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From Aretha Franklin to looking for R-E-S-P-E-C-T, a review of the week online

From Aretha Franklin to looking for R-E-S-P-E-C-T, a review of the week online


This week, a world that didn’t deserve her mourned the loss of  Aretha Franklin, who embodied American soul music, saved Ashanti from SARS, and died at 76. Her passing left the Internet ablaze with YouTube clips of her unfathomable and unflinching talent, sad emojis, and stirring tributes from every end of American culture. “Aretha helped define the American experience,” tweeted President Obama, “In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade.” The current president appeared equally moved, telling reporters “I knew her well — she worked for me on numerous occasions.” Touching. Meanwhile, the hard news (i.e. news is hard!) folks at Fox News were busy sorting out who this Aretha Franklin person was to begin with. (Hint: Not Patti LaBelle!) So much for doing right.


In a cruel but apt twist, the departure of the Queen of Soul coincided with the rise of the Queen of Evidently No Soul Whatsoever, former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, whose tell-all book junket finds her flinging more red-hot tapes than me when I worked at Strawberries. So far she’s speculated about the mental health of the commander in chief, savaged the work culture of the White House (including her own termination and coerced silence) and floated that there may be tape of Trump using the N-word. (I know, right? Shocking.) Trump responded to the controversy by shaking his fist and muttering “Newman!” I should clarify that’s a guess. 


Elsewhere in American governance and zookeeping, the Pentagon nixed plans for Trump’s aggressively ballyhooed  military parade beauty pageant thing, paring it down to the honk of a single sad tuba. Estimates of the parade’s projected $92 million pricetag may have informed the decision to postpone until next year. Or maybe it just looked like rain for the next few months. Or maybe Kanye and Kid Rock weren’t available after all. Or maybe it’s being saved for the sweeps week episode of “Donny Trump, Kid President! Season Two.”  The president responded by angrily canceling the already postponed parade, and announcing he’d go to Paris to see their parade instead. (So maybe that
was the point? If so, brava Pentagon, brava!)


And finally, since we are a country with no queen or (ideally) king, hungering for a hero to lead us out of the darkness, the Internet has chosen one. And from the looks of it, it’s either this guy caught on tape losing his entire mind fighting with his girlfriend on the phone, or it’s the guy who filmed the guy fighting with his girlfriend and posted it to Twitter. They both have merits, but I’m going to nominate the girlfriend he’s yelling at, as there’s a 99 percent chance that she’s in the right and just looking for some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. (You go, gurl.)

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Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur

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