kendall roy (jeremy strong) sitting on a boat wearing headphones

Graeme Hunter/HBO

This week on the internet: Is this the most Capricorn profile ever?

Plus: That 'We used to be a country' meme, explained.

 

Tiffany Kelly

Internet Culture

Published Dec 10, 2021   Updated Dec 10, 2021, 11:34 am CST

Welcome to the Friday edition of Internet Insider, where we review the week online.

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jeremy strong as kendall roy on succession, standing on a balcony

BREAK THE INTERNET

profile of Succession actor Jeremy Strong in the New Yorker blew up on Twitter this week. The profile, which was published on Sunday, is titled “On ‘Succession,’ Jeremy Strong doesn’t get the joke.” The author, Michael Schulman, portrays Strong as someone who takes his job very seriously.

He’s a perfect fit to play Kendall Roy, a character who tries very hard to win his father’s approval and succeed in the family business. Strong doesn’t see the HBO series as a comedy; he sees it as a drama. (To be fair, it is both.) The article was like catnip to a certain set of Twitter users who already live-tweet and meme scenes from the episodes after they drop on Sunday nights. 

People shared screenshots of passages where other actors on the show and Strong’s wife were interviewed. “I just worry about what he does to himself. I worry about the crises he puts himself through in order to prepare,” Brian Cox, who plays Logan Roy, says in the article. People read these quotes—and the profile itself—as implying that Strong’s co-stars are annoyed with him on set or that he is a difficult person to work with. Several Twitter users called him a “psychopath” after reading the article.

Soon, people who have worked with Strong chimed in to defend him, including actress Jessica Chastain. “Ive known Jeremy Strong for 20yrs &  worked with him on 2 films. Hes a lovely person,” she tweeted. “Very inspiring & passionate about his work. The profile that came out on him was incredibly one sided. Don’t believe everything you read folks.”

Those comments did not stop the discourse; they pushed more people to add to it. The New Yorker profile was even parodied on TikTok. And then came the astrological take: Jeremy Strong was simply being a stereotypical Capricorn. (As a Capricorn myself, I like this take.) “The new yorker profile on jeremy strong is a great study of capricorn,” tweeted @alicesparklykat. Obsessed with his career from a young age? Bringing his own coffee grinder to Italy? Yeah, that checks out.

Tiffany Kelly, culture editor


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american flag

MEMES

‘We used to be a country’ pokes fun at American nostalgia

The “We used to be a country” meme is everywhere right now, professing patriotic nostalgia for a wild range of stuff from McDonald’s arcade games to the Communist Party of the 1930s. Some examples are relatively sincere (nostalgia for millennial YA novels, anyone?) while others are more satirical. But what, exactly, is this meme?

The originating post is a tweet featuring a photo of a 1970s 7-Eleven store, accompanied by the caption, “We used to be a country. A proper country.”

Usually when we see this kind of post, it depicts something more pastoral and romantic—or a sexist view of family life in the 1950s. But the absurdity of 1970s 7-Eleven nostalgia was a step beyond this trope, prompting a flood of derisive copycats. Soon, Twitter exploded with callbacks to the beauty of 1990s Kmart, decade-old mobile games, and quaaludes.

Read the full story here.

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, staff writer


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*First Published: Dec 10, 2021, 10:46 am CST