U.S. Markets open in 4 hrs 45 mins

While You Were Offline: Sean Spicer's Image Rehab Tour Isn't Going Too Well

Graeme McMillan

Over the last seven days, the internet has been full of unwelcome nostalgia: Here's some nuclear brinksmanship! Here's Puerto Rico, decimated by a natural disaster! Here's the Senate, planning to vote on yet another healthcare plan to repeal Obamacare! But it's not all been familiar badness; there's been some new ill-feeling torment, as well. Just look below, if you don't believe us. What's that? You were hoping for good stuff? Um, well, we have some elf-based rhymes, if you can hold on long enough? This, friends, is what has become of the world wide web during the last week.

Sean Spicer's Public Image Rehabilitation Tour

What Happened: Everyone loves a good redemption story. A bad one involving a former White House press secretary, however? That's another matter altogether.

What Really Happened: Ah, the Emmy Awards telecast. It's the annual celebration of everything good in television. This year's ceremony, which took place last Sunday, ended up being more than just another big Hollywood party. According to media watchers, the show was exceptionally political, with winners and host Stephen Colbert taking shots at the current administration and not standing up for this crap. Well, apart from this, of course.

Just ask yourself: How do you think a chummy cameo from President Trump's former flack Sean Spicer went down on Twitter? Exactly.

It wasn't just Twitter that was appalled by show business's gleeful embrace of a figure who had previously been deriding it at every available opportunity; the rest of the media was just as upset. Should we perhaps turn to an award-winning American literary figure to sum this whole thing up? Let's.

The Takeaway: And the moral, if there is one, of this story, is this:

The Facepalm Seen 'Round the World

What Happened: The general public watching President Trump give a speech is one thing; someone who actually works for him watching the same speech is another. Can't imagine what that's like? Turns out, you don't even need to imagine it.

What Really Happened: President Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly for the first time on Tuesday, and it went just about as well as could be expected, as long as folks are OK with "as well as could be expected" including "boasting about how great the US is doing since his election and threatening to totally destroy North Korea." But if you think that sounds like a disaster, wait until you see how White House Chief of Staff John Kelly seemed to take it.

Actually, you know, that picture looks kind of familiar…

Oh, that's why. But what was Kelly actually reacting to, anyway?

Of course, Kelly's response didn't go unnoticed by the media, either. (If you're curious, the official White House response was that Kelly was just very tired because he'd been working so hard. So, you know, sure.)

Still, it could be worse. Trump could have made up an entire country.

…The Aristocrats?

The Takeaway: On the other hand, perhaps Kelly could be a rallying point for the country at large.

Hoist Your Own 'Dotard'

What Happened: President Trump called Kim Jong-un "Rocket Man." Then the North Korean leader called Trump "mentally deranged" (amongst other names). It was a whole thing.

What Really Happened: So, remember when Trump was talking to the UN and threatening to destroy North Korea? During that same speech, he repeated his new name for Kim Jong-un: "Rocket Man." Now, we can argue the value of insulting the North Korean leader by naming him after a great Elton John song for days, but one thing that isn't up for discussion is that Kim Jong-un fought back in this war of the words pretty damn impressively.

Wait. Whatard?

…Oh.

Even Twitter apparently couldn't resist a little dig. (Sure, this was just an algorithm. Whatever.)

Before too long, the media was getting in on the act, because, come on; who doesn't want to talk about dotards? But sadly, the story might not actually be exactly as it seems.

The Takeaway: Of course, in all stories, there's always an unintended victim to be found.

If You've Heard of Elf on the Shelf...

What Happened: Look, if you haven't actually heard of Elf on the Shelf, this one might be a little strange.

What Really Happened: If you spend any amount of time on social media, you might have noticed that a lot of people have been talking about Elf on the Shelf lately. Or, rather, looking to replace the poor guy.

According to some, the meme got started last month on Tumblr, but it turns out, it dates back to at least December of last year, which makes a lot more sense considering the holiday stylings of Elf on the Shelf. (The August post is likely patient zero for this latest viral outbreak, however.) Nevertheless, as mainstream outlets caught the infection, it was already mutating on social media.

Isn't there an Elf doctor out there to deal with this virus?

We said "doctor," not dentist.

The Takeaway: What were we just saying about unseen victims to be found everywhere?

(Same.)