We’re Taking Twitter Too Seriously


Given the outsized role Twitter played in the last Presidential election; both the real one (Trump’s use of it to reach the American people immediately and without a filter was unprecedented) and the imagined (no, Russian bots didn’t manipulate the election), it’s unsurprising a New York Times story about fake followers has sent some shockwaves.

In short: Some prominent folks, from celebrities to journalists to athletes have purchased fake followers from a company that traffics in such things. You want to seem more well-known, well-respected? Having 100,000 more Twitter followers; more people who seem to follow your every whim, goes a long way in adding to that cache. One of the individuals identified by the Times as having bought followers was Richard Roeper, a film critic from Chicago. Yesterday afternoon, this news broke:

Latest Scandal (?) Hitting LuLaRoe


Are you familiar with the business model behind multi-level marketing companies like Mary Kay? If so, you know the basic outline of LuLaRoe (LLR)’s scheme. The company has “independent retailers” across the United States; they order inventory from the main office in California and then the retailers, usually stay-at-home mothers, sell the dresses, skirts, t-shirts, and more via Facebook groups, live video sales, and pop-up sales in their homes and street fairs.

The business has been the subject of controversy after controversy in the last year: from potential tax fraud to changing the terms of contract with retailers unexpectedly. I wrote about the downward spiral LLR has been taking over the last year for the Federalist; it’s an interesting case study in how to build and then destroy a business in a short amount of time.

Should Aziz Ansari’s Accuser Be Exposed?


Over at TheDirty.com, the accuser and source of the Aziz Ansari story published at Babe has been identified. In the headline to the piece the woman is named, and the writer explains “[she] does not deserve to be anonymous.”

For someone who writes their opinion online for a living, and has penned many articles about the #MeToo movement and sexual abuse and harassment over the years, I find myself at a loss. Should Ansari’s accuser be publicly named and should she experience the same firestorm she inflicted upon a guy she went on one bad date with?

My Top Parenting Pet Peeve?


I have a lot of grievances about how we as a society talk about parenting, and the prevalence of fear-mongering about every single thing is probably my highest. As a society, we seem incapable of assessing risk: we helicopter kids in the worst ways imaginable (mom at the playground: you don’t have to wait for your four-year-old at the bottom of that slide), and yet 80 percent of our kids are strapped into unsafe car seat configurations, despite the fact that car accidents are the number one cause of death for children.

One of the reasons people are having fewer kids is because parents are held to an unreasonable standard by strangers in public all the time. I cannot count how many times I’ve been yelled at for my parenting by random people; you’d think I was an actual child abuser. Most recently, last week I let my three-year-old son walk 15 feet behind me in the mall while I ran ahead to call the elevator. A man saw him, got hysterical “Where is his mother?” and when I casually said “he’s mine” I was screamed the riot act about abduction. I looked around at other people like “is he for real?” and was met with a dozen disapproving stares, not of his behavior, but of mine.

2018: The Left’s Year of Fat Shaming, Ageism, and Mansplaining


Given how 2017 went, it was only to be expected that 2018 would get even more unhinged. It seems in the Age of Trump, the ends justify the means, and so, we’re seeing a lot of liberals engage in fat shaming, ageism, and mansplaining in order to buttress “The Resistance.”

Yesterday the President’s doctor gave a news conference on the state of the President’s health. It was one of the most detailed and lengthy in the Trump White House’s history, and despite the fact that the doctor, Dr. Ronny Jackson, was Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s as well, many are questioning everything from his findings about the President’s heart health, mental state, and weight. On the latter, the President quickly became the butt of jokes from those who questioned if the President is indeed 239 pounds. The ladies of the View, many of whom are fat-shamed regularly, devoted an entire segment to the “girther movement.”

The Selfie Culture and the Google Arts & Culture App


You’ve seen these pictures on Facebook and Instagram, right? Your friends have downloaded an app on their phone called “Google Arts & Culture” in order to match their faces with famous paintings. Without this feature, it’s likely a few hundred people would have downloaded the app; now millions likely have.

What else does the app showcase? Like almost all of its users: I have no idea. The entire allure is one feature: playing into our narcissism.

Over at the Federalist, my colleague Bre Payton reviews the findings of a new study on selfies:

Feminism’s Mixed #MeToo Messages


Over the weekend, feminist site “Babe” published what was meant as a takedown of comedian Aziz Ansari’s sexual offenses against a woman he went on a date with last year. Ansari just won a Golden Globe, and Babe reported,

We spoke to Grace [his accuser] last week. When we met, Ansari had just won Best Actor for his Netflix show “Master Of None” at the Golden Globes, where he declared his support for the fight against sexual assault and harassment by wearing a “Time’s Up” pin on the red carpet.

This was apparently enough hypocrisy to warrant Babe’s takedown of Ansari given his persona as a “witty, woke alternative to the stereotypical douchebag bro.” The Babe piece was apparently proof that despite his support of women against sexual assault and harassment, he himself was guilty of it.

When Do You Know?


Over at The Federalist, my colleague Holly Scheer wrote an important piece for millennials in the dating pool to consider. Writing after the breakup of Lena Dunham, Scheer highlights the biggest mistake those of my generation and younger are making: treating dating as the destination instead of the journey. If you want to get married, don’t spin your wheels for years in a dead-end relationship, wasting some of your most fertile years in the process.

After five years of dating, and after penning what is now a heartbreaking piece about how she wants to get married, they’ve broken up. In that piece in the New Yorker, Dunham makes clear marriage was always her end goal:

I proudly wore our anti-marriage badge, though I did cut a rug at assorted straight weddings. But sometimes, in a moment of deep gratitude, I would mutter these words to Jack, unbidden: “Marry me.” They became a kind of code, a way of giving a million other kinds of loving thanks. I wasn’t serious, I told myself. It was like when I tell my dog to “get a job.” But I also liked that our anti-marriage plan wasn’t absolute, and that it teased at a brighter future for all (a future where I might get to wear the fluffy white dress).

Meghan McCain Brings Michael Wolff to the Woodshed


We’re not supposed to do this anymore, but sometimes I like to imagine how the media would react if we lived in an alternate timeline, and Hillary Clinton is President of the United States instead of Donald Trump. The new book Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff is one of my favorite examples of practicing “what aboutism” — as it’s called with Donald Trump occupying the White House.

Can you imagine for one moment the political press fawning over a book full of factual errors and interviews conducted off the record? Would they lend their platform to an author to sell a book that is filled with untruths, yet it “rings true?” Why, exactly, does it “ring true” to them anyway? Because Wolff’s narrative about the President being oafish is precisely what those who want to exercise the 25th Amendment and remove the President from office want to hear. And so, they refuse to ask the hard questions and grill Wolff in the way they would have had the subject of the book been President Obama or a Clinton.

Welcome to a New Editor: Bethany Mandel


Before I start posting here at Ricochet, I wanted to take the time to introduce myself to readers, members, and listeners. You may already be familiar with me because of my role on LadyBrains and the newly launched podcast with my husband Seth, called That Sethany Show.

I’ll be editing here part-time, cleaning up member posts and helping podcasts and other posts get on the site. In addition to that editing, I’ll be writing a few posts a week, on politics and cultural trends.

A bit about me: I’m a full-time mother, home with my three kids. I don’t use their names online because the Internet is a dark and scary place, and we want them to develop their online identities separate from us. My oldest is four, and her online nickname is Cookie; you may have heard unexpected guest appearances from her on LadyBrains over the last year. My middle son is nicknamed Pat because he was born on St. Patrick’s Day; he’s almost three. You may be familiar with my youngest’s birth story; his nickname is Altima, because that’s where he was born, in Seth’s Nissan Altima on the side of the highway. (You can listen to that whole story on this episode of LadyBrains).