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The FBI, IRS and Other Cringe-Makers Trying To Reach Gen Z on Social Media

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No. (Images via FBI / TSA Instagram)

You know that feeling you get every time a Fox News presenter uses the word “woke”? That full-body cringe? You probably also experience it every time your dad says “on fleek” or your aunt talks about getting a “glow up.” And I’m fairly certain everyone who watched the Ticketmaster Senate hearing last January knows exactly what I’m talking about. (Thanks for all the forced Taylor Swift references, politicians!)

It’s become virtually impossible to avoid these kinds of pandering pop culture references and cringeworthy puns, even in what should be the dullest corners of the internet. There have lately been some major offenders! Let us now collectively point in their direction and judge them.

The FBI Wants You to ‘Speak Now’

Let’s take a moment to think this one through, because honestly, it boggles the mind on multiple levels.

Three days after Taylor Swift released her much-hyped Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) album, someone at the actual Federal Bureau of Investigation noticed, had an incredibly misguided ‘ah-ha’ moment, then came up with … this.


Because, sure, one of the best ways to get federal crime tips is to wink at a bunch of Taylor Swift fans on Twitter and expect them to immediately spill the many felony-related secrets they’ve been harboring.

Snitching: Apparently just one well-placed “Better Than Revenge” reference away!

H&R Block Goes to ‘Taxchella’

Remember that nerdy kid from math club who decided one summer they were going to be cool next year? So they showed up Sophomore year wearing a brand new, stiff-as-all-get-out leather jacket over their regular nerd clothes, and thought that would do the trick? This H&R Block tweet reminds me of that kid.

I think we can all agree that Portugal, the Tax Pro is a real low point here.

Velveeta Gets in on the Stupid Coachella Thing

Say what you want about H&R Block’s abomination, but at least it was timed to coincide with the first day of Coachella. Velveeta (you heard me) waited two full months to hit the internet with this — a fake festival lineup full of dairy puns that uses the word “drip” repeatedly and still expects us to want to eat cheese afterwards.

Really, Velveeta social media person? You’re just gonna go ahead and leave Cheesy XCX sitting there right above Cheesy XX? For shame.

The State of New Jersey Knows a Song

The scene: An over-decorated corner of an office block in Trenton, NJ. Two social media employees smile at each other, fresh from Photoshopping the state of New Jersey onto a picture of Baby Yoda.

Susan: Man. We are killing it, bro.
Dave: I know, dude. What’s next?
Susan: I mean… I’ve got this GIF of a pier at sunset?
Dave: Should we Photoshop Baby Yoda onto it?
Susan: Hold my Snapple, friend, because I’ve got an even better idea.
Dave: Is the idea just “Lizzo”?
Susan: Yes!
Dave: Isn’t she from Detroit though?
Susan: Yeah, but… That’s close enough though, right?
Dave: Totally, dude. Still a genius idea. Just make sure you do the text in lowercase like The Kids do it.
Susan: Done!
Dave and Susan: *high five*

“How Deep is the Ocean?” by Frank Sinatra — who actually is from New Jersey — was right there, Susan. Right friggin’ there.

The IRS Wants You to Think It Gets Nintendo

Someone at the IRS thinks that if you need a six-month extension on filing your taxes, you’re probably a Super Mario Bros. fan. (Gamers, amiright?)

Check out these killer and not at all boxy graphics!

“No fire will come your way”? Really, IRS? This is not as seamless as you think it was.

New York City’s Conflicts of Interest Board Has a Full-Blown Meltdown

Not gonna lie, I did have to look up what the New York Conflicts of Interest Board does exactly. If you also don’t know — and to put it as briefly as possible — it’s a government agency that “seeks to prevent ethics questions from becoming ethics problems for public servants.”

Less easy to understand is why on God’s green Earth these tweets happened:

What just happened? I mean… What. Just. Happened?

United Tries to Do a ‘Barbie’ Something

Thanks, United. This makes no sense. No sense at all.

The laziness is brazen.

The TSA Turns ‘Barbie’ Into a Slasher Movie

What is it with air travel-related accounts and Greta Gerwig’s friggin’ Barbie movie?

Not to be outdone by United, someone at the TSA took it upon themselves to transform an amusing, tongue-in-cheek Barbie publicity image into a Cronenberg-ian nightmare that:

  1. Extracts any and all semblance of humor from the image
  2. Severs Barbie’s legs from her torso (!)
  3. Jams Barbie’s body full of knives (!!)
  4. Punishes anyone foolish enough to keep looking at this with a list of godawful puns

This feels like an HR violation.

Parks and … what the heck?

New York City’s Parks Department is prone to leaning into hip-hop culture, posting recent clips of rappers Sean Combs, Fat Joe and Jim Jones. One still has to wonder what its social media team was trying to say when it posted this clip from 1991’s New Jack City:

Perhaps “Come hang out at our New York City playgrounds where guns are plentiful, men are intimidating and women wear terrible hats?” Slow clap, Parks and Rec department. Slow clap.

Product Safety Folks Do … Whatever This is

If you are a dull entity insisting on making pop culture references in your social media posts, the least you can do is reference things that normal people understand.

Let us ponder the wonder contained in this U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission post:

I tried hard to understand what the bejesus was going on here and, beyond the obvious laser cat meme, all I managed to figure out is “Should have sent a poet” is a quote from (*checks notes*) the 1997 Jodie Foster alien movie Contact. (Way to keep it current, guys!) Who Franklin and Dr. Jackson are remains a mystery that not even Google can solve.


Good luck out there.

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