Weekly Web Boners Vol. 27

Stars, hearts, pyramids, tigers, and The Zola Story

By Max Dylan Lazarus

RIP Twitter star

Anybody been on Twitter this week? Well, in case you hadn’t: YOU CAN NO LONGER “FAVOURITE” THINGS! Twitter has gone full Game of Thrones and killed off a beloved character: one now “likes” things - so symbolised by a little red heart emoji. Perhaps ‘beloved’ is a tad strong, but that gold star did have a lot of personality. Plus ‘favs’ were unique to Twitter, pretty much since its 140-character frugality first landed on the social media scene in 2006. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said this is just one step in a series of bold moves to try and reignite user growth. This particular one aims to simplify the experience because the concept of favouriting was deemed too complicated for newcomers. Anyway, I can’t remember what my reaction was like in 2009 when Facebook first introduced the “like” option (probably intrigue because of the newness of it all), but similar outrage happens every single time our fave social media platform makes a dramatic change (remember how Facebook statuses used to have an “is” after your name, forcing you to use the present participle?). Then, after a few months we adapt and move the hell on with our lives. Besides, it’s less of an emotional commitment to “like” something than to ‘“favourite” it, and if I’m going to get more likes than I would favourites for a witty quip about that pumpkin-eating talking porcupine, then good riddance.

Tiger tiger burning bite

I love comic books and always have. Long before getting into exclusively wordy books, I spent my childhood reading The Far Side anthologies, Spiderman and X-men, even some of my sister’s Archie comics. But my favourite always was Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson. Nothing on TV ever felt quite as real as the ongoing adventures between this misunderstood naughty kid and his imaginary tiger best friend. They invented games, they discussed philosophy, they lost themselves in a world of imagination, and all of it was accompanied by the sharpest yet kindest wit. I loved Calvin, and I always thought to myself how great it would be to have my very own Hobbes, and more than once I felt myself worrying over what might happen when Calvin outgrew the need for an imaginary friend. Anyway, I lost myself a bit there – there’s a woman in Omaha, Nebraska, who thought it would be a good idea to pat a 3-legged tiger in a zoo. She got bitten, obviously. What an idiot. Everyone knows the real tigers are the bad ones and the imaginary ones are everything.

Ben Carson’s pyramid scheme

The American electoral process gets more and more hilarious by the week. Of course by hilarious, I really mean terrifying, but I refuse to live in fear, so let’s rather just laugh. It makes everything easier just denying the horrors around us. Well in recent weeks the race for the Republican party’s candidacy has shifted over to Ben Carson ahead of Donald Trump, and everyone I guess is just a little bit stumped as to whether this is a good thing, because it would appear that Carson has done this on the strength of him being crazier than Trump, in itself a major achievement. So for those of you that don’t know, Ben Carson is a former neurosurgeon who holds some pretty radical ideas – radical as in they’re mostly fictional. For example, he has said in the past that gayness must be a choice because prisoners who are raped come out gay, that Obamacare is equivalent to slavery, The Big Bang is a fairy tale and evolution was invented by the devil. These are things you expect to hear from the smelly man outside the 7-eleven, not from a potential presidential candidate! But this week he added anther theory to his impressive list when he came out backing his claim that the pyramids were not tombs, but were tather built by the Egyptians to store grain. This is despite all evidence. All evidence. All of it. Well except that in the Old Testament it says that Joseph stored a lot of grain. We laugh now, but this is pretty scary really – the last Republican presidential candidate was Mitt Romney, and he now seems like the sanest man of all time compared to the new clowns on the scene. I miss Mitt Romney.

MTN crisis Nigeria

When you’re representing a brand, you avoid doing those offensive little things that upset customers. It’s the small stuff, you know: taking a snarky tone, forgetting that the customer is always right, aiding terrorist organisations…

Okay, so maybe that last one isn’t exactly what MTN did this week, but we’ll never know. That’s because of a major communication failure from the brand – when slapped with a fine from the Nigerian government for failing to deactivate SIM cards that were bought before the country’s version of RICA laws came into effect, they simply… did nothing. Why so serious, Nigerian government? Well, because unregistered SIM cards are seen to be a pretty significant rick in a country where terrorism by groups like Boko Haram are on the rise.

Nigeria is the telecoms company’s biggest market, but the R71billion fine might be a little too much to handle.

GTA: The Karim Benzema edition

Intrigue! Sex! Drugs! Violence! No I’m not talking about Zola’s ridiculously good Twitter story that broke the internet last week – this one’s a little bit more high profile. So the details are a little bit hazy at the moment, but as with most modern epochs, it all starts with a sex tape. A few weeks back, the banterous Lad Bible collective that is football Twitter erupted with the knowledge that French international footballing dwarf, Mathieu Valbuena had a sex tape stolen, and was being blackmailed over its release by his international teammates Djibril Cisse and Karim Benzema. Now footballers are a wealthy bunch, so to blackmail a teammate just seemed so odd. But then again this isn’t the first time the Real Madrid striker has gotten himself involved in a sex scandal of sorts – back in 2009 he found himself in court for having sex with a then-underage high profile prostitute Zahia Dehar – clearly Karim is a naughty boy. But then just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier, French media have reported this week that above and beyond the sex tape blackmail case, Benzema will likely be brought in to be questioned over his involvement in an international cocaine trafficking syndicate! This is a man who earns R3 million a week playing football for the biggest club in the world, but who also was allegedly using his clout and connections to assist drug lords in his spare time. I can’t particularly fault his commitment to raking in the coin, but one suspects that he may have crossed the naughty-line, and could potentially find himself in jail quite soon.