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Hours after President Donald Trump announced he was pulling the Obamacare replacement from the anticipated House vote on Friday, writer Justin Halpern tweeted out a screenshot of the New York Times piece on the drama unfolding behind the scenes. It was the last paragraph that really got Halpern’s attention
ooof the kicker on this New York Times story... pic.twitter.com/YO6Wq3k5vK— Justin Halpern (@justin_halpern) March 24, 2017
“It was a stunning failure for Paul Ryan,” the story waxes. “He exited the White House in defeat and took no questions as he stepped into his black SUV. Within moments, the muffled sound of Papa Roach’s ‘Last Resort’ were heard blaring from inside the car as it drove away.”
That’s some deep, comical stuff. Ryan, listening to an alternative-metal early-2000s banger about suicide, willing the pain of the day’s defeat to just. Go. Away.
And it would have been the perfect ending, had it been true. Halpern had Photoshopped the screenshot from the original ending, which was much simpler but just as emotive:
“Ryan said the bill included ‘huge conservative wins.’ But those provisions were ultimately not enough.”
It was a bizarre moment for the circle that is media Twitter, which quickly ran with the shopped paragraph, gawking at how raw and sad our House speaker Ryan appeared to be after the day’s Republican upset. Within 30 minutes, the screenshot’s news cycle had come and gone, breaking necks at how quickly the joke had gone from ridiculous, to exposed, to overplayed and exhausted.
@justin_halpern Is this real— FilmDrunk (@Filmdrunk) March 24, 2017
@justin_halpern I don't care if this isn't real.— Eoin Higgins (@EoinHiggins_) March 24, 2017
Please "Eternal Sunshine" my awareness of the Papa Roach thing being fake. Please. I needed it.— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) March 24, 2017
This is Trump's America, people. If enough of us say the Paul Ryan Papa Roach story is real, it becomes real— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) March 24, 2017
i didn’t look at twitter for five minutes and an entire papa roach fake tweet news cycle had already come and gone— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) March 24, 2017
But that didn’t stop the amusement of the concept of the joke itself: Ryan, who had hours earlier rushed to the White House to talk about pulling the bill, now had to face the reality of a scattered party under inexperienced leadership, and he apparently could only absolve those feelings of disappointment and misery with Papa Roach’s “Last Resort.”
.@SpeakerRyan May I recommend Papa Roach's 2000 hit song "Last Resort"— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) March 24, 2017
folks, i have video proof Paul Ryan got in his car and drove away after his health care loss while listening to Papa Roach pic.twitter.com/8Np3spTQ9P— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) March 24, 2017
Paul Ryan is losing his sight, losing his mind, wishing somebody would tell him it's fine. https://t.co/9V9VGQ0kRu— BenDavid Grabinski (@bdgrabinski) March 24, 2017
A devastated Paul Ryan returns home, seeking comfort in a bottle of Heineken Light as he dons his cashmere bathrobe and plays some Aerosmith— ♡ brian essbe ♡ (@SortaBad) March 24, 2017
As if Paul Ryan listens to Papa Roach's "Last Resort" and not ABBA's "Voulez-Vouz" in times of sorrow pic.twitter.com/c1aAaspuwx— Ira Madison III (@ira) March 24, 2017
FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKK pic.twitter.com/SI3GcR44DY— bobby finger (@bobbyfinger) March 24, 2017
Stop sharing the Papa Roach story. It's fake. Here's how that article actually ends: pic.twitter.com/5jbARSs4gt— Pixelated Boat (@pixelatedboat) March 24, 2017
After having seen absolute proof the papa roach thing is fake, I feel it's important we proceed as if it's true.— Durt Bikenwald (@StuntBirdArmy) March 25, 2017
The Paul Ryan/Papa Roach blip in history is the realest Fake News that ever was. Even the band caught on later that evening, with the Papa Roach Twitter account ever so subtly roasting the House speaker.
But Papa Roach also took a moment to address the song’s heavy subject matter, suicide, which in itself is nothing to joke about.
...but seriously Last Resort was written about suicide, if anyone is feeling defeated get help at @800273TALK— Papa Roach (@paparoach) March 25, 2017
The kind reminder from the band only thickened the plot—compared to Ryan’s maniacal fantasy of taking healthcare away from poor people as a wee frat daddy, these papas were saints.
It’s almost poetic, if you think about it: darkness and depression surround “Last Resort,” its lyrics crying of a world where nothing is fine and the end to life is nigh. However, this world—this timeline in which Ryan stares out a heavily tinted window in the back seat of a black SUV, his blue eyes welling with red as a single tear streams down his cheek, “Last Resort” blasting from the car’s speakers via his Bluetooth-connected iPhone—is the only world we want to live in right now.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.