Michael Andor Brodeur | It’s a Thing

Renner apps, Sharpie’d maps, MP naps, and robo-hats

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 04: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) references a map held by acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan while talking to reporters following a briefing from officials about Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office at the White House September 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. The map was a forecast from August 29 and appears to have been altered by a black marker to extend the hurricane's range to include Alabama. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
President Trump referenced a map while talking to reporters following a briefing about Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office Sept. 4. The map was a forecast from Aug. 29 and appeared to have been altered by a black marker to extend the hurricane's range to include Alabama.


It will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Internet (or Jeremy Renner) that it was simply not ready for something so delicate, so pure, so beautiful as Jeremy Renner’s fan app, which over the course of the past couple weeks quickly degenerated from a modest-is-probably-the-wrong-word virtual house of Hawkeye worship into a troll-infested hellscape of hostile doppel-Renners, outbreaks of abuse, and “porno” — not the actual stuff, just the word. A defeated Renner responded to the siege by ruefully shutting down the app, posting that it “has jumped the shark . . . Literally,” which . . . oh, never mind.


The president of the United States of America captured his nation’s imagination once again after debuting a crudely doctored (like, with a Sharpie) National Weather Service map of Hurricane Dorian’s well-forecast progress up the Southeastern seaboard, apparently as a means of insisting that erroneous claims he’s repeatedly made about the storm’s threat (or lack thereof) to Alabama were true. The Internet followed Trump’s lead by applying the newly discovered reality-shaping magic of Sharpie products to everything from Trump’s abs, hands, and border wall, to Melania’s smile.


If you’re tired of hearing about Brexit, whatever that is (some kind of bland biscuit I’m assuming), imagine what it must be like living over there. Worse, imagine what it must be like being responsible for it in the first place! I’d be so over it; though maybe not as knackered as House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Moog, who opted during a crucial Brexit debate, to slouch over on his bench like my dad trying to make it through “Beaches,” inspiring memesmiths and critics around the world to lambast him as, for instance, the “physical embodiment of arrogance, entitlement, disrespect and contempt for our parliament.” Great, now I’m craving a Brexit. Do they come in chocolate?



And lastly, as tempting as it may be this season, don’t outsource your crocheting to a neural network unless you want to walk around wearing “ruffled hyperbolic yarn-eating brain shapes” on your head. AI researcher Janelle Shane learned this the hard-but-actually-still-quite-soft way and shared the disturbing results with Twitter (and her visibly nonplussed cat). “What the HAT3000 neural crochet project highlights,” Shane tweeted, “is how hard it is to prevent generated crochet hats from going hyperbolic.” I have the same problem I think.

Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Mbrodeur.