You know that it’s been a busy week on the internet when even a pizza-loving rat can go viral. Perhaps that was just a pleasant—who doesn’t love pizza, just like that rat?—diversion from weightier topics that gripped the virtual denizens of this internet we all live on, including terrible people in charge of drug prices, terrible people in charge of airport security, and politicians allegedly committing sex acts with dead pigs. Oh, if only that last one was a joke. Here, my dear, are some of the biggest stories you might have missed from the last seven days on the world wide web.
What Would Doritos Do?
What Happened: Remember the guy who pretended to be Target on Facebook to respond to bigots? Now he’s pretending to be Doritos.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, blogs, media think pieces
What Really Happened: Mike Melgaard was already the Hero of the Internet for assuming the role of Target’s truth-telling Facebook representative back in August, defending the company’s decision to go gender-neutral with its signage. This week, he returned to the idea by becoming Doritos ForHelp, the unofficial customer representative for Doritos when it came to responding to idiots complaining about the limited edition rainbow chips, launched to support the It Gets Better project.
“You just lost my business. I’m tired of having this shoved at me from every direction,” one bigot complained. Doritos ForHelp’s response? “May we ask what is being shoved into your face from every direction?” Another wrote, “I am 60 & have purchased doritos all over the world for 43 years. If you want to sell rainbow by mail; I tell you now, I will never buy another of your long line of products.” The response? “First off, thank you for your 43 years as a world wide connoisseur of our famous Doritos. Unfortunately, you are well passed what we in the business like to call our ‘customer demographic.’ Your world views are just too outdated for our business model.”
Perhaps the best response came when talking to a pastor who complained about Doritos “endors[ing] the homosexual lifestyle” with the release of the rainbow chips. “It would just be easier for you to be consistent all across the board and continue eating our Doritos,” Melgaard wrote. “Besides, what would Jesus do? Jesus would eat Doritos.”
Of course, Melgaard’sreturnwasquicklynoticedandnotedbytheinternet. And why not? If something is going to go viral, then why shouldn’t it be someone fighting back against intolerance?
The Takeaway: First Target, then Doritos. Which company will end up being the conclusion of this particular ersatz trilogy of faux customer service? Perhaps more importantly, which company will be the first to be inspired by Melgaard’s example and start straight-talking to its bigoted customers on social media?
Of Pigs and Politicians
What Happened: And then someone said that they had a solid source who alleged the British prime minister has put his penis in the mouth of a dead pig.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, blogs, media think pieces
What Really Happened: Of all the news stories you might expect to read about the prime minister of the United Kingdom, one where he allegedly put his penis into the mouth of a dead pig was probably not on the list. And yet, last Sunday, there it was, sourced from an upcoming tell-all book about the PM, Call Me Dave, by Conservative Party donor Lord Michael Ashcroft and journalist Isabel Oakeshott. (The context was basically that Cameron did it as a student because … well, God knows. Also, and importantly: the story came from a third hand source, and may not be true.)
The Internet reacted as might be expected, with mock and awe:
Perhaps the most amusing reaction came from Charlie Brooker, whose first episode of Black Mirror featured the Prime Minister forced to have sex with a pig:
“I probably wouldn’t have bothered writing an episode of a fictional comedy-drama if I’d known. I’d have been running around screaming it into traffic,” he later told The Guardian in response to repeated questions about whether or not he’d had advance warning of the story. “It’s a complete coincidence, albeit a quite bizarre one.”
Of course, the resultant fallout had reaction round-ups from politicos, explanations about why it wasn’t that unbelievable if you’d been paying attention, spin doctors talking about how they would’ve dealt with the story, and more.
For his part, Cameron has refused to publicly comment on the story (while privately denying it, of course), but others don’t feel the same need to hold back; when the Prime Minister tweeted for the first time since the news broke, many people responded with images of pigs. This one could run and run (all the way home—OK, you got there before me).
The Takeaway: There’s something so over-the-top about this story—especially considering this particular piece of American political history—that makes it feel surreal even after almost a week of it being in existence. If nothing else, suddenly US politics feel nice and tame again by comparison.
Martin Shkreli. Paul Taggart/Bloomberg/Getty Images$750 Price Hikes Prove Too High for EverybodyWhat Happened: How do you unite the internet? Be a drug company boss that raises the price of a particularly important drug, and then be impressively unrepentant about it.Where It Blew Up: Twitter, blogs, media think piecesWhat Really Happened: Before this week, it’s possible that you’d heard the name Martin Shkreli in connection with being sued earlier this year by the former biotech company he launched, which claimed that he had taken the company public solely to provide stock to investors at his former hedge fund company. Now there’s news that his other biotech company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, is raising the price of the drug Daraprim, used to treat toxoplasmosis, from $13.50 to $750 per pill. No, that’s not a typo: $750 per pill.Oh, he had his reasons ($1,000 was apparently unrealistically cheap to save someone’s life, he suggested), but that didn’t really convince anyone:Before too long, Shkreli was officially being dubbed “Big Pharma’s Biggest Asshole” (an impression he only helped to create). Initially, he took the internet’s abuse in stride—if by “in stride,” we mean quoting rap lyrics to his haters. Before too long, however, he reversed course and announced that he’d lower the price of the drug, although that didn’t stop 4chan from doxing him a day later, nor Donald Trump calling him a “spoiled brat.”Sadly, by that point, Shkreli had made his Twitter account private, so only the chosen few could see how he reacted to either of those events.The Takeaway: While it was surprisingly charming to see the internet collectively deciding that the price hike was beyond the pale (Really, 4chan and Donald Trump both go after the same target? Who could’ve imagined that happening?), it’s worth noting that there was nothing illegal—only immoral—about the move. Wouldn’t it be nice if some of this anger spilled over into a debate about affordable medication in general before it dissipated entirely?If You Could Raise Your Arms and Lower Your Expectations of Keeping Your Dignity…What Happened: A woman was held by the TSA at Orlando airport because she is trans, and live-tweeted the experience.Where It Blew Up: Twitter, blogs, media think piecesWhat Really Happened: The Twitter feed of PUNY Entertainment’s Shadi Petosky went viral on Wednesday, when the writer and producer found herself detained by the TSA at Orlando Airport for “an anomaly” during pre-flight security. Her experience—which included her missing her flight, and then having a genuinely heartbreaking amount of trouble trying to rebook another flight out of the airport that day, all while she had to deal with people trying to contact her to tell her story, all unfolding in real time online—quickly became amediasensationwithcoverageacrosstheinternet, prompting think pieces on TSA policy and the lack of respect shown to transgender travelers. Nonetheless, the TSA officially stood behind its agents’ behavior on Thursday.The Takeaway: As with the response to the increase in drug price, the optimistic response to this story is to note how many people were (appropriately) appalled by what Petosky went through, even though the official rules have no problem with what happened. It’s not much of a silver lining—certainly not enough—but it is, perhaps, a start.It’s Time to Get Things StartedWhat Happened: A group of concerned parents are upset that the Muppets are perverted. No, really; the Muppets.Where It Blew Up: Twitter, blogs, media think piecesWhat Really Happened: Just in time for the debut this week of ABC’s new Muppets TV show, noted professional concern troll organization One Million Moms issued a warning that the beloved puppets have stopped being family friendly. In a release that helpfully noted the network and timeslot of the new show, 1MM clutched its collective pearls, saying “it appears that no subject is off limits … [the show] will cover a range of topics from sex to drugs. Miss Piggy came out as a pro-choice feminist during an MSNBC interview.”This release had the intended effect: suddenlyeveryonewastalkingaboutthenewMuppetshow. That … was the point, right? Mission accomplished!The Takeaway: Ignoring the fact that The Muppet Show was never purely a kids’ show—that was Sesame Street, although both had Kermit so it’s easy to see why people would get confused—it really does feel like this was part of a marketing campaign for the new show, instead of a legitimate protest against it. If nothing else, aren’t there other shows to be protesting against? Minority Report, for example? (Not that it’s not family-friendly, just that the movie really didn’t need a sequel.)You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate!What Happened: Finally, a hashtag for those convinced that social media ruins everything—including the appeal of great (and not so great) literature.Where It Blew Up: TwitterWhat Really Happened: This one really doesn’t need much of an introduction. What do you get when you mash up the internet and literature? The hashtag #RuinaNovelwithSocialMedia:The Takeaway: Why did it happen? No idea. But we can all agree that we should be glad that it did, even if just for “Tinder is the Night.”Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.