When Jon Ossoff won his runoff election last week, becoming the youngest senator-elect since Joe Biden way back in the 1970s, there was an immediate media clamor over his Twitter account, which, in classic millennial fashion, he was foolish enough to actually use. As Seth Maxon reported for Slate, Ossoff was on Twitter pestering Pitchfork about reviewing a new record by Imagine Dragons, boasting about reaching zero inbox, and, worst of all, sharing an anime version of Les Mis. He also used it to follow @Dril, the semi-pseudonymous Twitter writer who, more than anyone else, embodies 21st century culture in all its demented, self-obsessed glory.
Dril is a central figure in Weird Twitter, a loosely-affiliated group of comedians who specialize in a style of absurdist humor that uses misspellings, grammatical errors, and eccentric syntax to hold a mirror up to the internet. Dril’s persona, to the extent he has one, is an extremely online message-board poster whose life is perpetually on the downslope, and his tweets follow him from one operatic catastrophe to the next without the slightest hint of self-awareness:
There’s a plausible case to be made that Dril is one of the only writers who has engaged directly and honestly with internet culture as it actually exists—the Outline suggested he deserved a Nobel Prize for it—so at the very least, the new Congress will be slightly better informed about the current state of contemporary literature. Dril is also a political commentator, though, and it’s here that having one of his fans in the Senate might pay real dividends. It’s gotta be harder to sign on to yet another Democratic attempt to appeal to suburban Republicans, for instance, if you know everyone sees right through you:
We will also never have to worry that Ossoff will start making out with American flags on stage like other, more embarrassing politicians, because of this 2012 tweet, one of Dril’s most famous:
So this is definitely good news for America and will probably lead to a new birth of democracy and so on—”Politic’s is back baby!”—but what does it mean for Jon Ossoff? A familiarity with Dril’s work is commonplace among the young and extremely online, but the average member of the new Congress is 59 years old. If you’ve ever tried to explain a meme or online controversy to anyone who spends even a little bit less time online than you do, you can see the problem here. Being new to Congress has got to be isolating and alienating even if you don’t suffer from internet brain poisoning; for Ossoff, who’s apparently been mainlining Dril tweets for years, it may prove an insurmountable barrier. You can’t co-sponsor a bill if you can’t make it through a conversation without baffling your colleagues with references to “the celebs” or “corn cobbing.” Ossoff is going to need to seek out kindred spririts if he’s going to get anything done in government. So does anyone else in the 117th Congress follow Dril?
To answer this important question, Slate took a systematic approach, and as the head of our West Coast Statistical Analysis division, a fictitious department I created in order to fraudulently draw 23 salaries at once, I was proud to lead the effort. My team of highly-paid statisticians and I painstakingly identified all of the Twitter accounts associated with each member of the Senate and House of Representatives—official accounts, campaign accounts, personal accounts, whatever we could find—then checked every last account to see if they followed Dril. After “crunching the numbers,” (statistics lingo) we were able to assemble a list of the 117th Congress’ “Weird Twitter caucus,” consisting of those Senators and Representatives who have sustained enough mental damage from interacting with the Internet that they follow Dril on Twitter. Here, then, are our findings, a complete list of all the people with internet brain poisoning currently serving at the highest levels of the federal government.
A Complete List of all the People With Internet Brain Poisoning Currently Serving at the Highest Levels of the Federal Government
• Senator-elect Jon Ossoff, D-GA
• Representative Peter Meijer, R-MI (Campaign account ONLY)
It’s unclear exactly why Representative Meijer follows Dril from his campaign account (@VoteMeijer), but not his official House account (@RepMeijer) or his personal account (@pjfm), but with a government this terminally offline, we’ll take whatever we can get. So best of luck to Senator-elect Ossoff and Representative Meijer at making friends with the normal people at their new job—and here’s hoping they can launch a bipartisan effort to finally get the nation’s candle budget under control.