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Happy birthday, Memerica: the week in internet culture

The internet celebrated July Fourth with basketball jokes, patriotic skirmishes, and death bots.

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The Fourth of July is already a ripe time for online humor, but on this particular independence week, the internet went all out to prove that America truly is the land of the meme and the home of the ideologically divided.

The week’s reigning internet furor centered on President Trump tweeting an anti-CNN wrestling GIF that originated from a right-wing extremist troll on Reddit, followed by the debate over CNN’s decision to track down the GIF’s creator and, so some argued, threaten to out his real-life identity.

Meanwhile, when we weren’t divided over the meaning of the Trump GIF and CNN’s response, we were divided over the Declaration of Independence. A meme involving the Hollywood Walk of Fame saucily questioned who our president is, while the late-week news that Hobby Lobby had been smuggling ancient artifacts, possibly looted from Iraq, briefly united us in amused bafflement once again.

And if all that wasn’t enough activity, the Kardashians then entered the picture.

Here’s what you might have missed on the internet while you were off shooting fireworks.

Trump supporters spent America’s birthday fighting with the Declaration of Independence

In one of those moments of surreality that nearly defy description, some online Trump supporters spent the Fourth of July in a state of hostility directed at the foundational document of American freedom.

It started when NPR’s Twitter feed spent the Fourth tweeting the entirety of the Declaration of Independence, line by line, in one massive thread:

All was going well — human events were coursed, truths were held to be self-evident, and patriots were roused to alter their former Systems of Government — but some watching the display began accusing NPR of calling for a revolution against Trump.

Others seemed mad that NPR was promoting “trash”:

This rhetoric baffled onlookers, but it really escalated when the Declaration of Independence threw a hefty amount of shade at King George III. (That’s this guy, for anyone who needs a refresher.)

Trump detractors rallied around the quote as newly prophetic, while one reader, who later deleted their account, begged NPR to stop:

The resulting debate led to media outlets reprinting the declaration in full, and revived this story from the era of McCarthyism, when a reporter attempted to get modern patriots to sign the document in defense of freedom, only to receive disbelief and ridicule:

In the middle of ongoing debates over politically motivated doxxing and the meaning of true patriotism, it was nice to have a reminder that the basic ideas underlying the Declaration of Independence are still considered as radical today as they were in 1776.

Meanwhile in Hollywood, no one knows who the president even is

Because everything is now a meme, a Trump supporter who stopped to clean Donald Trump’s defaced star on the Walk of Fame kicked off a meme in which Walk of Fame stars all became president.

Makenna’s defiant ceremony of star cleaning spawned a flurry of immediate viral responses:

Even if you didn’t confuse your favorite star with your president, the meme was still useful:

If nothing else, the intersection of celebrity and politics that defines the Trump presidency continues to be fertile ground for silly patriotic humor.

Rob Kardashian posted revenge porn of his ex, Blac Chyna, on Instagram. And that was just the beginning.

On Wednesday, Rob Kardashian posted a series of revealing nude photos of his ex Blac Chyna on Instagram. This is an act of harassment and intimidation that’s commonly referred to as revenge porn, and it’s actually illegal in California, Kardashian’s home state. Instagram responded to the violation of its site rules after a few dramatic hours by completely deleting Kardashian’s account — after which Kardashian promptly popped up on Twitter, where he’d previously been a relatively infrequent tweeter.

As Kardashian began to tweet defenses of himself and his perception of his betrayal at Chyna’s hands (it’s complicated), other Twitter users pointed out that the move had negative implications for Twitter culture.

Business Insider claims that Kardashian actually tweeted out some of the nude photos and kept them on his Twitter for up to half an hour before they were deleted, though apart from a few tweets, there don’t seem to be any screengrabs or other corroborating evidence to back that claim. Twitter appears to have taken no action against Kardashian.

The internet had no idea what to do with the news about Hobby Lobby

Thanks to a government order to forfeit stolen artifacts, the world learned this week that Hobby Lobby had been smuggling possibly looted artifacts out of Iraq, likely for use in its planned Bible Museum. The news, which potentially implicates Hobby Lobby in tacitly funding ISIS, was weird and startling enough to turn heads.

However, it didn’t take long for the internet to seize upon the news’s potential for memes and humor.

Reddit

Of course, there were some who took the humor too far:

Eastern vs. Western Conference memes briefly united sports fans

If your head is reeling from all the week’s drama, fear not — sports fandom is here to give you a respite.

After ESPN pointed out that there’s currently a slight, erm, disparity in the talent migrating between the Eastern and Western NBA conferences, basketball fans began to illustrate the differences more clearly:

#NBA Eastern Conference Vs. Western Conference. (via @ringer) #BALLGOD

A post shared by BALLGOD (@ballgod) on

At least sports fans in the Eastern Conference can look forward to memes like this all season long.

Twitter’s Medieval Death Bot will remind you things could be worse

The Twitter bot DeathMedieval has been attracting recent attention for its unexpected popularity, especially given its morbid purpose: The bot tweets out the actual causes of death of unlucky citizens in the Middle Ages.

The bot has a tendency to tweet out all of the known information about the deaths, which are taken from medieval coroners’ rolls and weirdly often include the price of the killer instrument:

The bot was created in 2013 but has gained steam in recent weeks, garnering several thousand followers over the past month thanks to increased notice from Twitter’s horror community. The total follower count currently stands at more than 22,000. And it’s easy to see why: These doomed peasants are all of us.

Same, same.