Last week’s headlines were full of bovine references. I’m not talking about the usual bull: This was all about a fake cow with hundreds of thousands of (presumably) real Twitter followers—a cowfluencer, you might say—that’s being sued by a sitting U.S. congressman.
The cow in question (1,200 followers on March 18, 634,000 followers on March 24):
The congressman (404,000 followers):
Yes, Devin Nunes of California’s Central Valley, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, is suing Twitter over a parody account that tweets hashtags like #TheMooovement and #ProtectTheHerd and mocks the “udderly worthless” congressman, who owns a dairy farm not in his home county, as he often boasts, but in far-off Iowa. Nunes is also suing a parody account called Devin Nunes’ Mom and a couple of non-anonymous accounts, all of which he claims “repeatedly tweeted and retweeted abusive and hateful content” about him. He’s asking for $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages. Because Nunes is a public figure, the suits have little chance of succeeding, but they’ll keep a herd of lawyers busy for a while.
Headline writers had a field day—or was it a pasture day?—with cow-related headlines: “How Now, Defamatory Cow?”, “Jimmy Kimmel Milks Devin Nunes’ Cow for Late-Night Comedy,” “Devin Nunes Is Having a Cow.” (More about “how now” and “have a cow” in a bit.) At a “release the Trump-Russia report” demonstration in Washington Saturday evening, some people in the crowd wore cow costumes.
Outside the White House tonight: pic.twitter.com/h6i5oq1PIe— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) March 23, 2019
But enough about current events. My own interest is in the little word at the center of the beef: cow.