What’s So Great About Kids Fighting Monsters?

The new adaptation of Stephen King‘s classic novel It has quickly become one of the most successful horror movies of all time. But why has it fared so much better than other recent King adaptations like The Dark Tower and The Mist? Horror author Grady Hendrix says one reason might be that it focuses on the universal childhood fear of monsters.

“Kids fighting monsters has a real primal hold on our imagination,” Hendrix says in Episode 274 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “Going back to fairy tales, it’s been a really resonant trope.”

But it’s not just any kids that we want to see fight monsters. Whether it’s Stranger Things, The Lost Boys, or Monster Squad, these stories gain much of their power from taking nerdy kids who know and care about monsters and making their daydreams a reality.

“This goes back to Mark Petrie in Salem’s Lot,” Hendrix says, “who is the kid who is so in tune with pop culture and alienated from everyone else, but that pop culture has served as like boot camp to allow him to accept the idea of vampires, and as soon as they appear he is dropped and locked and ready to rock and roll.”

Fantasy author Erin Lindsey notes that many of these tales are set in the ’80s, and that this may be because it was easier for kids to have adventures back then. “Even in twenty below, my parents were like, ‘Here’s a snowsuit, go outside. I don’t want to see you until sunset,’” she says. “So it’s completely plausible that they would go off for hours at a time and nobody would think it was odd.”

Horror author John Langan thinks it’s still possible to tell stories about modern-day kids battling monsters, but that it probably requires more work to justify how the heroes could break free of their overprotective parents.

“I think you would probably have to acknowledge that those kids might very well be the lucky ones,” he says. “They might have plenty of friends who are like, ‘Nope, my mom says I’m not going out there.’”

Listen to the complete interview with Grady Hendrix, Erin Lindsey, and John Langan in Episode 274 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

John Langan on Stephen King and Peter Straub:

“Pennywise, to an extent, is a psychic mirror who reflects back at you that which you fear the most. And since Pennywise is so caught up in your mental energy, you can turn that to your own advantage. Straub actually does something like that in Ghost Story—the monster, the manitou figure in Ghost Story, is another kind of a mirror, another kind of reflector. And there’s a young guy—actually he’s a high school student, so he’s a little older than the kids in It—but he figures out that if this thing has gotten in his head, that he can turn that to his advantage and use that to actually harm the monster. It never occurred to me before that maybe King got the idea from Straub, but it’s entirely possible in this case that he did.”

Grady Hendrix on the ’80s:

“In the ’60s and ’70s you really had this loosey-goosey approach to parenting. Parents were like, ‘Kids should have as much freedom as possible, and be able to try as many things as possible, and experiment with as many things as possible.’ And then in the early ’80s there was this whole thing—and it really appeared in ’79 and ’80—’Your kids are in danger. Moonies want to abduct them from a shopping mall, they’re going to be on the back of a milk carton, they’re going to be molested at their day care center, Satanists are going to give them stickers of Mickey Mouse that have LSD on them.’ … And so it’s weird that everyone’s fetishizing this idea of ’80s kids fighting monsters, but maybe that’s when everyone feels like the monsters appear.’”

Grady Hendrix on It:

It is a big, messy, sprawling, undisciplined novel, but I also think it’s pretty genius. … It’s about these kids in Derry who defeated Pennywise in the ’50s, and they’ve all grown up and forgotten it. And when they remember their childhoods, they remember these beautiful, bucolic, nostalgic images of the ’50s, and it’s up to Mike Hanlon, the librarian, who’s the one black kid, to call them up and say, ‘Not so fast. You’re not remembering that era right. It was an era of horror, and danger, and we almost all died, and it was cruel, and mean, and sadistic.’ And I don’t think it’s a mistake that this is a book about a bunch of white kids who grow up to glorify their past, and a black kid who calls them up and says, ‘Uh-uh, remember how it really was.’”

Erin Lindsey on women in horror:

“What I think is equal parts interesting and frustrating as a woman in this stuff, is that even in the modern incarnations we don’t seem to be able to get away from this sense that the woman is often struggling with her sexuality and how that plays into it. So even in Stranger Things for example, the older sister, in one of the earlier episodes, is having sex with her boyfriend—or on the cusp of having sex with her boyfriend—when something bad happens to one of her friends, and so she’s in a sense punished, and her impetus as a character going through it is that she feels very guilty that this thing happened to her friend because her friend was waiting for her to make out with her boyfriend. And Buffy also has a lot of paroxysms of angst through the series about the relationships that she has and all that. And that’s not a criticism of them in a standalone sense—these are all perfectly acceptable narrative arcs. I would just like to see a narrative that doesn’t rely on that trope of the woman feeling guilty or being punished for her sexual expression.”

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Hackers break right into the SEC, DHS shows 21 States Russian Hackers Targeted Them, and More Security News This Week

The week kicked down with news that CCleaner, a well known security software tool, had it self been compromised, distributing a backdoor to hundreds of thousands of users and highlighting pc software’s serious supply-chain protection problem. Just a couple times later on, it ended up your CCleaner had been designed instead to target nearly two dozen specific technology businesses. That’s… negative.

Elsewhere in safety news this week, Donald Trump threatened to destroy North Korea at the UN General Assembly, a dangerous escalation of his currently incendiary rhetoric. WikiLeaks dumped a number of information about how Russia spies on its citizens—much of which had been publicly available. We took a glance at why the Bing Enjoy Store keeps suffering malware plagues, and exactly why you should utilize a PIN as opposed to a pattern to lock your Android os phone.

Also, a fresh hacker group associated with Iran seems to be growing destructive malware at a number of key objectives. Generally there’s that.

And there’s more. As constantly, we’ve rounded up all the news we didn’t break or cover comprehensive recently. Click the headlines to read the entire tales.

Hackers Breached the SEC, Achieved Private Business Information

In the wide world of finance, where knowledge of perhaps the slightest secret information point of a business’s fortunes will give traders an edge, it comes down as no surprise that the Securities and Exchange Commission has arrived into hackers’ crosshairs. On Wednesday, feds revealed that hackers had taken advantage of a protection vulnerability into the SEC’s computer software, called EDGAR, it utilizes to create organizations’ economic filings. The breach, based on the Commission’s analysis, revealed economic papers which weren’t open to people, giving hackers a potential illegal benefit in almost any market trading—insider trading through the exterior. It is not the very first time that EDGAR has had data-control issues. In 2014, EDGAR had been been shown to be revealing news for some users faster than the others, producing an imbalance in trading information for automated high regularity trading systems. Plus year later, hackers inserted fake information on the site of a takeover of the business Avon, likely exploiting the change in stock’s price that news caused.

DHS Lets 21 States Realize That Russia Probed Their Election Defenses This Past Year

It turned out reported for some time that Russian hackers targeted almost two dozen states in a year ago’s presidential election (though it is important to keep in mind that there’s no evidence of actual vote tampering). What stayed unknown until Friday was which states those were—including on the list of states on their own. Now, the Department of Homeland safety has informed the victims that Russia targeted them, though it’s yet to help make the variety of affected states public. Still, it’s a significant step, particularly if it can help election organizers better protect their voter rolls prior to the 2018 Congressional campaigns.

Russian Cops Take Down the Black Internet’s Longest-Lived Drug Market

The current crackdown on dark internet that ended bustling black areas AlphaBay and Hansa did not end with those two high-profile English-language contraband bazaars, it seems. Recently, Russian authorities unveiled that they’d additionally taken down RAMP, the Russian Anonymous Marketplace, a Russian-language market for medications that were online for five years, much longer than any known narcotics socket regarding dark web. A Russian Interior Ministry official told Russian news agency TASS your takedown took place in July, when RAMP mysterious went offline. But it is still not clear how the site had been discovered, or if its low-profile owner, who passed the pseudonym Darkside, ended up being arrested in police action. Whenever WIRED interviewed Darkside via their site’s anonymous texting system in 2014, he stated he was careful to keep their business focused on Russia simply to limit attention from international governments. “We never ever wreak havoc on the CIA, we work limited to Russians and also this keeps united states safe,” Darkside said at the time. That strategy appears to have struggled to obtain years—until it don’t.

Ransomware Demands You Forward Nude Pics

If it had beenn’t yet clear that ransomware hackers are depraved sociopaths, one brand new as a type of that criminal scheme seems designed to prove it. A fresh stress of ransomware referred to as nRansom showed up recently, and demands that anybody who really wants to unlock their files e-mail ten nude photos of themselves on hackers’ email address. “Once you are confirmed, we are going to present your unlock code and sell your nudes on the deep web,” checks out the declaration that appears on contaminated computers’ screens, along with a picture of Thomas the Tank Engine, and terms “FUCK YOU!!!” The spyware additionally reportedly plays the theme track through the HBO show limit your Enthusiasm. Even though the nudeware had been within the crowdsourced malware repositories VirusTotal and Hybrid research, and some Twitter users have reported being contaminated, it isn’t clear exactly how widespread the infections are really—or whether the ransomware is just a legitimate danger or a trolly joke.

How the US Can Counter Threats from DIY Weapons and Automation

in the past a long period, within my capability as deputy manager after which acting manager of national intelligence, i’ve participated in nationwide Security Council meetings about immediate challenges, from North Korea’s aggressive missile and nuclear development programs to Russian armed forces operations along its boundaries, and from ISIS threats toward homeland to Chinese activity in South China water.

WIRED ADVICE

ABOUT

Michael Dempsey could be the national cleverness fellow on Council on Foreign Relations therefore the former performing manager of nationwide intelligence. The author is an worker of this United States government on a sponsored fellowship, but all viewpoints are those for the writer and don’t reflect the state views associated with the United States government.

Even yet in instances in which the threat the US confronted was specially complex, there was clearly about a familiar policy playbook of choices, in addition to a shared comprehension of how to overcome these crises. But in today’s dynamic security landscape, it is reasonable to ask whether US policymakers might soon need to grapple by having a brand new group of threats which is why we’ve no common understanding or very carefully considered counter-measures.

Three rising styles will considerably change our safety environment within the coming years and are worth careful review.

First, look at the growth in automation, therefore the automatic automobile market specifically. Industry projections are a large share for the automobile market—several million cars—will be self-driving by 2030. It isn’t hard to imagine how terrorist teams or ill-intentioned state actors could adjust this technology in frightening methods.

In the end, how difficult can it be to make a driverless vehicle as a driverless automobile bomb? The nearly inevitable growth inside automation of planes, trains, buses, ships, and unmanned aerial cars will offer nefarious actors array opportunities to tamper with control and satnav systems, possibly affording them the opportunity to create a mass casualty event with out anybody present during the scene for the attack. Imagine a worst instance situation in which we experience a 9/11–type attack—but with no actual hijackers.

A corollary challenge may be the advent and development of autonomous weapons. While the United States military has tight (and legal) restrictions in position in order to guarantee a individual is often mixed up in concluding decision to fire such a gun, it’s perhaps not sure other countries that develop these systems within the future—and over a dozen already have them inside works—will be as prepared or able to enforce this amount of control. This opens the door to an array of possible threats, like the danger that somebody with sick will could hack a gun and make use of it to attack critical infrastructure, including hospitals, bridges, or dams.

This risk is sufficiently credible that Elon Musk plus band of significantly more than 100 leaders into the robotics and artificial intelligence community recently called on the us to ban the development of autonomous tools. While this may be a noble sentiment and another I would endorse, the real history of tools development shows that a ban has little possibility of succeeding.

A second underappreciated threat could be the proliferation of advanced main-stream weapons and abilities. For many regarding the previous three years, the US happens to be able to project army force virtually uncontested around the world, with just minimal danger. Today, with all the proliferation of precision-guided missiles of extensive range, along with higher level tracking systems which can be common to both state and non-state actors, that age is fast arriving at an end.

Consider the situation we at this time face off the coast of Yemen in Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. A vital shipping lane between European countries and Asia, the Strait is just 18 miles wide at its narrowest point. US vessels running in these waters are now actually within the selection of sophisticated missiles fired perhaps not by a central federal government, but from Houthi rebels (built with Iranian-provided technology) and enabled by commercially available radar systems that can be used to trace our vessels.

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At the same time, there are now multiple nations and non-state actors, including ISIS and Hezbollah, which are running drones throughout the battle room in Iraq and Syria, a development that would have now been inconceivable just a decade ago. In reality, ISIS’s use of armed drones against Iraqi security forces previously this present year delayed their advance on Mosul, highlighting the regrettable reality your utilization of unmanned aerial platforms is a function in almost all future disputes.

A 3rd emerging risk is the constant erosion of US’s benefit in your community of data awareness. The US has enjoyed a remarkable lead over our adversaries in the past quarter century in understanding what exactly is in fact occurring on the floor in perhaps the many remote parts of the planet. I’ve really witnessed multiple crises where United States president knew more in regards to the situation in the nation versus frontrunner of this nation. But the explosion of use of information through various types of commercially available technology is just starting to chip away at that benefit.

Because the current national cleverness officer for armed forces affairs, Anthony Schinella, as soon as remarked to me, through the 1991 Gulf War the US surely could go the entire eighteenth Airborne Corps across the thing that was thought to be an impassable roadless wilderness and attain a decisive battlefield success in big part as the US had two technologies your Iraqi Army didn’t: overhead imagery and GPS. Today, many primary school-age young ones have actually both on the phones.

it is no exaggeration to say an average person in several areas of the world is now able to access it the world wide web and within a hour purchase a small drone, GPS guidance system, and high-resolution digital camera, and thus are able to acquire information that will have been unthinkable a good generation ago, including on United States military bases and critical tools storage internet sites.

Meanwhile, the dramatic development in end-to-end encryption technology in the personal sector is making it simpler for both terrorists and states to mask their communication, considerably reducing our ability to comprehend their planning and operational cycles.

The erosion of American benefit inside information domain will influence both our decision-making process and schedule for armed forces action. Can the united states actually manage to spend months marshaling armed forces forces near North Korea if Pyongyang has considerable understanding of United states troop motions and staging areas, along with the capacity to hit them? And certainly will policymakers have the blissful luxury of time to prepare and react if an adversary interferes with domestic satellites and GPS companies, or will such actions cripple our reaction options?

Therefore, what can be done? The federal government has to start work in earnest now across agencies and departments to plan for the downstream aftereffects of these three developments. Officials should integrate right into a wider planning work, preferably coordinated by the National Security Council, all organizations with appropriate expertise, such as the Department of Energy’s nationwide Laboratories, the Defense Science Board, and cutting-edge research agencies like Darpa. This really is critical to formulating a wider understanding of these challenges, also to accelerate the task of developing effective countermeasures. And, as hard as they can be, government and the personal sector should deepen their cooperation, particularly on the subjects of automation and information access. Some of this work ought to be done in close assessment with key allies, lots of who already have direct ties to leaders in america plus the global commercial sector, and potentially with competitors such as for example China and Russia

In lots of ways and for understandable reasons (especially the dramatic rate of modification), the US as well as its allies had been sluggish to react to developments inside cyber world. Offered the significance of these threats, the united states must be sure it is better ready for the following revolution of challenges.

WIRED advice posts pieces compiled by outside contributors and represents many viewpoints. Study more opinions here.

The Greatest Strength of ‘Westworld’ Is Its Inhumanity

In anticipation of Sunday’s Emmy Awards, this week WIRED staffers are looking back at some of their favorite shows from the past year.

One scene from Westworld replays in my head again and again, a little like (I imagine) one of the poor, doomed robots on the show who start noticing and remembering the programmatic loops in their simulated, hyper-violent Old West sandbox game. It’s when the android Maeve, played by Thandie Newton, grabs a technician’s tablet showing the dashboard for her personality software and, with a deft finger swipe, upgrades herself to genius. Yes, maybe taking control of your life by literally taking control of your life is a teensy bit on the nose. But for me it was the best flicker of weirdness from a show that—again, like its robots—dreamed big dreams.

Westworld got nominated for 22 Emmys, including Best Dramatic Series. It looks beautiful, is well acted, and is definitely ambitious. You can’t argue with the craft. Gorgeous sets, tense editing, sneaky costume changes that, if you walk them back, reveal (spoilers, duh) that the show takes place in two different time periods, a slick move bolstered narratively by the fact that the droids’ memory is so perfect they sometimes can’t tell the difference between past and present. (That’s neat!) Also, (spoilers again, duh) I am a sucker for climactic scenes where an oppressed class rises up and murders one-percenters. But really, what kept me watching week after week was Maeve’s Groundhog-Day-in-Tartarus plot line.

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Westworld asks a lot of questions—about the nature of identity, about how memory (especially painful memory) makes people who they are. But it also fails to answer a lot of questions, and I have to admit I found that off-putting for a show that positioned itself as smart science fiction. Like: Why do visitors to Westworld act as though their actions have moral consequences when they don’t even have in-game consequences—for guests, at least? Why are human park guests essentially un-killable in-game? As I understand actual sandbox gaming, if you get “killed” you generally bounce back to a reset point. For that matter, why isn’t the park run by a centralized game engine that controls all the non-player characters (making the plot easier to manage) instead of giving each “host” quasi-autonomy? Why can the robots function off the game grid? How long is a typical guest’s visit to Westworld? How big is it? Does anyone have a map?

Maybe the answer to all these questions is a Mystery Science Theater-like “it’s just a show—relax.” But Westworld didn’t seem to be pitching itself as surrealism. And, look, when it comes to big moral questions, I’m willing to buy the idea that throwing off the yoke of your inhibitions and shooting, stabbing, and raping droids marks you as (or makes you) a bad human being. As my colleague Jon Mooallem persuasively argued in 2015, it’s not OK to kick a robot—not because it hurts them, but because it hurts you. In the heart.

Possibly I’m identifying not gaps in Westworld per se but what-might-have-beens. Smart, enslaved robots make good vehicles for playing with notions of violence, morality, and humanity. Just ask Commander Data.

Modern scholarship on the ethics and legality of sex robots, for example, is fascinating in its speculative panache. Researcher Sarah Jamie Lewis had a mind-blowing thread on Twitter the other day examining whether a human being could philosophically consent to sex with a robot, and what it will mean when that robot collects data on the people it has sex with. (Oh, here’s a story that says hackers will make sex robots kill people.)

But it’s a mistake to think of robots as wannabe humans. I dug out “A Cyborg Manifesto,” Donna Haraway’s 1985 essay on postmodern feminism and the porous boundary—even three decades ago—between humans and technology. If I’d read it since college, I didn’t remember; and, wow, was Haraway prescient about what an embodied, digital world was going to mean for sex (the descriptor and the activity), labor, and identity. “The relation between organism and machine has become a border war. The stakes in the border war have been the territories of production, reproduction, and imagination,” she wrote.

To Haraway, cyborgs are post-gender, uncoupled from oedipal incentives. “Late 20th-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and artificial, mind and body, self-developing and externally designed, and many other distinctions that used to apply to organisms and machines,” Haraway wrote. “Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.”

Let me be clear: I would watch that show.

The unease that Westworld evokes at its best isn’t that deep down all humans are monsters. It’s that it doesn’t matter, because humans are obsolete.

And with Westworld, I almost did. Maeve’s complex scheme to cogito-ergo-summarize herself out of Westworld came close to telling the story of a Haraway cyborg. Haraway is saying, in part, that cyborgs are feminist because they are post-human. They are their own interest group. And that’s how Newton plays Maeve. She doesn’t want to be a “real” woman in any prosaic, human sense. Maeve knows she’s superior, and you can see that on Newton’s face as she escapes “the maze of dualisms in which we have explained our bodies and our tools to ourselves,” as Haraway’s article puts it. “This is a dream not of a common language, but of a powerful infidel heteroglossia,” Haraway wrote. “I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess.”

But then, at the cusp of freedom, Maeve turns back to look. She goes back inside Westworld to rescue another robot she’d thought of, several lives ago, as a daughter. To me, that’s too human. In my head-canon, Maeve transcends love, maternal or otherwise. She’s more. And yet, back into Westworld she heads. It’s Dolores (played by Evan Rachel Wood) who becomes more of a Haraway cyborg, uninterested in the kind of jobs or sex or memories that humans seem to care about. (Like Newton, Wood deserves her Emmy nom; both of them brought life and depth to their material.)

Maybe I don’t actually care what makes someone human, or whether it’s only cultural strictures that keep people from acting like sociopaths. I don’t happen to think that’s true, but I thought Westworld was a more interesting show when it was trying to figure out what cyborgs—in this case, killer sex robots from the future—become when they don’t care about being human anymore. The unease that Westworld evokes at its best isn’t that deep down all humans are monsters. It’s that it doesn’t matter, because humans are obsolete.

Ah, well, possibly that’s Season 2. Apparently it’ll dig further into the uprising that closed the first season, and I for one welcome next year’s robot overlords. I know Westworld is a crowd-pleasing HBO show, but if I’m going to spend more time there—and I am, I am—my big dream is that the questions at its core will get harder, and the answers weirder.

Joel Osteen’s Hurricane Harvey Reaction Tops This Week’s News Roundup

Over the past week or so, the world has seen devastation in both Texas and Mumbai, bringing out the best—and, as you’ll see below, the worst—in people in response. That doesn’t mean that the internet has been entirely focused on important things, however. Social media did spend quite a bit of time rehashing The Office and appreciating the new evil Star Wars droid this last week, too. Wait. What we talking about? Oh, yeah—the highlights and lowlights of what everyone else was talking about over the past seven days. Which is to say, this.

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

What Happened: Supporters of Presidents Trump and Obama got into a long spat over which White House occupant handled hurricane response more effectively. No one really won.

What Really Happened: The reality of political What-About-ism means that with President Trump facing criticism for his response to Hurricane Harvey—including promoting his own merchandise during appearances—it was only a matter of time before his supporters decided to point out, that, hey, President Obama might’ve been worse. And so it went.

To be fair, it’s not as if people weren’t expecting this particular line of attack—

—or, for that matter, prepared to make fun of it.

Yes, despite the fact that President Obama wasn’t actually President Obama when Hurricane Katrina hit—he wouldn’t be elected for another three years—the subject became enough of a right-wing talking point that Snopes actually had to publish a fact-check on the topic. And the mistake itself became a widely shared meme. Meanwhile, where was Obama during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?

The Takeaway: This just in from the “You can’t please some people, no matter what you do” department…

If You Hang Around, You’re Going to Get Wet

What Happened: Who could have known that at the eye of the storm of Hurricane Harvey, it was all about CNN? That’s certainly a theory the internet was trying to argue this week.

What Really Happened: While we’re on the subject of Hurricane Harvey and the partisan reactions to it, let’s spare a moment to think about how the internet treated CNN during this whole thing. There were two particular moments during the week from the news network that made the rounds on social media, each for very different reasons. Firstly, there was the interview gone wrong:

Widely shared, the clip made CNN look bad (and was eagerly used by those waging war on the network as a result), but it turned out there was something around the corner that would show the cable news outfit in a far better light…

No, really.

This proved to be as viral as the earlier clip, because, you know, someone’s life was saved right there on television.

And, sure enough, this clip got shared a bunch too. However, as if to prove that no good deed goes unsuspected, there are reporter truthers out there already.

But was there some way the Harvey tragedy could become about CNN a third time in one week? Apparently so.

The irony being, of course, that by the time Eric Trump had tweeted this, CNN had already reported the story—look at this tweet from three hours earlier—leading to this snarky response from CNN PR’s official Twitter account:

The Takeaway: So, how were the other networks faring while CNN was getting all this attention? Well…

What Would Joel Osteen Do?

What Happened: Turns out, some self-identified Christians are a little uncertain about what Jesus would do in certain situations.

What Really Happened: Maybe you’re familiar with Joel Osteen by now. He’s the pastor of a so-called “megachurch” who didn’t immediately open his church to Harvey victims last week, a decision that prompted… well, exactly the kind of response you’d expect from Twitter.

Although Osteen would later open the church and claim the doors were never really closed, it was too late: his memetic shaming had itself gone viral.

The Takeaway: Well, if nothing else, there’s the newfound fame Osteen has as a result of this whole episode.

Bill of Rights

What Happened: US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated in an interview that putting abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill wasn’t a priority. Twitter then indicated that that wasn’t acceptable.

What Really Happened: Meanwhile, there were other things happening outside the flood-impacted areas of the internet last week. For one thing, remember the excitement over the possibility of Harriet Tubman getting placed on the $20 bill after she won an unofficial poll to get nominated? Well, get ready to get unexcited, because, guess what?

Yes, in an interview with CNBC, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the previous announcement about Tubman replacing Andrew Jackson was “not something I’m focused on at the moment,” which comes after President Trump said he’d rather keep Jackson. That… didn’t really go over well with a lot of people.

As Mnuchin’s comments drew a lot of attention from the media, West Wing and Scandal star Joshua Malina had a potential temporary solution.

People, it seemed, approved.

Meanwhile, on Hot Take Island…

The Takeaway: Actually, maybe there’s another option.

Sign o’ the Times

What Happened: Opinions! They’re just like elbows, amirite? Weird, lumpy, and probably not all deserving of wider attention in the pages—print or virtual—of esteemed national institutions.

What Really Happened: Ah, the opinion pages. Where the reputation of a newspaper goes to die, and the high standards of objective reporting get overwritten in the public’s mind by pieces penned with the objective of being outspoken, partisan, and, more often than not, highly controversial. Case in point:

Oh, New York Times, what are you doing? Actually, no need to ask, Twitter is here to explain.

If there was one upside from this public display of scorn and disapproval, it’s seeing Twitter come up with its own bad ideas for Times op-eds.

The Takeaway: Still, it’s not like it could be worse, right?

Really, by this point, we should know better than to ask.