Brow Beat

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Spent Her Weekend Dunking on Aaron Sorkin and Helping Raise Money for Trans Kids

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, smiling and waving.
She somehow also found time to speak at the Women’s Unity Rally in New York. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose unwillingness to suffer fools gladly continues to baffle and confuse the fool community, is at it again. Filmmaker Aaron Sorkin, who made an entire television show about a man giving long speeches detailing what everyone else should do, stopped by CNN to explain exactly what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the other new wave of Democrats should do. Specifically, he encouraged them to “stop acting like young people,” and downplay their commitment to transgender rights to address the “economic anxiety of the middle class.” Here are his comments:

I really like the new crop of young people who were just elected to Congress. They now need to stop acting like young people. OK? It’s time to do that. You know, I think that there’s a great opportunity here, now more than ever, for Democrats to be the non-stupid party, to point out the difference. That we are—that it’s not just about transgender bathrooms. That’s a Republican talking point they’re trying to distract you with. That we are, that we haven’t forgotten the economic anxiety of the middle class, but we’re gonna be smart about this. We’re not going to be mean about it. 

And here’s the full clip, with bonus endorsements of former prosecutor Kamala Harris and former Anita Hill questioner Joe Biden, plus a Sorkinesque look back at the days of the Greatest Generation, when the United States was more welcoming to refugees.

Ocasio-Cortez has never missed an opportunity to make hay on social media when someone engages in bad-faith criticism of her, and she didn’t miss this chance to advocate for her preferred policies:

The congresswoman went on to respond to Sorkin in his own language, an expansive monologue that pulls out dizzily from a specific annoyance—the word “gravitas”—to a theory of the world (music swells) in seven tweets:

All you’d need for a walk-and-talk is someone to repeat Ocasio-Cortez’s words back to her as questions. But her last tweet, pointing to an online fundraiser for Mermaids, a U.K.–based charity that supports gender variant and transgender children, requires a little more context. Irish comedian and writer Graham Linehan, who co-created Father Ted and wrote The IT Crowd, has long been a virulent critic of the transgender community—last month he compared living in an age of increased trans activism to being “around the time of something terrible happening like Nazism,” for starters—and a month or so ago, he targeted Mermaids after hearing they were receiving funds from the U.K.’s National Lottery. In a since-deleted post on parenting site Mumsnet, Linehan encouraged people to email the National Lottery to complain. Apparently enough mums took his advice, because the lottery announced they were reviewing the grant. That was the last straw for YouTuber H.Bomberguy, so he decided it was time to finally score 100 percent completion on the 1999 Nintendo 64 game Donkey Kong 64 in an event he dubbed the “Donkey Kong 64 Nightmare Stream.” It makes more sense when he explains it:

H.Bomberguy’s Twitch stream, still ongoing at press time, is at 55 hours and counting. That doesn’t represent nonstop Donkey Kong 64 action: He’s been occasionally sleeping while handing things over to a skeleton crew:

So far, he’s raised nearly $300,000 for Mermaids. Which is where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez comes in, quite literally. The congresswoman, who has already demonstrated her mastery of Twitter and Instagram, dabbled in video game streaming, stopping by H.Bomberguy’s stream. Again, that stream is a live internet broadcast of a man in the United Kingdom playing the 1999 video game Donkey Kong 64. Here’s her arrival:

Ocasio-Cortez went on to talk trans rights and video game consoles—she’s an N64 fan—so we can expect the rest of the Democratic caucus to start telling us about their love of Spacewar! any day now. As per usual, she dives into the details without condescending. Here, for example, is her concise explanation of the way bigotry plays out economically for trans people (and why it can’t be effectively countered with money alone):

And that’s how Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and YouTuber H.Bomberguy teamed up to transform other people’s bigotry, misogyny, and condescending monologues into positive change, through the life-changing power of Donkey Kong 64. Ocasio-Cortez put it more succinctly:

You might say she’s on a mission to civilize.