In two years of Last Week in Weird, I have never talked about this guy. My bad.

Last Week in Weird

Public service

It’s been only a few short weeks since the eight-year horror that was the Obama administration gave way to the new and exciting horror of the Trump administration, but I bet you’d already forgotten about Joe Biden. No, admit it, you forgot. Well, uncle Joe’s been a busy man, starting a new career for himself at the University of Pennsylvania, where he’s been named the "Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor," a gigantic mouthful of syntax stew with no clear meaning. What does it mean to be a professor of "presidential practice?" Does the University of Pennsylvania have a "Being the President" major? Was Benjamin Franklin ever president? These questions, and many more, are in need of answer.

Don’t ask the university, though; they’re as clueless as we are.

Many students thought Biden would be teaching courses at Penn, but Biden spokesperson Kate Bedingfield said he will not be teaching classes when she spoke to The Daily Pennsylvanian at the beginning of the month.

University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy said the specifics of Biden’s role at Penn are still uncertain. He noted that his office wasn’t "able to have conversations around [Biden’s] specific role until he left office four weeks ago, so details are still being ironed out."

Well that just makes sense, then. I know I’ve been hired for tons of jobs well in advance of having any "conversations around [my] specific role." That’s pretty much just the way it’s done, right? At the risk of suggesting that college students actually think a non-ridiculous thing, your humble narrator is compelled to admit that this idea that a man hired by a university and given a job title that explicitly contains the word "professor" would actually teach any classes does not seem so outrageous. Fortunately, Biden has a handler with an extremely Joe Biden-appropriate name to point out that, no, his shining intellect will not be available to the students.

Although it was first reported that Biden was going to focus on the Cancer Moonshot initiative, which he launched at Penn in 2015, Martinez noted that Biden decided to pay more attention to diplomacy-based work in the nation’s capital rather than on Penn’s campus.

So he won’t be teaching classes, he won’t be working on the initiative "he" began some years back at this same university, he won’t actually be located on campus or, in fact, anywhere else in the state of Pennsylvania… nah, doesn’t sound suspicious to me at all! Let’s all go investigate some more phony allegations of Russian spies and hackers instead.

[Student Erin] Farrell added that Penn Dems is collectively awaiting Biden’s arrival. However, she is also still confused about what exactly his role will be.

"We know as little as everyone else on campus about what Biden will try to do here," she said. "If he ever wants to speak to us, we, of course, would be very grateful."

Dear Erin: he won’t be arriving. He’s staying in DC. So put away the swooning couch and the kneepads.

Hey, while we’re on that topic:

The widow of Joe Biden’s late son Beau Biden has started a romantic relationship with Beau’s brother Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s younger son…

Former Vice President Biden confirmed the relationship to Page Six and said that he and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, have given their blessing to the couple.

He told us in an exclusive statement, "We are all lucky that Hunter and Hallie found each other as they were putting their lives together again after such sadness. They have mine and Jill’s full and complete support and we are happy for them."

Aww, ain’t that sweet? Only slightly marred by the fact that Hunter Biden is already married.

Wage gap

The internet is home to a lot of stupidity, which list surely includes teenagers saying ridiculous things. Such is the nature of the beast that those ridiculous things often get passed around and imitated, and, in a very rare few cases, can be successfully monetized if the initial speaker (or a clever early adopter) is sufficiently entrepreneurial. This is actually one of the most amazing things about the internet: it has opened up a lot of new ways for people who are a bit sharp to make a buck.

It’s just too bad about all that racism, huh?

Gather round, ye olds, and thrill to a tale of yore. Summer 2014, to be exact. The place? Vine (RIP). The hero? A Chicago teenager calling herself Peaches Monroee [Kayla Lewis], who uploaded a video in which she described her eyebrows as "on fleek."

Yea verily, Peaches Monroee’s neologism spread far and wide…

But also, why didn’t she get college scholarships like Chewbacca Mom, whose claim to fame boils down to laughing while wearing a plastic mask? Lewis’s problem is part intellectual property law, part access to influence, and all systemic racial inequalities. However egalitarian the internet was supposed to be, creatives’ ability to profit off their viral content seems to depend on their race.

Oh, and the internet is also home to a lot of really bad writing. Did I neglect to mention that? That notwithstanding, understand the core idea here: some chick whose sole contribution to society has been to post a six-second video of herself talking about her eyebrows is complaining that she didn’t get rich as a result. Furthermore, the only reason Wired’s Emma Grey Ellis can come up with as to why she isn’t rich is racism. I could waste some of my precious time trying to explain to little miss Marx that the internet was never supposed to be "egalitarian" at all, but since she’s about to write the utterly idiotic line "the internet may have started as a utopian dream, but becoming an engine of capitalism was just about inevitable," I think I’ll save my engines of mockery a small amount of effort. As always, I appreciate when people are so effortlessly stupid I don’t even need to refute them.

"It’s very apparent that it’s happening along racial lines," April Reign says of the meme monetization gap. "Are the IP lawyers and trademark people reaching out to people of color? Are publicists reaching out and saying, ‘Hey let’s get you on The Ellen Show?’" For now, it’s clear that they are not.

And while somebody can argue that Ellen’s audience (and booking agent) is way more likely to have seen "Damn, Daniel" or Chewbacca Mom on Facebook than Lewis on Vine, the excuse is getting a little tired.

This article’s unstoppable stupidity has begun melting a hole through the side of my head in its attempt to annihilate every last one of my brains. These people are so desperate to invent a reason to blame everything on racism that they’re actually willing to pooh-pooh the notion that Facebook memes are more popular than Vine memes because Facebook is more popular than Vine. You think that could matter? Further research: the very first paragraph of this article mentions that Vine has just recently closed its doors. How about that Facebook? Going out of business yet?

Another possible non-racism explanation for Kayla Lewis’s lack of success as compared to, say, Danielle Bregoli (the "cash me ousside" chick): Monroee is only now trying to capitalize on a meme from 2014. Bregoli jumped feet-first into her fifteen minutes of fame, which is awesome. We’ll see if she can still get five-digit speaking fees in 2020, but signs point to no.

One could also point out that Lewis’s great original contribution — the word "fleek" — has citations on Urban Dictionary as far back as 2003. I’m having a bit less trouble than sweet, clueless Emma figuring out why it’s difficult to profit from inventing a word eleven years after it entered the popular lexicon. Of course, then there’s this:

There may be hope; Kayla Lewis has managed to raise $11,000 in just 8 days of crowdfunding.

Lord knows I’ve made eleven thousand dollars in the last eight days. But it was easy for me, since I have all that institutional racism on my side. You guys too, right?

Gross consumerism

The Nintendo Switch came out just a few days ago. We won’t go into it in detail here — this not being a gaming publication and that — but there is one thing about the launch that was so strange I just can’t leave it out of Last Week in Weird. Specifically, that all the games are apparently made in bad taste. More literally than you might expect.

We found out the hard way; while swapping out a game we foolishly placed one of the cards between our teeth to free up both hands, and recoiled at the quite frankly revolting taste. [Emphasis original]


Also, it’s probably not quite right to obsess over the stylebook to the point at which one writes "we foolishly placed one of the cards between our teeth." Unless this actually did take place during one of those kissy-face party games, in which case, hey, knock yourselves out.

Land of the free, baby!

If you’re anything like me — and you know you are — the one objection you have to the TSA’s gate rape is that it just isn’t rapey enough. I’ve always thought that the government should just try to be a little bit more sexually abusive while it searches for contraband weapons to protect us from 5% of. Well, fortunately for you, for me, and for the sex criminals who staff the agency, they’re cranking up the violation!

The new physical touching—for those selected to have a pat-down—will be be what the federal agency officially describes as a more "comprehensive" physical screening, according to a Transportation Security Administration spokesman.

Denver International Airport, for example, notified employees and flight crews on Thursday that the "more rigorous" searches "will be more thorough and may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before."

I had been holding out hope that, when president Obama was finally gone, we might actually dial the airport sexual assault down a little bit. The astute reader may have noticed that I never included that on my list of one thing we might be able to look forward to under a Trump presidency. There may have been a reason for that.

TSA officials didn’t immediately address whether the new universal pat-down protocol will mandate touching of passenger genitals.

Earth to Bloomberg: that was part of the old protocol already. Remember? You cited Rye’s piece like one line before that. If that’s what they were doing already, and the new version involves "more intimate contact," I trust even you intellectual giants can connect those two dots, right? Oh.

And now: cursing!

Here’s European Union president Jean-Claude Van Damme Juncker cursing out the rest of the EU parliament and warning them that his language might get even saltier:

Stay Classy, you crazy kids.

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