While You Were Offline: Trump Stood in Front of a Fake Presidential Seal

Welcome back, faithful reader. After a week off to handle Comic-Con International, While You Were Offline is back—and we have a lot to discuss. For one, President Trump's tweets are once again in the news, this time sparking discussion about whether or not they could be labeled racist. In other news, leaked text messages and subsequent protests forced the governor of Puerto Rico to resign, the Department of Justice reinstated the death penalty after 16 years, Europe hit record high temperatures, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg performed a mic-drop. https://twitter.com/Conservatives/status/1153622059207016448 Yes, former journalist and former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson was the winner. Indeed, Johnson won the race by a significant margin. https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson/status/1153629326811774976 May offered her congratulations on Twitter. https://twitter.com/jeremycorbyn/status/1153624236092735489 …

The #IceBae Meme Captures the Worst of 2019 So Far

IceBae is not the frozen water equivalent of Salt Bae, sending ice cubes cascading stylishly into cups across the internet. She's a US Customs and Border Protection officer, identified as Kiara Cervantes, who provided security during Vice President Mike Pence's recent visit to a Texas Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center. On Sunday, a Twitter user encountered a photo of Cervantes standing in front of a crowded pen of migrants. This user found the image sexy, and shared it. Other users followed suit, and soon #IceBae—the most 2019 of thirst hashtags—was born. Emma Grey Ellis Stop Meme-ing Taylor Swift Emma Grey Ellis The Meaning Behind the #UnwantedIvanka Meme Emma Grey Ellis Why the Momo Challenge Film Might Beat the Meme …

Social Media Could Make It Impossible to Grow Up

Several decades into the age of digital media, the ability to leave one’s childhood and adolescent years behind is now imperiled. Although exact numbers are hard to come by, it is evident that a majority of young people with access to mobile phones take and circulate selfies on a daily basis. There is also growing evidence that selfies are not simply a tween and teen obses­sion. Toddlers enjoy taking selfies, too, and whether intentionally or unintentionally, have even managed to put their images into circula­tion. What is the cost of this excessive documentation? More spe­cifically, what does it mean to come of age in an era when images of childhood and adolescence, and even the social networks formed during this …

While You Were Offline: The Great Debate(s) That Rocked the Internet

Welp, June is over and it ended with a lot of fanfare. Over the past week, President Trump joked about election interference when meeting with Vladimir Putin and also got into a fight with the US women's soccer team. It was a week where the Supreme Court failed to prevent gerrymandering; it was also, however, a week where the Supreme Court blocked census citizenship questioning—for now, at least—and rejected an attempt to revive Alabama's abortion ban. It was also a week where First Lady Melania Trump named the next White House press secretary, and the week where the next White House press secretary was called a liar. The One Day at a Time revival was saved from cancellation and Kristen …

While You Were Offline: The President Is Running for President, FYI

Wow. So, what all happened last week? Well, former vice president and presidential hopeful Joe Biden can't seem to get out of his own way, and people are starting to wonder if smartphones give you horns. So there's that. Also, Roy Moore is inexplicably back in politics. Meanwhile, Slack went public; Radiohead's Thom Yorke is making musicals now; the Senate surprisingly voted to block President Trump's attempts to sell arms to Saudi Arabia; the US team is still dominating the Women's World Cup; and the NBA Draft happened. Really, it's been quite the week. While You Were Offline is here to catch you up on the rest. Semantic Disputes What happened: There are detention centers inside the US for immigrants …

Why Women Are Called ‘Influencers’ and Men ‘Creators’

Being a "social media influencer" has nothing to do with the size of your audience or the nature of your work. An influencer used to be someone with a giant, million-plus following to sell things to, but marketers have since expanded the term, piling on prefixes like macro-, micro-, and even nano-influencers, who can have audiences of just 1,000. Influencers aren't confined to a genre anymore, either. There are still the standard-issue Instagram beauty and lifestyle influencers, but also restaurant influencers, real estate influencers, pet influencers. Really, the only way to guarantee that people will think of your online celebrity as "influence" is to be a woman. Emma Grey Ellis Optimization Smackdown: Hustle Porn vs. Zen Porn Emma Grey Ellis …

Depth of Field: In Alabama, The Handmaid’s Tale Is a Haunting Metaphor

The year is 2019. It is a time of chasmic divides. Republican rule has taken hold in America. The land aches from unrest. In the Deep South, once a province of notorious racial and social subjugation, history again flirts with twisted judgement. On Tuesday, 25 state senators—all of whom were white men, and who, like clowns at the circus, bear names like Del Marsh, Shay Shelnutt, and James "Jabo" Waggoner with mischievous, cowardly grins—voted to all but ban abortion in Alabama. Their bill makes no exceptions for rape or incest, and it punishes doctors who perform the procedure with life in prison. Governor Kay Ivey signed it into law the very next day, and effectively transformed the Heart of Dixie …

While You Were Offline: President Trump Is Suing Banks Now

Unfortunately, we have to start this roundup with tragic news: There were two shootings in the past week. Adding to that feeling are headlines about Wikileaks leader Julian Assange, now-withdrawn Trump Fed pick Stephen Moore, and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who resigned last week after weeks of speculation. On the plus side, the US economy is adding more jobs. Here's what else happened last week online. Banking on It What Happened: To stop them from responding to a congressional subpoena for information, President Trump, some of his children, and his company sued a couple of banks. What Really Happened: A good portion of the American public is continuously curious about their president's finances. Trump himself, however, is often elusive …