On Saturday, Sept. 3, Kanye West posted a series of black Instagram photos. “FUCK A VC NOW WHAT,” one post read, alongside a bunch of other photos of rapper Kid Cudi and Adidas executive Daniel Cherry III in hats.
Online, people tittered. “remember to repost the kanye vc post so people know you’re in tech,” one joked. Perhaps it was not the most outlandish statement Ye’s ever made, but it certainly led to a few good memes. Ha ha ha! Look at us having fun together! Little did we know, we were on the precipice of a golden internet moment.
This week — from Harry Styles spitting on Chris Pine to Funny Girl’s opening night to the death of the Queen being announced as YouTuber Trisha Paytas was near giving birth — created one inappropriately glorious online event of takes, jokes, and memes. As we continue to document how society responds to unifying cultural events, there’s no better case study than the highlights from this week:
The “Cbat” Guy
Reddit had been blowing up because of one man, who posted on r/TIFU (Today I Fucked Up) about his sex playlist — particularly one song, “Cbat” by Hudson Mohawke, that he used as a metronome to improve his thrust game. “The other day we were having sex with no music but I was still thrusting to the tune playing in my head,” he wrote. “She recognised this and asked me to stop.”
The post went incredibly viral, with the YouTube link he’d shared of the song reaching over 4.5 million views as of Friday morning and inspiring over 120,000 videos of the song on TikTok. On Sunday, he wrote on Reddit that because of the initial post’s virality, his relationship had ended.
People reacted to the Good Place actor defending Lea Michele on Instagram after the internet conspiracy theory that Michele can’t read experienced yet another fresh revival of meme iterations due to the Glee star preparing to debut in Funny Girl on Broadway.
“I see a lot of people claiming a certain actress can’t read…and then laughing at her,” Jamil wrote on her Instagram stories. “An elitist, ableist bore. It’s embarrassing for you, not them.”
So Jamil, known on social media for her slightly misguided attempts at calling out misogyny, only added fuel to the flames by getting involved. “jameela jamil will go down in history as one of our greatest posters,” one wrote.
Don’t Worry Darling Drama Season Finale
All eyes were on the Venice International Film Festival as the first showing of Don’t Worry Darling brought the controversial cast together. After an entangled web of tension that users online had spent months poring over, it all came to a head when the stars of the film met up IRL.
The premiere was a movie in and of itself: People thought Harry Styles spat on Chris Pine. Nick Kroll and Styles kissed. People made memes of Florence Pugh looking like she wanted to go home. Pine's detached expressions went viral on Twitter. Many noticed that the characters involved in the drama (Pugh, Styles, and Olivia Wilde) were separated by other members of the cast in a seating arrangement. Reactions overwhelmed social media platforms, prompting many previously uninterested social media users to ask about the drama. Every name attached to this story trended on Twitter.
Hollywood is back, many joked. I’ve finally been suckered into this story! Little did we know what was truly about to come.
Lea Michele on Broadway
In New York, Michele stood up to the critics by receiving seven standing ovations for her debut in Funny Girl. There had been explosive drama earlier this year with the musical’s previous star, Beanie Feldstein, and that story was memed once more. Fans told BuzzFeed News they’d flocked to the debut from all over the country “for the chaos, the talent, the tension” and “to watch her read.”
Online, users quickly passed the discourse baton from film zealots to musical theater enthusiasts. In a crossover between Monday and Tuesday’s events, people dug up an interview between Feldstein and Pugh.
“jumping from film twitter drama with dont worry darling immediately to theatre twitter drama with lea michele’s funny girl is an extreme sport and not many people can do it,” one said.
Attendees live-tweeted the entire show, reacting en masse when Michele, as Fanny Brice, delivered the line “I haven’t read many books.” Is theater interesting again because of this? Will Funny Girl face the same internet downfall as Lin-Manuel Miranda? Would have this been possible without social media unifying around this conspiracy? You tell me!
Apple announced the release of the iPhone 14, a big win for nerds everywhere. But Pine used a disposable camera at the film festival, and that’s the important thing here. Peppa Pig announced its first same-sex couple, and given the show’s deep entrenchment in internet lore, it feels right that it happened this week.
At Styles’s concert (as part of his 15-show run at Madison Square Garden), he addressed the #Spitgate allegations: “I just popped very quickly to Venice to spit on Chris Pine,” Styles said. “But fret not, we’re back.” People screamed.
Pugh’s representatives announced she would not be participating in the New York premiere of Don’t Worry Darling.
Fuck a VC, Now What
Kim Kardashian announced she was moving into private equity. “Kim becoming the VC Kanye hates,” one tweeted, tying in the drama from a lifetime ago (Saturday).
As news of the Queen’s death was announced, the internet was quick to respond the only way it knows how. “SHE DIED” and “HERE WE GO” trended on Twitter. The image of a woman character from The Sims on the computer while her baby was on fire was repurposed yet again in a viral tweet, summing up the vibe on social media. “she was three days away from croaking on 9/11 which would’ve made this the funniest day on twitter,” one person noted.
There were basic memes about the British, about other pop culture references, using previous meme formats. Some defended the jokes by making even more jokes about the historical violence of the British Empire. Of course there were callback references to the other social media stories from the week. “did the queen die thinking harry styles spit on chris pine,” one asked. “Jameela's gonna put a stop to these Queen jokes any minute now,” another said.
But still, there was more to come. As the announcement rocked social media, Trisha Paytas announced she was “1 cm dilated,” and that folded in a new layer of content to the already-bulging online whirlwind: Is Paytas’s baby the reincarnation of the late Queen?
Princess Diana Is BTS Jungkook
As a result of the reactions to the Baby Paytas conspiracy theory, K-pop fans also began circulating the tale that BTS’s Jungkook is actually the reincarnation of Princess Diana, using the same deductive formula as the Queen and Baby Paytas. Diana died on Aug. 31, 1997 (in Britain), while Jungkook was born on Sept. 1, 1997 (in South Korea), and users pointed out similarities between the two figures. It was a breakout search on Thursday and pushed the lore of this week deeper into different corners of the internet.
Jeff Bezos Starts Beef
The Amazon CEO quote-tweeted Carnegie Mellon University professor Uju Anya, who posted on Twitter wishing Queen Elizabeth the opposite of peace. “This is someone supposedly working to make the world better?” Bezos responded. “I don’t think so. Wow.”
In response, the university issued a statement on Twitter calling Anya’s comments “offensive,” while other users pointed out that Amazon had made a large donation to CMU. “Imagine how people will react when it’s your turn,” a labor reporter replied to Bezos.
It Starts With Ye, It Ends With Ye
We rarely get to see something happen so full circle. But on Friday, Kanye posted once again in a tribute to the late Queen. “RELEASING ALL GRUDGES TODAY LEANING INTO THE LIGHT,” he wrote. Whether the rapper was alluding to unfinished beef between Elizabeth II and himself, or an announcement that he was ending all his other feuds in her memory, that is up to the internet’s imagination.
This has been a historic week on the internet. I don’t know if we’ll see something like it again for a while.