The most valuable thing about Twitter, in my humble opinion, is that it allows us to see behind the carefully constructed personas of celebrities and politicians, occasionally revealing their bizarre beliefs and eccentricities to the public.
Rapper Nicki Minaj recently displayed a bit of vaccine hesitancy on Twitter, claiming that she was going to do her own research before committing to vaccination. Her statement prompted a couple of snarky replies, but nothing more.
Minaj’s “research” was tweeted an hour later, in the form of a hilarious anecdote, a tweet just as wonderfully deranged as any of Donald Trump’s succinct masterpieces.
Twitter users were quick to point out that Minaj’s cousin’s friend didn’t seem to suffer any of the side effects commonly associated with the coronavirus vaccine, but rather, that of an STD.
Could the deluge of misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the vaccine have provided a convenient scapegoat for the unnamed friend?
The tweet quickly spread through retweets, quote tweets, jokes and memes, consuming almost the entirety of Twitter, even overshadowing the star-studded Met Gala. Everyone, it seemed, had something to say about the unnamed man with the swollen testicles.
Others were amused by the thought of this mysterious man who confided in Minaj’s cousin, only to inadvertently have his secret revealed to the entire world because of Minaj’s vaccine “research.”
It wasn’t all mockery and memes, however; some saw the tweet as a golden opportunity to question the vaccine, a gift from an incredibly famous celebrity, a cudgel to be used in the neverending culture wars, in which medical science has become (unfortunately) intertwined.
Soon, the tweet escaped Twitter and entered the real world, prompting a response from UK Chief Medical advisor, Chris Whitty, who said Minaj “should be ashamed.”
Somehow, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was prompted into making a statement about Minaj, and he delivered a terribly polite, typically English response, stating:
“I’m not as familiar with the works of Nicki Minaj as I probably should be.”
Tucker Carlson (of Fox News) even read Minaj’s tweet on air, verbatim, somehow managing to keep a straight face. Carlson concluded by calling the tweet, “sensible.”
Eventually, Minaj managed to see the funny side, as her cousin’s now internet-famous friend might have some questions for her.
Minaj also had fun responding to Boris Johnson, putting on a terrible British accent to troll the Prime Minister.
The swirling tsunami of vaccine misinformation might be a cause for concern, but even a public health crisis, it seems, can have a funny side.