What sort of a week has it been? Well, Susan Sarandon and Piers Morgan are at war over cleavage, people continue to argue over whether or not Bernie Bros exist and, if so, are they really a bad thing, and America is still pretending Super Bowl ads are actually a thing in an era where no really cares about commercials anymore. But, of course, that’s not all! Here are the highlights of what you might have missed over the last seven days of online activity.

The Twitter Candidate

What Happened: DeRay McKesson announced his intention to become the mayor of Baltimore, and people got excited.

Where It Blew Up: Twitter, blogs, media think pieces

What Really Happened: Having risen to prominence as one of the leaders of Black Lives Matter—and, in a distinction seemingly important to some, one of the few people Beyoncé follows on Twitter—DeRay McKesson made news late Wednesday by announcing that he was standing for mayor of Baltimore in a Medium post.

“I am running to be the 50th Mayor of Baltimore in order to usher our city into an era where the government is accountable to its people and is aggressively innovative in how it identifies and solves its problems,” he wrote in a piece that acknowledged that while he was a “non-traditional candidate,” he is “a son of Baltimore.” He continued, “We can build a Baltimore where more and more people want to live and work, and where everyone can thrive.”

It was an announcement that tore through Twitter, McKesson’s traditional online stomping grounds.

The news quickly spread across the Internet, provoking much excitement (and, apparently, donations; NPR reported that almost $40,000 had been donated to his campaign within 24 hours of his announcing).

The Takeaway: Not everyone was convinced by McKesson’s candidacy, as the Baltimore Sun pointed out, citing his lack of political experience and infrastructure—not to mention the 13 other candidates—as potential stumbling blocks, but if the current presidential race has proven anything, it’s that lack of experience and a massive Twitter following can inspire passion from a great number of voters. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes.

Asked and Answered

What Happened: A British newspaper wanted to know who would stand up for Britain (well, England, but we’ll get to that soon enough) in an impressively xenophobic concern-trolling editorial. The Internet responded.

Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media think pieces

What Really Happened: It was a front page headline—and, indeed, an op-ed as a whole—designed to grab everyone’s attention. Last week, European Union president Donald Tusk wrote a letter to the EU council outlining the terms under which it was willing to negotiate the United Kingdom’s EU membership ahead of the UK’s upcoming referendum on whether or not it stays in the union. Responding to that letter, rightwing British newspaper the Daily Mail gave over its front page to the question “Who Will Speak For England?”

It’s a breathtaking piece (“voters deserve better than this,” it says at one point, decrying that instead they’re being offered “a one-sided, stage-managed charade of scaremongering, spin… and censorship”), with the arguable highlight coming midway through when it offhandedly states, “of course, by ‘England’, like Amery in 1939, we mean the whole of the United Kingdom.” But “Who Will Speak For the UK?” isn’t quite as likely to appeal to Eurosceptic bigots, is it?

Of course, once the question was asked, Twitter users took it upon themselves to answer:

Well, there you go. England—sorry, the whole of the United Kingdom—has got quite a few people willing to step up to the mic. Hopefully the Daily Mail is feeling a little bit better about things knowing that.

The Takeaway: But wait, do we actually know who was supposed to be speaking for England in the first place?


What Happened: Kanye West is on the cover of Rolling Stone … except, according to Rolling Stone, he’s not.

Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media think pieces

What Really Happened: You can tell that Kanye is preparing to drop his new album. Last week, there was his accidental beef with Wiz Khalifa, and this week, there was this:

A Rolling Stone cover! And shot by Tyler the Creator, no less! Sure, the mustard thing is kind of weird, but still; a Rolling Stone cover! That’s great, right?

…Huh. OK, that’s unexpected.

The fake cover certainly got people’s attention, even if just wondering what’s happening.

Kanye was unapologetic for the fake-out (and yes, that hashtag is genius):

The Takeaway: So, really: why the trolling? Perhaps it was in response to this RS piece, which dared to suggest that Waves will be West’s first disappointing album. Or perhaps Kanye is just bored? (The mustard thing, however, I can’t help you with.) Might we suggest a fake WIRED cover next, please?

Brand New, You’re Retro

What Happened: Amazon is planning to open 400 physical stores across the US. Maybe.

Where It Blew Up: Blogs, media think pieces

What Really Happened: Hey, remember when Amazon put all the brick-and-mortar bookstores out of business? (Note: Obviously it didn’t. That was for dramatic effect, stay with me.) Well, this week, a loose-lipped mall CEO revealed Amazon’s next step towards world domination: brick-and-mortar bookstores!

Sandeep Mathrani, the CEO of mall operator General Growth Properties told an earnings call this week that the online giant was apparently planning to open 400 stores across America as part of a new expansion—something that, unsurprisingly, got a lot of people talking.

With Amazon refusing to comment on the rumors, things got stranger when the original source walked back his comments a day later, saying that they were “not intended” to represent any specific Amazon plans. Thing is, by that point, Re/Code had done some digging and found out more about the plans, which officially didn’t exist, but if they did would include multiple stores (not just bookstores) that would merge the best of Amazon with the best of in-person shopping, somehow. If they were created, that is. Which there are no plans to do, of course.

The Takeaway: It’s unclear whether this counts as smart counter-intuitiveness, in-person nostalgia, or merely contrarian nonsense. Either way, we look forward to the inevitable announcement of the next smartphone technology, the “land line.”

Jeb? Jeb! Meh.

What Happened: Things aren’t going well in the Jeb! Bush campaign.

Where It Blew Up: Twitter, blogs, media think pieces

What Really Happened: Look, just watch this:

That “please clap” at the end has been interpreted many ways: desperation, mocking self-knowledge, irascible desire to get off stage… but no matter how you might have viewed it personally, the Internet has spoken, and it says “loser.”

But don’t just take it from me, Twitter is here to back up these statements:

Things got so bad that even his mother started piling on. No wonder he’s called his brother in for reinforcement.

The Takeaway: Has a line finally been crossed when it comes to the whole comedy/tragedy thing?

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While You Were Offline: Give Jeb a Hand, Folks. Please? A Hand? Folks?