‘You guys are awful’: Slate royally strikes out with piece on this ‘loveable Twitter rascal’

Try it you will like it

Last night, Slate took a break from crapping on service dogs to try to explain why Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is just so gosh-darn charming on Twitter:

Now, it’s important to note that, despite the cringeworthy headline, the post itself doesn’t all-out glorify Ahmadinejad. The author does acknowledge some of Ahmadinejad’s less endearing qualities like Holocaust denial. But she does attempt to understand his appeal by trying to humanize him somewhat:

According to some, it’s not that Ahmadinejad suddenly cares about sports. (“It sounds like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” ur–sports commentator Mike Francesa told the New Yorker.) Instead, he has an obvious agenda with these tweets, one beyond Twitter fame. Most of them can be read as digs at President Trump or attempts to draw attention to issues dividing America, as a way of criticizing America at large—and deflecting criticism of his own misdeeds. It really is that simple: He hopes that by weighing in on sports and other matters of more innocuous fandom, people will forget that barely a decade ago, his U.S. visit and speech at Columbia University halted the news cycle in outrage.

The weird thing is it has kind of worked (even as some figures, like Jake Tapper, have tried to scuttle the makeover). That’s just where we are now: The same person can be both a vicious former theocrat and a loveable Twitter rascal. But it’s still a little disquieting to see giddy GIF threads form under every Ahmadinejad tweet—even supposedly ironic—with his very recent history as a violent menace reduced to a punchline for the Twitter initiated and above-the-fray podcast fans. Then again, maybe better to be an authoritarian–cum–Twitter novelty than the other way around.

After the final paragraph is an invitation to support Slate’s journalism:

But after reading that article, we’re still wondering where the “journalism” comes in.

Well, they do need to work on cultivating a more “lovable” image.

Seriously, Slate. What is this business?

OK, that’s fair.

Aren’t they supposed to be somewhere anyway?

If striking is too tall an order, here’s a simpler solution: