- Fan uncovers ‘Westworld’ trailers hidden on fictional company’s website Sunday 8:18 PM
- This trending Twitter hashtag is a lot less sexy than you think Sunday 7:23 PM
- TikTok users share life-changing realizations they’ve had while in the shower Sunday 7:04 PM
- People are torn over viral TikTok of girl cleaning friend’s room Sunday 4:01 PM
- Did Pete Buttigieg seriously just rip-off a famous Obama speech? Sunday 2:50 PM
- The most dangerous TikTok challenges we’ve seen—so far Sunday 2:22 PM
- PewDiePie wants Bernie Sanders to host meme review Sunday 1:44 PM
- Hilary Duff records confrontation with ‘creep’ taking photos of kids Sunday 1:08 PM
- BTS may have used Twitch streamer’s voice in song without permission Sunday 12:15 PM
- Gigi Hadid absolutely obliterates Jake Paul over Zayn Malik diss Sunday 10:26 AM
- People really want Chris Matthews fired after he compared Sanders’ Nevada win to Nazi invasion of France Sunday 9:35 AM
- Bernie Sanders wins Nevada Caucuses Saturday 6:54 PM
- MSNBC is out of its mind over Sanders leading Nevada Saturday 5:20 PM
- Kim Kardashian dragged for using makeup to darken her hands Saturday 4:13 PM
- TikTok users show how they turned their vehicles into incredible tiny homes Saturday 3:44 PM
April Fools’ Day is often considered the worst day of the year to be online. Insipid, marketing-driven pranks abound; our social contract about what constitutes “humor” is suspended; and it can be difficult to tell what you should take seriously. In other words, it’s just like every other day of the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
On April 1, Ted Cruz “Rickrolled” Donald Trump with a video titled “Donald Trump Accepts Cruz’s Debate Invitation.” Trump has not, in fact, agreed to debate Cruz—the video cuts to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
Leave it to Ted Cruz to invoke the Rickroll, a meme that’s been mainstream so long that even Ted Cruz knows about it.
Certainly, you could argue that Cruz is fighting childish behavior with teenage Internet behavior—albeit of the historical variety. You could even point out that our Democratic president has frequently invoked memes and Internet culture to meet the people where they are. (Thanks, Obama!)
But with a Rickroll, Cruz meets the people where they are not: in the year 2007.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.