While You Were Offline: That Pamela Anderson, Always Assassinating Public Figures

It was a week that saw the final presidential debate—we’ll get there in a second—the suspected murder of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange by the least obvious candidate—don’t worry, we’ll get there, too—and the fall of half the Internet on Friday morning. Who says these aren’t the Final Days? Not me, that’s for sure. For those who aren’t filled with sheer dread and utter panic for the future of humanity, perhaps you’ve not been paying attention. Don’t worry—that’s why I’ve rounded up the highlights of things that might have slipped past your attention on our favorite web of virtual tubes over the past seven days. No, no, you can thank me later.

Don’t Mean a Thing

What Happened: When he’s not alarming America by refusing to reveal if he’d accept the results of the presidential election, Donald Trump likes to spend his debates unleashing a new social media meme or two.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: A sign that things weren’t going too well for Republican Presidential nominee on Wednesday night, during the final presidential debate, was his closing, exasperated comment—said while leaning into the microphone, to ensure that everyone heard it—that opponent Hillary Clinton was “such a nasty woman.” Reaction on Twitter to the out-of-nowhere insult was as you’d expect:

But soon enough, people began to reconsider the comment and reframe it as something akin to a badge of honor:

Fantasy responses were also drafted:

Of course, Trump’s comments were picked up and shared across the Internet, but the impact was already being felt everywhere: Not only can you already buy a Nasty Woman t-shirt, not only has someone bought the domain NastyWomanGetShitDone.com and re-directed it to the official Clinton site, but Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” is experiencing a whole new wave of success in light of the word passing back into usage.
The Takeaway: Look, someone had to do it…

I’ve Heard That His Library Is the Best, and He Likes to Read, Okay? Bigly

What Happened: OK, so perhaps he won’t be the President of the United States, but if nothing else, Trump’s very individual syntax has provided the grist for some great social media memes.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter
What Really Happened: Still on the topic of the debate, one viewer noted that Trump’s particular way of speaking was oddly reminiscent of something…

This sparked off something in particular in the Twitterati, to the delight of anyone who’s ever (a) made fun of Donald Trump and (b) handed in a particularly unconvincing book report in their younger days:

The Takeaway: The meme was so flexible, it even imagined Trump responding to someone else’s book report…

Why Dost Thou Hide Thyself in Clouds?

What Happened: What links Pamela Anderson, government-sponsored assassinations and the current presidential election together? Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Julian Assange.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: It’s been a very strange week for Julian Assange, editor-in-chief and public face of WikiLeaks. Now a poster boy for the alt-right as a result of WikiLeaks’ release of hacked Democratic documents, a surreal panic about Assange’s fate started when the official WikiLeaks account tweeted out the following messages:

What could these tweets mean? A certain section of the Internet was convinced it knew the answer:

Even more wonderfully, the fact that the tweets were sent after, surreally, Pamela Anderson had visited Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, England, where he’s been hiding for four years in order to escape extradition to Sweden to face rape charges—she was there to deliver him a vegan meal, amazingly—prompted an even greater conspiracy theory:

Sadly for the conspiracy theorists (who had managed to make it onto Time), if happily for Assange, it turned out that he wasn’t dead after all:

So, what had happened to cause the tweets? WikiLeaks had some more cloak and dagger hints to drop:

Not everyone was convinced of the seriousness of the situation:

It turned out, however, that a “state party” really was responsible for cutting off Assange’s access—however, it wasn’t the state party that conspiracy theorists might have been expecting:

Ecuador released a statement explaining that it “respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states,” and that it had temporarily restricted Assange’s online access in response to belief that the DNC material was the result of a Russian government-sponsored hack. (Worth noting: US authorities reportedly urged Ecuador to cut Assange’s access.) Some people had a workaround for Assange’s plight, however:

The Takeaway: While it’s fun to imagine how Assange spends his time when he has no Internet, others have an idea of how he could probably find himself back online relatively quickly…

Game of Watch the Throne

What Happened: If Kanye West’s on-stage outburst is to be believed, his friendship with Jay-Z is over.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Who doesn’t love going to live performances by favorite artists? It’s not just about the music, of course. It’s about the things that no one expects, those little moments where things happen that aren’t on the recorded versions of tracks. Like, you know, Kanye West refusing to perform a track from Watch the Throne because he’s mad at Jay-Z:

The unexpected announcement at Wednesday’s Seattle concert made headlines, of course, because how could it not? But the fans weren’t so impressed with what they saw:

Someone else who won’t impressed, according to anonymous “music insiders,” was Jay-Z himself, with one “insider” saying that Mr. Bey “can’t stand” Kanye, and he only “tolerated” him for Watch the Throne because of the amount of money that was likely to be made by the album and tour. Expect this one to go on for quite some time, at least through backchannel “insider” reports…
The Takeaway: There is, of course, only one rational response to any of this:

You’re Into a Time Slip and Nothing Can Ever Be the Same

What Happened: Fox remade The Rocky Horror Picture Show for a mainstream, prime time audience. The Internet was uncertain about the results.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: If you weren’t watching Fox on Thursday evening, chances are you missed this…

Yes, there was a new version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show because … well, I have no real idea beyond “ratings and it probably seemed like a good idea at the time.” It wasn’t live, like other TV musical extravaganzas, and wasn’t broadcast on Halloween like you’d expect, so it just … kind of happened? As might be expected, Twitter was less than kind as it livetweeted:

Ratings reflected the overall feeling that this wasn’t anything too special, while reviews were … somewhat mixed to say the least. Rolling Stone put it best, perhaps: “It was a mess, but at least it was a hot mess, which is the optimal temperature for a mess to be.”
The Takeaway: Although the haters were out in force on Twitter, there was also this response, which feels like it should be remembered at all times when complaining about things on the Internet:

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