Fake Hillary Clinton book excerpts mock the political campaign tell-all genre

Garance Franke-Ruta
Senior Politics Editor
(Yahoo News photo Illustration; photos: AP, Simon & Schuster)

NEW YORK — In the days before Hillary Clinton’s book “What Happened” hit bookstores, news organizations began to share advance excerpts on Twitter.

So did online jokesters, who would create a small set of fake book excerpts, all formatted to look like iPhone photos of actual pages of a print book and mimic the format of the news organizations’ tweets. There have also been fake and parody audio book excerpts, some of which are sexually explicit and contain profanity.

An online comic author who goes by the brand One Giant Hand kicked things off on Sept. 4 with an advance excerpt from his @PixelatedBoat Twitter account imagining Clinton in dressed in a fake cowboy outfit on an Oklahoma stage decrying “varmints” and cattle “rustlers,” then taking a theatrical bite of a hunk of beef for emphasis, before shooting a rustler in the head to satisfy the blood lust of the crowd and campaign manager Robby Mook’s advice about algorithms.


It’s a parody of a campaign that many saw as trying too hard, as well as of Mook’s data-driven campaign management and the well-worn cliché that Clinton was endlessly tweaking her public persona.

The setup itself is also old: In 2008, then presidential candidate Barack Obama was among the first to mock Clinton as a kind of Annie Oakley. “She is running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsman, how she values the second amendment. She’s talking like she’s Annie Oakley,” he said in April of that year. “Hillary Clinton is out there like she’s on the duck blind every Sunday. She’s packing a six-shooter. Come on, she knows better. That’s some politics being played by Hillary Clinton.”

The Pixelated Boat fake book excerpt was shared more than 13,000 times and gained more than 39,000 likes on Twitter.

Another fake except was released by the satire site Cthulhu for America on Sept. 7. “A new leak from Clinton’s upcoming revenge novel ‘What Happened?’ details how third party candidate Cthulhu contributed to her electoral loss last year. … The book except in question was released online by the Cthulhu campaign this morning,” the site proclaimed while pushing out a fake except that had Clinton conclude, “Those formless beings of chaos must be absolutely sexist.”


And over the weekend, Clinton was portrayed as the hapless Wile E. Coyote to the Democratic Socialists’ Road Runner, her campaign bus slamming into a fake tunnel painted on a rock outside Kalamazoo, in a fake excerpt shared on Twitter.


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