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A writer imagined a scene from 'The West Wing' the day Trump caught COVID—and she nailed it

The day after the 2016 election, I started rewatching The West Wing on Netflix. I guess I wanted to keep a sane, if somewhat idealized, version of the presidency and the White House within my vision. Martin Sheen as the down-to-earth yet dignified and devout President Jed Bartlett has comforted me since the series first aired, and the cast of characters serving in his cabinet almost feel like familiar old friends.

So when a friend shared a fanfic-style 2020 West Wing scene, I was intrigued. By the time I finished it, I was highly impressed and thoroughly delighted.

Los Angeles-based TV writer Jelena Woehr posted the script in a Twitter thread last week, the day Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19. The scene opens with former President Bartlett obviously just reading the news of the diagnosis and telling his wife Abby about it. The phone conversations that ensue are remarkably true to the show's writing and characters—like, you can actually hear their voices as you read it. Woehr nails the show so thoroughly it's almost spooky.


Here's Woehr's whole WW2020 thread, shared directly as written. Enjoy.

JED BARTLETT: *peering at news* Abby, did you see this?

ABBY: don't get your blood pressure up. it's not your concern anymore.

JED: well, of course it is. can't a man be interested in current events?

ABBY: just tell me you won't call--

JED: get Toby on the phone, will you?

TOBY: yes, sir, I've heard.

JED: do you think he's faking it?

TOBY: no, sir, I don't. I don't think his ego would allow it.

JED: should I make a statement?

TOBY: what kind of statement, sir?

JED: I don't know. "I told you so?"

TOBY: no, I don't think you should say that.

JED: have you talked to C.J.?

TOBY: I called, but she was dancing barefoot on the lawn under the full moon. she hung up on me.

JED: *snort* WOMEN.

ABBY: *clears throat*

JED: what I meant to say was, have you spoken to Sam?

TOBY: on the other line, sir. I'll merge the calls.

SAM: good evening, sir. how are you feeling?

JED: I'm married to a doctor. I'm feeling nostalgic for the outdoors.

TOBY: the president thinks he should make a statement.

SAM: don't say "I told you so."

JED: I wasn't going to.

TOBY: *cough*

JED: I might have considered it.

TOBY: sir, CJ's calling. should I merge her in?

JED: yes, for god's sake.

CJ: (out of breath) good evening, sir.

JED: I heard you were dancing.

CJ: a little bit, sir.

JED: did you do the jackal?

CJ: It's the WAP now, sir.

JED: I hope the P stands for "Pope."

CJ: no, sir

JED: CJ, don't you think it's somewhat unseemly to dance when a man has contracted a dangerous virus?

CJ: can the First Lady hear me?

ABBY: I'm here.

CJ: Mrs. Bartlett, do you have some sort of music-playing device with you? I want you to look up an artist named Megan--

SAM: Abby, don't do what she's telling you to do.

ABBY: that's Dr. Bartlett. I'm looking, CJ.

JED: I believe we were talking about me.

TOBY: yes, sir. a statement. I still think it's a bad idea.

SAM: there's nothing to say that won't sound vindictive or false.

JED: what if I'm feeling vindictive?

TOBY: then that's all the more reason not to say anything.

JED: god, you lily-livered intellectual elites pain me sometimes.

TOBY: sir, you're a Nobel laureate.

JED: get Ainsley on the phone.

CJ: you know who she works for now, right?

AINSLEY: good evening, Mr. President. I imagine you're calling to gloat?

JED: you have a vivid imagination.

TOBY: he's calling for advice. he thinks he should make a statement.

AINSLEY: sir, I work for the Lincoln Project. I don't think it's right I advise you.

SAM: I do.

TOBY: you do?

SAM: sure. we're on the same team on this one.

AINSLEY: your making a statement might benefit us, and not you.

JED: what benefit am I worried about? I'm retired.

ABBY: your legacy.

JED: is secure.

ABBY: your children.

JED: are rich, grown, and happy.

SAM: he's thinking of saying "I told you so."

JED: it was just a first draft. Toby will write the real thing.

AINSLEY: you shouldn't appear vindictive.

SAM: that's what I said.

AINSLEY: something statesmanlike.

JED: I've been statesmanlike this whole time. I wore a mask.

ABBY: I made you wear a mask.

JED: Dr. Bartlett made me wear a mask. and in statesmanlike fashion, I obeyed my wife.

CJ: where are you planning to place this statement?

JED: I don't know. I hear Chuck Grassley found a messenger pigeon.

TOBY: the pigeon was dead, sir.

JED: oh. well I suppose it's not very good at its job, then.

TOBY: about as good as the postal service these days, sir.

JED: where would you suggest placing the statement, CJ?

CJ: I could give it to Danny.

JED: isn't he retired?

CJ: semi-retired. he freelances.

JED: Danny, then. all right. we can give it to Danny. Ainsley, what should I say?

AINSLEY: should I bring George in on this?

JED: Conway? no. he's a nincompoop. blows this way and that with the wind.

TOBY: well said, sir.

JED: I want your opinion, Ainsley, not your bosses'.

AINSLEY: well, I think you should say that although you disagree on many things, you know what it's like to experience an illness in office.

JED: that's soft. you don't want me to be soft on the guy.

SAM: it's smart, sir. never interrupt your opponent when he's losing votes.

TOBY: he's not our opponent. we don't have an opponent. if we had an opponent, Josh would be on this call!

JED: good point. Toby, get Josh on the call.

CJ: sir, Josh is--

JED: In Portland, yes. they have phones in anarchist jurisdictions, right?

TOBY: he's in jail, sir.

JED: an actual jail?

TOBY: as opposed to what kind?

JED: I don't know. some sort of mock U.N. thing, for kids.

AINSLEY: please don't put anything about mock jails in the statement, Mr. President.

SAM: why didn't Josh call me? I should be his phone call.

TOBY: he called me.

SAM: I'm his attorney!

TOBY: well, maybe he doesn't want to get out of jail just yet.

JED: I can't still pardon him, can I?

TOBY: no, sir.

JED: God, I miss it sometimes.

CJ: the presidency, sir?

JED: just the part where I could tell all of you to shut up and make it stick.

JOSH: good evening, sir.

JED: I thought you were in jail.

JOSH: I am in jail, sir. what can I do for you?

CJ: while Toby and Sam were busy arguing about who Josh should have called, I called the jail and asked for Josh.

JED: Josh, should I make a statement or not?

JOSH: you should make one rip-roaring hell of a statement.

JED: should I say "I told you so?"

JOSH: did you tell him so?

JED: I tried. he wouldn't return my calls.

JOSH: then no, that's lying.

JED: and you're going to tell me I only get to do that while in office, I suppose.

CJ: what if you just send your well-wishes to the youngest one?

JED: the tall one?

CJ: is that a dig at me?

TOBY: he really is quite tall.

AINSLEY: he's a child, sir. don't bring him in.

JOSH: well-wishes are "bringing him in?"

AINSLEY: in a statement to the press? yes.

JED: I suppose you're right. I won't wish him well. in fact, I'll wish him nothing at all.

TOBY: you could say you're feeling fortunate to have been well-advised while in office by health experts, including the First Lady.

JOSH: that'll just bring up M.S. comparisons.

SAM: how about you don't say anything about him at all?

TOBY: make it about the American people.

SAM: in a time of crisis—

CJ: *snorts* it's not a crisis, it's the first good news this year.

SAM: in a time of great uncertainty...

TOBY: a time of yearning for stability...

SAM: ...a time when America, stuck in a beleaguered present, longs for a mythical past and a promised future...

TOBY: ...it is clearer now than ever that today's challenges shape tomorrow's opportunities.

SAM: ...as a nation, we grieve deeply together, and we rise together.

TOBY: and—bear with me, sir—today's unprecedented trials remind me that America has yet to keep her founding promises to her citizens.

SAM: liberty. equality. prosperity. for too many American families, these ideals remain out of reach.

TOBY: my time to lead has passed.

SAM: today, I am proud to follow a new generation—a rising force that fights for what it believes in.

JOSH: hey. still in jail for fighting for what I believe in over here.

ABBY: maybe you're an honorary youth?

TOBY: we're riffing. please don't interrupt when we're riffing.

ABBY: that's "please don't interrupt, DR. Bartlett."

TOBY: yes, ma'am.

JED: say something about my children. Zoe's doing such great work at that awful socialist rag.

SAM: I am inspired most of all by my daughters, fearless in their devotion to their values and their nation.

TOBY: my time in the oval office affords me a unique vantage point from which to observe today's trials and tribulations.

SAM: and what I've observed most keenly is the unquenchable spirit of human kindness.

TOBY: presidents don't save lives. nurses and teachers do.

SAM: so when you ask me if I think the country can survive this current crisis?

TOBY: I think a country is not so much defined by those with the most power, but by those with the least.

SAM: the real business of America takes place not in the Oval Office, but in classrooms.

TOBY: and on street corners, where too many Americans, too many veterans, sleep at night.

SAM: and in the streets, where our youth are proud to march together and call for change.

TOBY: I know my successor in the White House will receive the best medical care in the world.

SAM: I only hope that—with the leadership of more citizens, and fewer politicians—there will come a day when I can say the same of every single mother, every newborn child, and every senior citizen.

TOBY: add a God Bless America, and you're done.

JED: CJ, did you get all that?

CJ: huh?

ABBY: you really should see this video CJ is showing me. it's really something. you say *you* did that dance?

CJ: well, not quite like they do it.

JED: please tell me someone wrote all that down.

AINSLEY: I did, sir. on tape.

JED: of course. the republican.

JOSH: you can't record this. you're in a two-party state.

AINSLEY: relax, I'm joking. I just took notes. I'll type them up for you.

JED: should I add something in about voting?

CJ: sir, if anyone hasn't decided whether or not to vote by this time, you won't sway them.

JED: so that's it. that's the statement. no well-wishes, but no I-told-you-so.

TOBY: that's the statement.

JED: Zoe will ask why I didn't give it to her.

CJ: you can't give Jacobin an exclusive, sir.

JED: well why the hell not?

CJ: because I already texted Danny.

JED: fine. we'll give it to Danny. but if there's any followup, Zoe gets it.

JOSH: you just called her publication a "socialist rag."

JED: and? she may be redder than a baboon's behind, but she's my daughter.

ABBY: Jed!

AINSLEY: it's okay, Ma'am. Presidents are coarse now.

JED: see? even the republican is on my side.

AINSLEY: we have very few decent sides to be on these days, sir.

JED: give that nutter Conway my regards. and trip his wife down the stairs for me, will you?

TOBY: you'll send CJ the final language?

AINSLEY: already did.

JED: excellent. now, if there's nothing else to do, I'm going back to bed.

SAM: sir, Josh is still in jail.

JED: call a nurse or a teacher to get him out. politicians and intellectuals are passé.

ABBY: wait! CJ, don't hang up. I need to know how to get one of these leotards.

CJ: planning to learn the WAP, ma'am?

JED: good-NIGHT everyone. *hangs up phone*

ABBY: I wasn't done!

JED: you don't secretly hate Christmas or anything, do you?

ABBY: You know I love Christmas.

JED: Let's go upstairs, Dr. Bartlett.

ABBY: Lead the way, Mr. President.

I feel like we need a "The End" here.

Seriously, though, wasn't that remarkable and delightful? Woehr has gotten a lot of well-deserved attention and praise for the imaginary reboot and says she's planning more for people who loved the thread. (Also, here's her LinkedIn profile because somebody in television seriously needs to hire her.)

Thanks for bringing a bit of The West Wing into the craziest part of 2020, Jelena! It's the levity and inspiration we didn't know we needed.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


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As the saying goes, "You have to kiss a few frogs..."

Dating has certainly evolved over the years—we’ve gone from courtship being purely a financial arrangement (not that this trend has ever truly died) to knights jousting for a lady’s favor, to casual hookups … and now, romance is primarily found through an app more than anything else.

Technology used for meeting that special someone has become so advanced that you can base your search entirely upon specific interests. Like … oddly specific interests. Think a fellow cat person would be the purrfect match? There’s an app for that. Wish to “love long and prosper” with a fellow Trekkie? There’s an app for that too.

No matter the changes, one thing remains the same—dating is awkward. It’s got all the unspoken formalities of a job interview, disguised as innocent fun. The balance between playing it too cool and too eager is hard to find even for the smoothest among us, and usually results in total embarrassment. Even if we aren’t the ones committing those embarrassing acts ourselves, we are often the reluctant witness to them.

Terrible dates might not always be fun in the moment, but they can be just as important as the good ones. They can teach us a lot about ourselves and what qualities we want in a partner. And at the very least, they can teach us to embrace social clumsiness with a sense of humor.

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share a “funny or embarrassing first date story” for his ever popular #Hashtags segment. The best part—some of these awful first dates ended in marriage. There’s hope for us all.

Below, find 15 stories that are truly the best of the worst. How do some of your first dates compare?

1. "After a nice dinner, she invited me to her house. On the way up, inside the elevator, I decided to push the button to stop between floors and give her a kiss... She had a phobia of closed spaces and she smacked my face as a reflex, two punches after we were kissing and laughing.” – @PanqueAlgarvio

2. “His jeans were so tight he couldn’t sit down. Stood at a bar stool the whole time.” – @onlyintheozarks

3. “Waiting 4 my date when an older couple asked me for a ride. my date came up and said sure! We drove them home & they asked us to come in. Date said “sure”. I pulled him back & asked why he wanted to hang w/strangers. He said ‘sh@t! YOU DON'T KNOW THEM!?’ We bolted!” – @natashaham75

facebook dating

Talk about a fashion faux pas.

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4. “Before the date, we had been chatting about books we liked and I talked about a great book I just read. We went on the date. I loaned her the book. She ghosted me.” – @thenextbarstool

5. “The worst first date I ever had was when my date locked his keys in the car and I had a curfew so he had to break his car window out to get me home on time. Didn’t think I’d ever see him again but we wound up married.” – @csleblan

6. “First date movie ‘Basic Instinct’ not realizing how suggestive it was. We just thought it was a mystery thriller! We left the movie discussing how each character could have actually murdered someone. We're married now.” – @Southrnbell_Amy

black people meet

There are worse first date movies tbh.

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7. “First date with my ex husband was a double date with his parents. The preview for ‘Speed Racer’ came on, and she leaned over me to say to her son, ‘You know what your dad's nickname in the bedroom is?’" – @theostoria

8. “A friend asked me on a double date as a blind date with his date's friend. I went to the bathroom and came back just in time to hear my date say to her friend, ‘why do I get the ugly one?’ I said good night to all three and headed home, leaving her w/the bill.” – @StevenTrustum

9. “He loved cheese. I was subjected to a 2 hour conversation/lecture about cheese, and why cottage cheese is not cheese!” – @Optimist_Eeyore

bumble

I'd like to see this two-hour cheese lecture.

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10. “He took me to an Asian fish market. We walked around looking at live & dead fish for a while. I don’t like seeing dead animals & I don’t eat seafood. Then we sat on a curb & he pulled out a ziplock bag of pineapple for us to share. I don’t like pineapple.” – @markayhali

11. “My cousin set up a first date for me with a family friend. During a break from dinner, Mr. Man follows me into the ladies’ room, comes up close and says in a low voice, ‘I shave my butt.’ Can’t remember what I said in response but the evening ended abruptly.” – @carli_zarzana

12. “I once took out my high school crush to a sports bar and ordered the spiciest wings there in an attempt to impress her. Not only was she not impressed. The next morning I woke up with heartburn.” –@Dmonster38

tindr conversation starters

Talk about a hot date.

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13. “My date showed up with his bestie and girlfriend, and they talked through dinner about people I don’t know. Walking to the car, he gave me a wedgie because he thought he hadn’t been paying enough attention to me.” – @surrealDazey


14. “I was taking my date home and was pulled over by the police for speeding. When the cop came to my car, she jumped out and told him she had to get home. She walked home and I never heard from her again. I'm not sure who's #WorstFirstDate it was mine or hers!” – @eastriverbear

15. “After an evening of dancing with a first date, leaving the dance hall, I had to take a quick pee break. Rushing out to the parking lot, I see a lady, I grab her and swoop her around, and plant a big wet kiss on the lips. She was another guy's wife. Oops!” – @seadogskamore

date you

Only Gomez could have gotten away with it.

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