Let the witch hunt begin.
Kamala Harris may have won yesterday's Democratic debate, but Marianne Williamson won the most important battle of all: She's Twitter's favorite new meme.
Most viewers may not have heard of Williamson, who has made her name writing spiritual self-help books that include titles like On Self-Esteem: Loving Yourself and Emotional Self-Sufficiency and Illuminata: A Return to Prayer. She made waves during the debate last night for her out-there comments, but more for her piercingly mystical aura, which has sent the Internet into a spiral of Stevie Nicks, crystals, and edible-related conspiracy theories.
Here are the main reasons that she's become the best thing to happen to Twitter in years.
1. She philosophized like a middle-aged Californian divorcee on an ayahuasca trip in Ecuador.
I’m sorry I missed the moment last night when everyone was reading Marianne Williamson’s energy bc I would have sai… https://t.co/0Mbs9gROHO— rachel syme (@rachel syme)1561726906.0
marianne williamson speaks like a 1940s movie star and has a light in her eyes like she’s fucking the mailman behin… https://t.co/PX93aufkDq— Veronica Suchodolski (@Veronica Suchodolski)1561685436.0
Marianne Williamson is like a sentient glass of Chardonnay.— Maureen Johnson (@Maureen Johnson)1561690359.0
Williamson's success in the memetic sphere stems from the fact that she evoked a very specific type of aura: that of your aunt who dropped too much LSD while practicing African dance in Thailand and who now runs a holistic therapy practice in California. Apparently, it resonated on more than one plane.
Marianne Williamson is tapping into that Facebook antivax mom/crystal healing aunt demographic. https://t.co/ZfTleDOR74— Ian Miles Cheong (@Ian Miles Cheong)1561731593.0
2. Her old Tweets are incredible.
Williamson's Twitter feed is full of gems—specifically: crystals, amethysts, and rose quartz, purchased from your local Wiccan yoga studio and arranged into a perfect Solstice altar on your Williamsburg doorstep. Williamson's cosmic mind has clearly traversed the outer reaches of the psyche, delving deep into the hidden places where our world brushes up against the next dimension.
AMAZING OLD TWEETS BY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MARIANNE WILLIAMSON: A THREAD— Ellie Hall (@Ellie Hall)1561692580.0
Clearly, all Americans should have the right to life, liberty, and soul-explosion.
The most important things in life are not visible to the physical eye. It’s only when we soul-explode beyond the co… https://t.co/BOh40Mm0w6— Marianne Williamson (@Marianne Williamson)1535024395.0
3. She may or may not have taken an edible before the debate.
Many viewers were struck by the distinctly psychedelic nature of Williamson's statements. Many of them felt more like whispery revelations delivered by your sage-burning, salt-lamp-owning stoner friend during the deep sea episode of Planet Earth rather than political commentary.
@marwilliamson I remember my first acid trip too— Institute Of Ridiculous Made-Up Statistics (@Institute Of Ridiculous Made-Up Statistics)1561722703.0
Some thought that acid was more apropos. Psychedelic drugs often help people see the invisible lines of love that thread each of us together, so it makes sense that her comments may at least have been inspired by her wild past, if she didn't ingest a hallucinogenic mushroom right before getting onstage.
4. In spite of her oddness, she actually had some good points.
#MarianneWilliamson was right last night. We have a sickness problem in America; it’s food policies, environmental… https://t.co/GqH4bkiXqW— Bette Midler (@Bette Midler)1561728691.0
Some people were all in.
Still, since she has literally no political experience and seemingly few plans aside from believing in dreams until they become reality, she's probably not the best pick.
5. She is definitely a witch.
Among her many talents and roles on this illusory earth, Williamson is a practicing New Age witch.
@washingtonpost Nope, don't think America is ready for a New Age witch, besides, @Oprah needs her too much… https://t.co/3ogJ8ns1u0— Now The End Begins (@Now The End Begins)1561725885.0
Pete Buttigieg goes to shake Marianne Williamson's hand but she's already disappeared. On her lectern sits a lone origami crane— Jason O. Gilbert (@Jason O. Gilbert)1561691122.0
Debate moderator: “time for closing statements.” Marianne Williamson: “In the name of Goddess Hylia, I bestow upon… https://t.co/8psKtwLBue— wokeiraptor (@wokeiraptor)1561721875.0
I relate to Marianne Williamson because I am also a witch who hates plans— Justine Peres Smith (@Justine Peres Smith)1561691689.0
For anyone unable to sense the emanations of Williamson's powers, all you need to do is listen to some Stevie Nicks, watch American Horror Story: Coven, and take a few sips of kombucha; you'll see the power just waiting to burst out of her crown chakra and into our corporeal plane.
Marianne Williamson is like if one of Stevie Nicks’ shawls came to life— word west (@word west)1561698654.0
Some people saw her more as an exorcist than a witch.
I still can’t get over Marianne Williamson speaking directly to Trump like she was casting a demon out of someone’s… https://t.co/6VeZ9kXOdp— Laura Martin (@Laura Martin)1561731370.0
There are also indications that she may be an alien.
@mothsore black lodge x marianne williamson confirmed https://t.co/RKqALoisdl— casey (@casey)1561730786.0
Regardless of the exact type of power she possesses, she certainly has some otherworldly control over the invisible forces that bind us together, and she has promised to use them all on Trump.
Donald Trump watching Marianne Williamson addressing him directly https://t.co/OB3iLMCqzd— AA (@AA)1561690498.0
Marianne Williamson is going to fight Trump on the astral plane after smoking so much weed she permanently becomes a spirit— James (@James)1561707017.0
Marianne Williamson when she touches the ground and feels the earth’s godly love coursing through her soul https://t.co/sRXEYLMxdx— Andrew Stark (@Andrew Stark)1561706975.0
Marianne Williams promises to "harness love" and bring it to a field to duel Trump, where she predicts "love will w… https://t.co/JsZRteT5OC— TPM Livewire (@TPM Livewire)1561690525.0
I channeled Marianne Williamson on my run today and I encourage each of you to do the same. 🤗🥰♥️🔮 https://t.co/xWvfXYJqlo— Anthony Balderrama (@Anthony Balderrama)1561729018.0
Marianne Williamson defends us every single day on the spiritual plane and you all have the nerve to call her "a jo… https://t.co/jtxspPExf1— disintegration fruitloops (@disintegration fruitloops)1561697117.0
WHICH IS IT, @marwilliamson ?? https://t.co/PIC2UUG5Xs— Hierodula 🐺🐺🐺 (@Hierodula 🐺🐺🐺)1561727980.0
All of the Marianne Williamson haters are having fun right now but you won’t be laughing when she banishes you to the shadow realm— Jules (@Jules)1561694814.0
6. She was Laura Dern's roommate in college.
Laura Dern is an actress who starred in David Lynch's film Blue Velvet. Yes, the same David Lynch who created Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks. When they were 17, Williamson and Dern lived together for a brief period of time.
Perhaps Williamson told Dern, who then told Lynch, about the demons that exist in a parallel universe but sometimes enter ours through a red room with a checkered floor. Perhaps BOB has possessed Trump. Perhaps Williamson is the only one with the power to stop him. Perhaps she will dream of her next move tonight.
laura dern and marianne williamson were roommates!!!!!!! https://t.co/rutrhY1Wfa— corbin dewitt (@corbin dewitt)1561692743.0
TIL Marianne Williamson was Laura Dern’s roommate when Dern was 17. https://t.co/Y4qI0t8JIe https://t.co/0LoRegInl3— Joanna Robinson (@Joanna Robinson)1561693464.0
marianne williamson is the first presidential candidate from the twin peaks universe— Seinfeld Current Day (@Seinfeld Current Day)1561693386.0
7. She may or may not be a new queer icon.
Queer folks tend to love a performative queen. Since it's still Pride Month, Williamson picked the perfect time to unveil her kooky, starry-eyed persona to the gays who had no idea what they were missing before she came to pour peppermint oil on America's spiritual wounds.
The gays to Marianne Williamson https://t.co/wT6fLHN7DR— eli 🏳️🌈⃠ (@eli 🏳️🌈⃠)1561707651.0
“Girlfriend you are so on” fucking SENT ME. I hereby declare Marianne Williamson a gay icon. Girl is up there high… https://t.co/zR7MxfuyTF— hartley (@hartley)1561691652.0
Some proposed that she embodied that elusive, much-critiqued Met Gala theme: camp. Since camp is defined by a kind of fundamental absurdity performed seriously, or as a humorously deviant refusal to comply with 'straight' norms, Williamson's refusal to comply with the norms of the 'literal plane' earned her an accidental place in that category.
Omg Marianne Williamson’s campiness and messiness tonight is resurrecting her status as a gay icon...my people are insane— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@Yashar Ali 🐘)1561696241.0
8. She has a thing for New Zealand.
Williamson may have started out by giving the impression that she is cognizant of the world around her, but by the end of the debate, her edible had fully kicked in. This became clear when she said that the first thing she would do as President is call New Zealand. Perhaps she meant to indicate that she would enact stricter gun laws, like that nation's Prime Minister did after their first mass shooting, but it came off more like she knows that the portal that will lead us to the holy grail is a mile north of Wellington, and as president she will finally have the ability to send troops into the center of the earth to find the crystal that will grant us eternal departure from the cycles of reality.
Marianne: Girlfriend, I would like to formally invite you to bring it on because it has already been broughten. PM… https://t.co/ZDOqoTvaA0— R. Eric Thomas (@R. Eric Thomas)1561735089.0
9. Her presence instantly led to calls for a Kate McKinnon impersonation.
Later, it happened. Needless to say, this won her even more points with the gays.
I promise to use this power only for good https://t.co/G2q5yhzu5X— Dave Itzkoff (@Dave Itzkoff)1561723162.0
10. She's an AVATAR stan.
Remember the James Cameron film—the one about the humans that go try to colonize a planet of weirdly attractive blue people? It seems like Williamson sees it as the blueprint for the future of the world.
All the films were good but AVATAR has changed the world. He didn't win an Oscar tonight, but James Cameron deserves a Nobel Peace Price #fb— Marianne Williamson (@Marianne Williamson)1268038737.0
If you want a simple explanation for what's happening in America, watch AVATAR again.— Marianne Williamson (@Marianne Williamson)1509053208.0
11. Based on 2016, which revealed just how highly America prioritizes a candidate's meme-ability, Williamson may well be the next President of the United States.
If you think about it, the initial response to Trump was somewhat similar to this initial response to Williamson. He became larger-than-life by infiltrating the online world, indoctrinating himself into the wry, cynical sarcasm of Twitter-using millennials everywhere. Similarly, he appeared to be more of a movie character than a real person. In a strange way, Williamson seems to be the product of the same simulation glitch that spawned Trump—though it seems possible that Williamson is the one that uploaded all of us in the first place.
Plus, if Trump's key demographic was everyone who was secretly racist, Williamson's demographic is for everyone who secretly thinks they're a witch who can see auras. Admittedly, the sight of a coven of witches turning neo-Nazis into toads would be deeply satisfying. And for fans of Harry Potter, the idea that love and magic could potentially destroy an evil, undead overlord might ring a few bells.
JUST IN: Marianne Williamson most searched on Google for night two of the Democratic debate https://t.co/AZXiuwZi1D https://t.co/r3ZuOYz8Me— The Hill (@The Hill)1561727595.0
The more we joke about Marianne Williamson the more certain I am that she is going to be the next President of the United States— Quinta Jurecic (@Quinta Jurecic)1561729901.0
While Marianne Williamson’s decision to begin her first state of the union address with twenty minutes of whale son… https://t.co/jaCGS0JYLc— Mmm? (@Mmm?)1561706240.0
Marianne Williamson will never make the Debates MW will never crush the Debates [you are here] MW will never outpol… https://t.co/9csBF2B5l7— Abhi Agarwal (@Abhi Agarwal)1561697989.0
an accidental but powerful coalition of oprah viewers, spiritual-but-not-religious christians, people who think jui… https://t.co/uDOK1RAkoE— Max Read (@Max Read)1561698270.0
Of course, Williamson isn't the only one who may have occult ties.
#DemocratDebate Kamala Harris is so on point, she didn’t even know her own people working for her had a secret poli… https://t.co/tq0XCf2oPU— rin (@rin)1561689464.0
- Second Democratic Debate 2019 Best Memes - Best Tweets from ... ›
- Marianne Williamson's Bonkers Debate Performance Lights Up Twitter ›
- Marianne Williamson's debate performance has Twitter . . . making ... ›
- Osita Nwanevu on Twitter: "Marianne Williamson has already ... ›
- Osita Nwanevu on Twitter: "Marianne Williamson has already ... ›
- Democratic debate: Marianne Williamson becomes a Twitter meme ... ›
- Marianne Williamson on Twitter: "I need to learn Spanish by ... ›
- Marianne Williamson Says She'll 'Harness Love' to Defeat Donald ... ›
- Ellie Hall on Twitter: "AMAZING OLD TWEETS BY PRESIDENTIAL ... ›
- Marianne Williamson's Bonkers Debate Performance Lights Up Twitter ›
- Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) | Twitter ›
Plus celebrities react to Nigerian protests.
Young people across Nigeria have been pouring into the streets for the last two weeks to protest police brutality, specifically the controversial special police force known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Tension came to a head on Tuesday when armed forces fired on protestors in Lagos, the biggest city in Nigeria, who were out past the state-mandated curfew. According to AP News, "Police also fired tear gas at one point, and smoke could be seen billowing from several areas in the city's center. Two private TV stations were forced off the air at least temporarily as their offices were burned."
Not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
October 21, 2020 marks the third annual International Pronouns Day.
Created by an independent board and first observed in 2018, it's one of those small commemorative holidays that trends on Twitter in hopes of drawing attention to a pressing social issue, like International Women's Day (March 8th) or the ever so serious National Taco Day (October 4).
But Pronouns Day in particular "seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace." The organization's website further describes, "Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people's multiple, intersecting identities."
But in the words of nonbinary activist and Trevor Project's Head of Advocacy and Government Afairs, Sam Brenton, "Pronouns are hard." Never before have pronouns been scrutinized as closely as they are in 2019 for their power to (in)validate or accurately describe something as fluid as gender identity. In fact, it was only this year that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary expanded the definition of "they" "to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary" (thus codifying a long history in English language of using "they" to refer to a singular non-gendered entity).
‘Everyone has the responsibility to be respectful.’ — The @TrevorProject’s Sam Brinton is explaining why pronouns a… https://t.co/pMMO8KRvBR— NowThis (@NowThis)1571253180.0
But throwing an additional wrench in the works is the fact that not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
Take me, for instance: Despite having female biology, I couldn't pass a lie detector test saying I'm a "woman." But my pragmatic, Puritan family is still endearingly confused by the idea of "liberal arts," let alone the notion of gender fluidity. And I'd rather share a communal language with them than do the emotional and mental labor of re-orienting their worldview for them. Plus, I have the privilege of passing as female without feeling too, too, terribly dysphoric (which non-binary people can definitely suffer from, despite not identifying as trans).
But enough about me, look at Queer Eye's beloved Jonathan Van Ness. While he's been outspoken about being genderqueer, gay, and HIV positive, he prefers he/him pronouns. "The older I get, the more I think that I'm nonbinary," Van Ness said. "I'm gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman." As he told Out magazine, he doesn't identify as a man, but he does prefer "he/him/his" pronouns. In his view, those pronouns don't detract from or contradict his non-binary identity, because gender is not about simple binaries between masculine and feminine identifiers. "Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I'm here for it," he said. "I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It's this social construct that I don't really feel like I fit into the way I used to."
On the other hand, last month non-binary singer Sam Smith announced that their preferred pronouns are "they/them." Smith posted to Instagram, "I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤ after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out." People like Smith and Trevor Project's Sam Brenton simply feel more validated, seen, heard, and true to themselves with gender-neutral pronouns. Smith wrote, "I'm so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I've been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f*ck it!"
Most importantly, as pretty much every non-binary person and activist is aware, changing cultural norms is hard. While LGBTQ+ activism is inspired and passionate and dedicated to expanding human rights to all gender identities, we all know that changing society's entire understanding of gender and pronoun usage is about slowly opening minds. As Smith wrote, "I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you." Happy Pronouns Day to you/him/her/they/(f)aer/zim.