When the news of Pope Benedict XVI’s unexpected, nearly unprecedented resignation broke Monday morning, the Twitter community responded by doing what they do best.
Making lots and lots of jokes.
Once upon a time, laughing at the day’s biggest news stories meant: (a) cracking wise at the office water cooler; (b) waiting for nighttime talk hosts to take professional-grade, writer-scripted comic cuts during their show-opening monologues.
Thanks to Twitter — the popular online service that allows users to post and share messages no longer than 140 characters — the zingers come in real time, and from everywhere all at once. Consider, then, the selection that follows a work in progress.
• From Bloomberg rock critic Mark Beech, @Mark_Beech: “What do you call a Pope who resigns at breakfast time? Ex Benedict”
• From Duke University professor Kieran Healy, @kjhealy: “The Pope is really setting a high bar for giving something up for Lent.”
• From ABC Washington editor Rick Klein, @rickklein: “so popes can leave with just two weeks’ notice? that’s how I quit the Waldbaum’s frozen food department in 1994”
• From Bay Area sportswriter Ray Ratto, @RattoCSN: “Pope’s resignation only serves to create more Bobby Valentine, Bill Parcells and Phil Jackson rumors”
• From U.K. media personality Danny Wallace, @dannywallace: “The vast majority of Popes die while being Pope. It’s bloody dangerous. Good move, Benedict.”
• From anonymous Twitter writer “Sixth Form Poet,” @sixthformpoet: “The Pope is hardly the first person to lose interest in their real job so soon after joining Twitter.”
• From “Modern Seinfeld,” a Twitter account devoted to plot synopses of imaginary “Seinfeld” episodes set in the present day, @SeinfeldToday: “Elaine and Puddy discover that the Pope resigned because of awful tweets from Newman. Kramer trains an Italian Cardinal who wants the job.”
• From National Review writer Jim Gergagthy, @jimgeraghty: “Obama for Pope? I mean, it’s only slightly more outlandish than winning the Nobel Peace Prize after a few weeks in office.”16. From anonymous writer “PourMeCoffee,” @pourmecoffee: “Pope at next job interview. ‘Tell me about your strengths.’ ‘Well, I love working with people. I’m infallible. That could be an asset.’”
• From the humor website SportsPickle, @sportspickle: “Remarkably, the Pope will probably talk less about God during his final weeks on the job than Ray Lewis did during his.”
• From media personality Bomani Jones, @bomani_jones: “many have noted the pope’s resigning before mardi gras. i did that in ‘99. but i asked for my job back when i got home.”
• From Beatles enthusiast website The Beatles Bible, @beatlesbible: “Pope resigns on 50th anniversary of Please Please Me recording. Nice timing. That old Beatles/Jesus popularity contest never ends, does it?”
• From Comedy Central’s “Indecision” account, @indecision: “The Pope saw fun. win a Grammy last night and realized there is no God.”
• From Daily Download managing editor Ben Jacobs, @bencjacobs: “Has Nate Silver predicted the next Pope already?”
• From political prognosticator Nate Silver, @fivethirtyeight: “No pope has resigned since 1415, which is also the last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning record.”
• From Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce, @mattdpearce: “I learned about the pope’s abdication from pope jokes on Twitter. Just as God intended.”