What Was the Worst Thing on the Internet This Week?


The Internet is a wasteland — or, if you’re feeling more glass-half-full, a haven — for trolling, pandering, and self-aggrandizing, whether it be in innovative or particularly reductive ways. Every day there are at least one or two obnoxious things that are deserving of our hate-click, and our temporary outrage only brings the unnecessary attention to such ridiculata. Yet we can’t help ourselves from promoting it, now can we? Join us in our rage, for each week we nominate the worst Internet-based events of the previous five days, and determine which of the nominees is, in fact, The Worst.

Whether you woke up this morning and said, “Rabbit rabbit!” or “Thank God everyone will change their Twitter names back to normal,” November has finally arrived, putting an end to this very long week of Halloween celebrations (that is, of course, assuming you did not get an invite to a Halloween party tonight, which is bullshit, because Halloween should not be celebrated in November). And this year’s Halloween was a great one for blackface, with middling starlet Julianne Hough dressing up as Crazy Eyes from Orange Is the New Black. But it was an even better year for white people telling us why blackface is not even a big deal, OK??? Enter young Kelly Rheel, part-time esthetician and Thought Catalog writer, who took it upon herself to ask the tough questions: “But is your average person, like in real life, who’s just going about their day, actually upset about this? Because no one I’ve spoken to personally seems to think it’s that big of a deal.” Rheel, who is white and probably took a multicultural studies class once, thinks the uproar over Hough’s costume is just bored white people on Twitter trying to prove that they’re not racist, or something. (Sticking to Thought Catalog house style, there’s not much of a thesis here.) Naturally, Rheel responded to many people on Twitter, not really understanding why anyone would get upset at a young white woman suggesting that blackface isn’t even a big deal! The world spins ’round.

Speaking of totally-not-big-deals, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith has a boyfriend. Gawker casually mentioned this. People got annoyed about it. The New York Times‘ David Carr weighed in with a heavy-handed analysis of the whole affair. And everyone apparently forgot that this wasn’t news, because the documentary Outrage outed Smith years ago. But all of this was enough of a peg, I guess, for n+1 editor and previous object of my ire Christopher Glazek to head over to Vice and ask the question, “Does it matter that Ronan Farrow is gay?” (The real question is, “Why does Ronan Farrow matter?” but I’m the only person who still seems to be asking that one.) Glazek’s piece is ostensibly a response to a New York Times profile of Farrow that does not mention his sexuality (Glazek does quote the original article’s claim that Farrow is “is guarded about his private life”), but seems more likely to be an excuse for his own smarmy, gossipy brag about his close connection to Farrow, which he cites as his basis for outing the guy in his second paragraph: “He’s also gay, according to friends of mine who have slept with him…” That’s definitely the grossest sentence I have read in months, especially given its weird connection to Glazek’s invocation of the Act Up slogan “silence equals death” to rationalize the airing of a celebrity’s personal life for political purposes.

In lighter news, Katie Roiphe went to Amsterdam and learned that the Dutch don’t care about marry, and she thinks Americans should follow suit. There’s nothing particularly offensive about any of this, but when Katie Roiphe begins a piece with the sentence, “I was in Amsterdam for probably three hours when I began to see that having children and not being married was not a big deal there,” I completely expect her to follow that up with, “And then I got high as fuuuuuuuuuuuuck!” Oh, Katie, I am so disappointed in you.

THE VERDICT: Sorry, but white girl wondering why people care about semi-famous white woman’s racist Halloween costume always wins, full stop. (And she gets bonus points for flippantly referencing her black friends!) Let’s hope Katie Roiphe says something about stupid sluts soon so we can get back to normal.