergent will support a relative’s racist beliefs! Really, internet, you shouldn’t have. No, no, really. You really, really shouldn’t have. For those who have no idea what we’re talking about, strap in: Here’s what you missed in the last seven days on this world wide web of ours.

When Titans Clash

What Happened: So it seems as if Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are going to have a debate. But what should that debate be called?
Where It Blew Up: Twitter
What Really Happened: Proving that this election season is officially vying to be the strangest in living memory, it’s beginning to look like presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will debate Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders ahead of the California Democratic primary, an event that literally got started because of a comment made on a late-night talk show. It’s something that has been described as “Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare” by some, although lots of other Democrats seem to think it’s pretty nightmarish all on their own, especially considering Trump is portraying it as something the Sanders camp has to pay for by raising $10-15 million for charity in order to make it happen. The Sanders camp responded to that suggestion by announcing that they hope Trump doesn’t “chicken out,” because this really is some kind of surreal schoolyard moment happening in the national discourse.

Thank goodness, then, for Twitter, which concerned itself with the important question of the day: what to actually call the debate if and when it happens. Surely “The Bernie Sanders/Donald Trump Debate” is too mundane for such an event? Here are just some of the suggestions that popped up under the hashtag #SandersTrumpDebateNames:

The Takeaway: Of course, there’s another way this could all end up going, and a name for the debate that might end up being particularly appropriate…

Steve Rogers’ Big Week, Part 1

What Happened: After Captain America: Civil War revealed that Sharon Carter, not Bucky Barnes, was the love of the Marvel hero’s life, Twitter decided to respond.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media think pieces
What Really Happened: For a certain demographic of Marvel Studios fans, there’s one relationship that towers above any other in the movies—or, at least, it did until Captain America: Civil War. The subtextual love between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes (or Stucky, for those who enjoy portmanteaus) looked like it would come to a head and finally be acknowledged in Civil War, but instead, Steve got to make out with Sharon Carter, the niece of former squeeze Peggy Carter. On the one hand, so far so depressingly true to form, but on the other… Well, fans decided that enough was enough, and took to Twitter to complain about the emphatic attempt to keep Captain America in the closet:

The #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend hashtag was quickly picked up by the media, with reports spreading the message. The movement was even acknowledged by GLAAD towards the end of the week. Surely, this would be enough to get a response on the subject from Marvel? Apparently not, but that’s because it had its own plans for Cap, it would turn out.
The Takeaway: Of course, some people weren’t convinced that the hashtag came from a place of affection and support.

Steve Rogers’ Big Week, Part 2

What Happened: What’s that you say? Marvel would be more likely to make Captain America a Nazi than let him be gay? Oh, that’s ridicul—oh.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media think pieces
What Really Happened: In the first issue of the new Captain America: Steve Rogers comic book, released Wednesday, it’s revealed that Captain America really did have a secret he was hiding from everyone around him. It wasn’t that he was gay, however; it’s that he was a double agent with his true loyalties lying with Hydra, the terrorist organization made up of former Nazis and other ne’er-do-wells promoting white supremacy and racial violence. What the what?

As the story—which, obviously, will be explored and almost inevitably revealed to be fake and/or the machinations of a super villain who has warped reality at some point down the line—made its somewhat confused way across the internet, social media was filled with fans who could not be any more upset at the fact that the character was being aligned, however temporarily, with a group that is essentially a stand-in for the Nazis (although, as some really want to make clear, they’re not Nazi-Nazis):

Why, even on-screen Captain America Chris Evans seemed upset at the revelation:

However, some of the backlash was directed at the wrong people:

That’s Brian Michael Bendis, who writes for Marvel, but not any series that actually stars Captain America. (He does do the Miles Morales Spider-Man book, though, and chances are you’d enjoy it if you checked it out.) And then there are those who used to write Captain America, but haven’t actually been with Marvel since 2012…

Of course, not everyone was convinced in Cap’s inherent goodness in the first place:

And, let’s be honest, this wasn’t even the first time Cap has gone to the other side:

Perhaps, just maybe, there’s the chance that Cap will turn out to have been a triple agent all along…

Or maybe just simply wrong-headed:

But what about Nick Spencer, the man who actually wrote the comic? How was he taking all the kerfuffle (which actually included his receiving death threats, because what the hell, people?)?

The Takeaway: Hey, can someone wrap up the last couple of items into one pithy tweet before we move on?

Thank you.

This Is Probably Not the Best Way to Sell Soap

What Happened: There are many ways to advertise your soap as being really good at making your whites whiter. This was not one of them.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media think pieces
What Really Happened: As stunning as it might seem, this is a real television commercial for the Chinese brand Qiaobi:

Just… just take a minute to let that sink in.

Unsurprisingly, the ad went viral as the internet struggled to understand just how racist it really was. (The answer, by the way, is really racist.)

On Twitter, the reaction was one of disbelief:

Staggeringly, a sales agent for Qiaobi, speaking to the Los Angeles Times, seemed surprised at the reaction the ad received. “Why did foreigners say that [the ad was racist]?” she reportedly told a reporter. “We only paid attention to the product itself. We didn’t even notice [the racial angle]. It’s only an artistic exaggeration.”
The Takeaway: Of course, history demonstrates that this isn’t the first time something like this has been attempted, so perhaps we should save our holier-than-thou-ness for a while…

Texts You Can Believe In

What Happened: The internet tells you what you stand for.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter
What Really Happened: This one is just silly and wonderful. It got its start from blogger and kids’ author Amelia Hamilton:

The responses were illuminating about potential political stances, and also what we say to each other in texts:

The Takeaway: Apparently, my slogan would simply be “Okay” (without punctuation, even; I am everything that’s wrong with modern education). But this one might just be perfect.


While You Were Offline: Captain America Had a Tough Week, You Guys