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An abridged history of the Hot Take

The internet is full of terrible opinions, but how did we get here?

Practitioners of a time-honored tradition.
Practitioners of a time-honored tradition.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

3300 BCE

The Bronze Age dawns. Critics of the movement call bronze "literally soft," "a fad," "overrated." Said critics are later found stabbed to death by bronze weapons, their stone tools smashed to bits around them.

45 BCE

Despite protestations from Brutus, Caesar only suspends senator Gaius Publius for two sessions at the forum following his role in an nasty incident at a bathhouse. Reporters at the Acta Diurna, Rome's leading paper of the day, praise Caesar's wisdom as sound and his methods as just. Caesar's relationship with Brutus, however, never recovers.


Millions across Europe begin dying of the plague. Two doctors wearing bird-beak masks stage a public debate to settle once and for all the appropriate response to the impending annihilation of the human species. The doctor who speaks first suggests that all citizens swear off bathing and begin storing the dead bodies in the drinking water. He is hailed as a genius by the masses, and the other doctor is drawn and quartered for good measure.


Malleus Malifecarum, "The Witches' Hammer," is published in Germany. In a move that seems to predict the rise of the comment section, the treatise provides detailed instructions for insecure men to rid themselves of the troublesomely intelligent, outspoken women in their communities. Burnings commence across Europe and find a rebirth in the American colonies a century later. Men everywhere do nothing to stop the burnings, but in their defense, they do publish a number of pamphlets saying that they personally have never burned a witch.


Tory newspapers and pamphlets rile their Loyalist readership into a frenzy by publishing the accusation that the Separatist leaders have intentionally caused the inflation of British currency. The noble patriots in question deflate everything in sight, just to prove a point.


Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright abandon their Dayton bicycle shop and head to Kitty Hawk, NC to attempt to fly the world's first airplane. "Hoooooey," says local yokel Clem Bonny, "those boys ain't got a snowball's chance in heck of makin' that work. Now, they got some fine wind in the Midwest, don't get me wrong, but have they been to the South before? Have they seen how fast the wind blows down here?"


Calvin "Silent Cal" Coolidge is elected to the highest office in the land. A reporter famously bets Coolidge that he can get him to say more than four words, to which Coolidge replies, "Thank you for asking." Newspapermen everywhere are so enraged by this slight that they sweat right through the starch on their shirt collars. Calls for Coolidge's public flogging and execution go out on the radio, mothers everywhere clutch pearls at such disrespectful behavior, and the speakeasies are all atwitter with the belief that Coolidge would probably be a coal-shoveler on a railroad if he hadn't gotten into Amherst College.


A panelist on the Disney Channel's popular debate segment, "Around the Belle," publishes a post on his Myspace page accusing Suite Life star Cole Sprouse of "not being Zack enough." The Zack community (with vocal support from the Zach community) is incensed by the perceived slight by the panelist, whose name is also Zack.