For the first time in a long time, this past week had nearly everyone talking about the same thing: the new coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2 is continuing to spread, infecting some 93,000 people worldwide and killing, as of this writing, more than 3,000. It’s also also harming business and destroying travel plans around the world. (Could this end up being an end to globalization, of all things?) It’s understandably the biggest subject on most people’s minds, but it’s also far from the only thing to talk about, especially as climate change is still happening and weird things are happening in Ukraine. On top of all of that, the Dixie Chicks are back and Katy Perry is pregnant. Also, Lady Gaga is going on tour and Taika Waititi is making Charlie and the Chocolate Factory shows for Netflix. While we’re waiting for those cultural monoliths, why not eavesdrop on what people have spent this week talking about? Let’s!
What Happened: The election-year mega-event known as Super Tuesday, which drastically reduced the number of Democratic candidates for US president, and left former vice president Joe Biden as the frontrunner.
What Really Happened: Did the start of this week seem special to you in any way? There was something in the air, right?
Oh, that was probably it. Yes, this past Tuesday was indeed Super Tuesday, the day during which there are so many presidential primaries that nearly one-third of the delegates are up for grabs in one 24-hour period. If that’s not “super,” then you’re probably already exhausted by primary season and wishing all of this could just be over already.
To be fair, it had been a pretty exhausting week leading up to Super Tuesday, with Joe Biden winning South Carolina on Saturday, which led to Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropping out of the race and endorsing Biden. That cleared the field to four players, with a lot of delegates to play for.
Spoiler alert: Those 1,357 delegates weren’t being shared equally between all four by the end of the night.
With 14 states voting in a variety of ways throughout the day, it’s fair to say that things didn’t go entirely smoothly—whether it was delays in results in some locations for reasons including an actual tornado, or long waits in Texas—leading many to note that the US really doesn’t do democracy that well, when it comes down to it.
If Biden and Sanders carved up the map between them—Biden might have won more states, but Sanders took California, which was big—it was a bad night for Senator Elizabeth Warren and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who struggled to take anything, but at least the latter didn’t go home empty-handed when dropping out of the race a day later.
Despite the California win, Tuesday didn’t turn out great for Sanders, whose campaign went from frontrunner to plucky insurgent when his projected youth surge failed to happen, prompting some to expect a change in strategy moving forward. Online, however, a day after Super Tuesday, #RiggedPrimary started trending—because who needs introspection or reconsideration when there are conspiracy theories to be floated?
Well, this seems fine.
The Takeaway: We would be remiss if we didn’t talk about the most important result of the Super Tuesday vote, however. Is it too late to get Murfee on the national ticket?
What Happened: One of the most dangerous things during a viral outbreak is the sharing of misinformation, which explains why more than a few folks are worried about President Trump’s remarks to the nation last week.
What Really Happened: In times like now, with the coronavirus continuing to spread inside the US and across the world, it’s important that people stay informed with the most up-to-date information about what is going on, and what they should do in response. That’s why it falls to the President of the United States to have the right information at his fingertips when he talks about the subject.
Yes, the president went on Fox News to give his own assessment of the coronavirus impact, disagreeing with the World Health Organization’s estimate on the death rate based on, and I quote, “just my hunch.”
The next morning, he took to Twitter to explain.
You might be wondering why the Comcast shoutout in particular, and the answer is … actually, it’s hard to tell. (Comcast owns NBCUniversal, a fact that most people don’t remember for obvious reasons.) Nevertheless, there’s this thing that usually happens when people try to deny things they said on television: A lot of people have receipts.
The Takeaway: Just imagine if Trump’s call to Sean Hannity’s show had gone another way.
No Time to Die Gets Delayed
What Happened: The new James Bond movie’s release got postponed due to fears about the new coronavirus.
What Really Happened: Speaking of the coronavirus, midweek brought some genuinely surprising news about just what kind of an impact it was having. No, not that both Italy and Greece were closing schools to prevent the spread of the virus in their particular countries, although that’s obviously a big deal. Instead, it was the surprise announcement that even Britain’s greatest fictional living super spy had fallen prey.
The announcement came days after fans had asked for this very thing, suggesting that No Time to Die deserved better than being dumped in a marketplace where people might, understandably, want to avoid hanging out in spaces where people are touching their faces and not washing their hands together.
Nonetheless, not all fans seemed too happy with the news, thereby proving the truism “you can’t please all of the people all of the time, especially if you’re denying them access to a piece of entertainment they’ve convinced themselves they have an undeniable right to as soon as possible, even if there’s a global outbreak as a counterargument.”
Of course, some were unconvinced by the cover story and wanted the “truth” to get out.
The Takeaway: Does anyone have a pun that we can wrap this up with? Anyone? We’ll accept something about there being more time to die after all, or perhaps a “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to be delayed for seven months,” or…
Supreme Court Justice
What Happened: Apparently, it’s not cool to suggest that Supreme Court justices should think about the political consequences of their decisions, unless you’re the commander-in-chief, in which case it’s all fine.
What Really Happened: It’s not all Covid-19 around these here parts, of course. Although it might feel otherwise, the rest of life continues to go on everywhere. Why, just think of the US Supreme Court! It’s probably up to something really exciting right now!
Well, that sounds a little foreboding.
The case in question centers around defending Louisiana’s restrictive abortion laws, and it’s very similar to a Texas case the court struck down four years ago—this time around, though, the makeup of the Supreme Court is significantly different considering two Trump appointees now serve as justices. Concern over the possibility that the increasingly conservative court might use the case to close down abortion rights prompted Senator Chuck Schumer into action, speaking Wednesday morning.
Roberts stepping in on this topic wasn’t appreciated by many court watchers, who felt as if he was stepping into waters that he probably didn’t want to be in.
Not everyone thought that Roberts’ comments were beyond the pale, however.
Still, I’m sure Schumer will back down and—
OK, but at least there’s no way to escalate this any m—
Oh, come on.
The Takeaway: Looks like this one isn’t over yet.
Twitter Is Fleeting
What Happened: Twitter unveiled what it thought was the latest big idea to make Twitter seem less like Twitter last week, prompting users to declare that the service was about to die. So, you know, no one massively overreacted or anything.
What Really Happened: You know it’s a good sign when one of the biggest trending topics on Twitter at any give point is “#RIPTwitter.” Such was the case on Wednesday afternoon, when it turned out that a lot of people were ready to give the social media platform its last rites.
You’re probably asking yourself what fleet is. Or, to be more precise, what fleets are. Thankfully, the answer was easy to find on the apparently-soon-to-be-deceased platform.
This is, of course, the time to remind everyone why an edit button is not a good idea for Twitter.
Of course, before anyone gets too excited about the idea that this will be the thing that finally destroys Twitter, just remember: You’re in here with us. There’s no escape.
The Takeaway: Really, this is just the start of a horrifying new tradition, that’s what we’ve got to realize. All hail the fleets.
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