Sunday, March 6, 2016

Returning to an Alternate Universe

After a week of vacation -- during which time I read/saw/heard very little news -- I sat down at my computer this morning to catch up on what's been happening in the world. 


As I was reading a story about Saturday's elections on vice.com, I noticed the writer was referring to Donald Trump as "Donald Drumpf" -- but with no quotes around the name and no explanation why. Weird. I assumed either the site got hacked or a rogue Trump-hating (soon-to-be-ex-) employee had gone into the content management system and changed the name.


A few minutes later, I was on the New York Times website — and a story there also referred to Trump as “Drumpf”— again no quotes, no explanation. WTF??? 

I went on cnn.com. Drumpf references there too. NBC, CBS, vox, Washington Post. Drumpf, Drumpf, Drumpf, Drumpf.


At this point, I was pretty sure that either (A) Karl Rove had taken over the entire internet or (B) I had returned from vacation to some kind of Parallel Universe where everything was EXACTLY the same -- except for Donald Trump’s name.

Hoping to get to the bottom of the mystery, I Googled “Donald Drumpf” and discovered what the rest of the world knew a week ago: that Jon Oliver had done a segment on Trump in which he pointed out that the family’s original name was Drumpf. But it still didn’t explain why all of these normally credible websites were changing his name back to the original German form.


So I watched the “Last Week Tonight” segment. About 20 minutes in, Oliver announced he had created a website — donaldjdrumpf.com — where you could download a Chrome extension that would automatically change all references of “Trump” to “Drumpf” in the browser.

Finally, a light went on. My son was home from college last weekend, and he knows my top-secret computer passwords. Or at least he used to.