Today is the last day of publishing for the Toast, the beloved, quirky, hilarious, thought-provoking, misandrist, unique, irreplaceable culture/humor/art history website helmed by Mallory Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe. And mourning its departure, apparently, is Hillary Clinton, who has a byline on the site with a heartfelt note:
When I arrived in the Senate in 2001, I was one of just 13 women, and I remember how thankful I was for my female colleagues on both sides of the aisle. My friend Barbara Mikulski famously started a tradition of dinner parties for all the women of the Senate. Over a glass of wine — okay, maybe three — we’d give each other support, advice, and highly relevant tips to navigate being in such an extreme minority.
I’ve always had great admiration for women like Barb who take it upon themselves to create spaces where women can speak their minds freely. With this site, Mallory, Nicole and Nikki did the same for so many women — and they made us laugh and think along the way.
A byline on a relatively obscure website whose audience is mostly millennials might feel like the latest example of the vast gulf between Internet Hillary Clinton, who is as fluent in Twitter jokes and GIFs and internet-speak as any 20-something, and Actual Hillary Clinton, who is, well, a grandmother.
Still, Internet Hillary Clinton is effective even when that gulf is so apparent, perhaps because many people, particularly women, are hungry for the first woman nominee for president to seem recognizable. Even if her empowering feminist gathering place is a dinner party and not a comments section, she really is Just Like Us.
But the Toast’s leadership suggests this isn’t merely next-level microtargeting and that Clinton actually is just a big fan: "It seems her people show her Two Monks or what-have-you on long campaign days," Cliffe wrote in her introduction to Clinton’s piece. "We found out Hillary Clinton reads the Toast maybe a month ago?" Ortberg tweeted. "I'm still not used to it."
There’s no reason that even a presidential nominee can’t unwind with jokes about medieval art, as indeed we all should. If she slips up and quotes the Mallory Ortberg Bible, we’ll know she’s a superfan for sure.