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The Most Active Threads Since Friday

by Jeff Steele — last modified Mar 11, 2024 12:28 PM

The topics with the most engagement since my last blog post included a photo of the Princess of Wales and her children, the Republican response to the State of the Union Address, "Queen" Camilla, and an interruption of the State of the Union Address.

Yesterday's most active thread was titled, "Kate's New Picture" and posted in the "Entertainment and Pop Culture" forum. As best that I can tell, all the world's insane asylums opened their doors yesterday and the inmates all rushed out and immediately began posting in this thread. The thread was off the rails from the very first post in which the original poster linked to an article about a recently-released photo of Kate, the Princess of Wales, and her children. The original poster complained that "we only see her from the neck down?" and asked "Any conspiracy theories here?" The first problem is that the photo actually showed Kate from the neck up, not down. Second, the original poster was referring to a cropped version of a larger photo that appeared on the same page to which the original poster had linked. The original poster appears to have not bothered scrolling down. As for conspiracy theories? Of course there are conspiracy theories. Any thread on DCUM involving the British Royal Family has conspiracy theories. Poster after poster was apparently spending their day zooming in on the photo and doing a pixel-by-pixel analysis. Problems were found with the foliage, one of the boy's fingers, and the lighting on Kate's face. Posters questioned why Kate wasn't wearing a wedding ring. There was a discussion about the children's teeth and whether they have had braces. The thread would easily have been the most active of the weekend on this basis alone. But then several major wire services issued "kill notices" ordering publications to withdraw the photo due to "manipulation". This was like blowing up a nuclear bomb with an even bigger nuclear bomb. The crazies had been proven right. Never mind that despite the long list of irregularities that posters claimed to have found in the photo, I don't think any of them found the issue with Charlotte's sleeve that actually provoked the photo's withdrawal. But that was of little matter. For once their wild speculation had been proven correct. This completely opened the floodgates of conspiracy theories. Kate is in a coma some said, the couple is divorcing others suggested, Kate has been forcibly separated from her kids some claimed, a few posters even worried that Kate is actually dead. Personally, I'd suggest that she has been abducted by aliens but that theory is a little too mundane for this thread. When a vague statement admitting to the photo having been edited was published on the Prince and Princess of Wales's social media platforms, posters could not even agree who authored it. Some said it was William while others argued that it was Kate. At any rate, the statement did nothing to calm speculation. Rather, it had the opposite effect. Several posters said that they were previously uninterested in the Royal drama but this controversy had caused them to become keenly engrossed. Others were just along for the ride. As one poster put it, "You guys are nuts. I love it!!"

The next most active thread was the one about President Joe Biden's State of the Union Address. But since I have already discussed that thread, I'll skip it today. It is fitting that the thread after that one, also posted in the "Political Discussion" forum, was about the Republican response to that address. Titled, "Katie Britt Response", the original poster summed up the reaction of many by saying, "There is no way this won't be an SNL opening sketch, right?" That expectation indeed came to pass. While most posters disagreed with the substance of her speech, far more criticism was leveled at Britt's delivery. Some posters even suspected the entire thing was generated by artificial intelligence. The goals of Republicans with the speech are not really in doubt because talking points were sent out to the media beforehand. They hoped that Britt would be portrayed as "America's mom" whose age contrasted with President Joe Biden's. Filming the speech in her kitchen was supposed to indicate a connection with "real America" where "kitchen table" issues take precedence. For the most part, none of that worked. Liberal posters poked fun at nearly every aspect. Even conservatives, some claiming to have agreed with her words, could not defend her delivery. One controversy in the thread was about the amount of cleavage that Britt displayed. Some posters suggested that it had been a bit much for a conservative religious mother. Others rushed to defend her, in many cases posting pictures of liberal women who they believed showed similar amounts of cleavage. But things went from the absurd to the serious when discussion turned to an anecdote that Britt had used in her address. She had described meeting a migrant woman who had been the victim of sex trafficking at the age of 12. Britt suggested that this was a result of Biden's immigration policies. However, it turns out that the woman was assaulted in Mexico during the George W. Bush administration. Her plight had nothing to do with Biden. Moreover, Republicans like Britt would deny this woman asylum in the US, forcing her to remain in Mexico where she would continue to be victimized. The woman in question has herself, in the aftermath of the focus on her story, denounced Britt's portrayal of her. Britt has now joined a list of other Republicans such as Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal whose State of the Union rebuttals they would like to forget but nobody else can. The best thing to come out of this address was the inevitable Saturday Night Live cold open which starred Scarlet Johansson. To say that Johansson received considerably better reviews than Britt is to put it extremely mildly.

Next was a thread titled, "Camilla apparently leaning into ‘The Queen’ title" and posted in the "Entertainment and Pop Culture" forum. This is obviously the second British Royal Family thread to be among the weekend's most active threads. However, lest anyone believe that the forum was completely dominated by BRF topics, allow me to point out that this thread has not been updated since the Kate photo thread was started. That thread sucked the energy out of all other BRF threads. This thread was started by a poster who linked to a tweet by "The Royal Family" X account in which Camilla, identified as "Her Majesty The Queen", was pictured and quoted. The tweet was in support of International Women's Day. The obvious reason for featuring Camilla is that she is practically the only member of the Royal Family whose existence is not currently being disputed and she is, regardless of whatever doubts others have of her, a woman. But the original poster fixated on use of "The Queen" rather than "Queen Consort". She implies displeasure at Camilla's rise from Charles's mistress to Queen. Other posters are less concerned with that then they are with the mechanics of how Camilla's title changed from "Queen Consort" to just "Queen". Several posters argue that was not something that Queen Elizabeth supported. Others contend that once Elizabeth died and Charles became King, Elizabeth's opinion no longer mattered. If Charles wants Camilla to be Queen, she is the Queen. Some posters speculated that the transition might have been automatic upon Charles's coronation. But other suggested that this is not really a distinction. According to them, "Queen Consort" simply describes the type of queen. The title is still "Queen" regardless of the type of queen they might be. At any rate, this thread is mostly composed of posters who don't think the title change is a big deal (some don't even think it is new), posters who support Diana and oppose Camilla being Queen, posters who are glad that America's founders kicked out the British and, therefore, we don't have to contend with this foolishness, and those who are opposed the entire Royal Family. The highlight for me was the speculation that if this were taking place hundreds of years ago, Camilla would be scheming to have her own children inherit the titles and Harry would be raising an army in France. Some posters are not completely convinced that this might not be the reality today. Much of the thread is devoted to debating Diana rather than Camilla. Just about any British Royal Family thread attracts a poster or posters who obsess about eating disorders. Even though this thread had nothing to do with Kate, and technically only marginally about Diana, the poster joined to discuss Diana and Kate's alleged disordered eating. Apparently the poster has no such suspicion of Camilla regardless of her title.

The final thread that I will discuss was, like the second thread I discussed today, posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. Also like that thread, it was related to President Joe Biden's State of the Union Address. Titled, "Gold Star dad Steve Nikoui arrested after heckling Biden at SOTU address", the original post describes an incident that occurred during Biden's address when he was interrupted by loud shouting. The camera cut away to show a man being escorted from the chamber. It turns out that the man was Steve Nikoui, father of Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui who was killed by a suicide bombing at the Abbey Gate of Kabul, Afghanistan's airport during the US evacuation of the country. The original poster argues that Nikoui should not have been arrested. Before getting to the thread, allow me to note the irony that the four threads I am discussing today are all related to just two topics and neither has anything to do with parenting. As for the thread itself, posters are divided between those who are sympathetic to Nikoui and don't think that he should be punished and posters — many of whom are also sympathetic — that think he deserves to suffer some consequences. To a large extent, posters' opinions are based on their view of Joe Biden. Many posters hold Biden personally responsible for the deaths at the Abbey Gate. Moreover, they argue that he has not properly acknowledged the sacrifice of those individuals. This view in many cases was based on misinformation. Biden did properly recognize the deaths and commemorate them. In addition, many of these posters point out that Biden was interrupted a number of times by Republicans who were not arrested. However, the Constitution prohibits the arrest of Members of Congress who are attending official sessions. On the other side are posters who defend Biden and who argue that civil disobedience includes accepting that perpetrators are likely to be arrested. Some posters also argue that, civil disobedience or not, interrupting a State of the Union Address is worthy of punishment. Another dispute is about who was responsible for Nikoui's arrest. The anti-Biden posters immediately blamed him. However, as others pointed out, the arrest was made by the Capitol Police. Some posters argue that Speaker Mike Johnson controls the Capitol Police and, therefore, he is responsible. In fact, the Capitol Police report to the Capitol Police Board that consists of an official appointed by the Senate, an official appointed by the House, and an official appointed by the President. Therefore, responsibility can be spread just about everywhere. Eventually this thread went off-topic to several unrelated topics and I locked it.

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