The Washington Post

Tweet of the Week, Vol. 10

In which I highlight tweets from around the area and analyze why they’re important relevant

While details and accusations came to light Monday about the relationship between D.C. Mayor Vincent C.  Gray (D) and Jeffrey Thompson, the man who pleaded guilty to funding a shadow campaign for the mayor in 2010, one in particular stuck out: In order to keep the details of their relationship secret, they used an alias to keep Thompson’s identity secret.

At the time, Thompson, who had previously backed then-Mayor Adrian Fenty, was also contributing to both  campaigns. Out of what Gray called “fear of retribution,” he decided to go the time honored route of coming up with a terrible disguise. And while the name “Uncle Earl” might not stick in the pantheon of famous D.C. political catchphrases, it’s definitely funny.

So much so, that someone decided (as you do these days) to create a parody Twitter account. In the selection above, this is actually a tweet between two parody accounts, to show you how far this goofy trend has come in D.C. politics. The following conversation is one I had yesterday with the person who is behind the @UncleEarlDC handle. It was one part behind the curtain, then suddenly switched to in character, with a little armchair moralizing to boot.

I’m fairly certainly I know exactly who the person behind this account is, even though he chose to not reveal his identify for this interview. After reading, you’ll probably be able to guess, too.

Me: So, who are you, relatively speaking and are you a D.C. politics enthusiast?
jeff.imeanuncleearl: Young guy. activist at heart; politico for reason.
jeff.imeanuncleearl: I understand politics, in america, is one of the most effective ways to impact systemic change.
i’ve worked on political campaigns

me: Gotcha. So when you first heard the name “Uncle Earl,” in regards to the Jeffrey Thompson case, what did you think?
jeff.imeanuncleearl: i thought “illuminati”
jeff.imeanuncleearl: some people, behind the scenes, impacting everyone – not mystical, da vinci code “illuminati”.

me: So, what compelled you to start the account? Comedy? Because it’s pretty funny so far
jeff.imeanuncleearl: satire
jeff.imeanuncleearl: awareness
jeff.imeanuncleearl: and making me real. i am real. uncle earl, isn’t a fake person. i am a person. i am thompson. and i have impacted people’s lives – for the worse, by impairing democracy. people need to appreciate that.
and have created a social injustice.

me: Do you live in D.C.?
jeff.imeanuncleearl: i live where i’m needed.

me: Ha, okay. You know, my dad’s name is Earl, and he has many nieces and nephews, so when I first heard this moniker, it was a little awkward. Because you’re obviously not him. At least I don’t think so
jeff.imeanuncleearl: lmao. we’re both great men. you’re not too bad yourself.

me: Thanks, I’ll pass that along. So, what’s next for Uncle Earl?
jeff.imeanuncleearl: i’m not going anywhere, unless people make a “thing” of it. that is to say, unless people don’t become aware of politics, LOCAL politics. another “uncle” will spawn. as for my twitter, yeah, not going anywhere.
Sent at 5:20 PM on Monday
jeff.imeanuncleearl: i will say, however, another “uncle” will be hard to find, i think, if Tommy Wells becomes mayor.

me: No love for Tommy? I guess he’s too clean for your blood
jeff.imeanuncleearl: why? clean!?

me: Well, he constantly talks about how your money is no good to him. And others of your ilk (Wells is the only current council member to have never taken campaign contributions from Thompson)
jeff.imeanuncleearl: am i supposed to applaud him for his piety? Self-righteousness? This is DC

me: Fair enough. So, last question. Who are you voting for in the primary?
jeff.imeanuncleearl: he doesn’t know how to play the game. I’ve got no time for that [expletive]. I’m moving and shaking. Re: your last question: they can all kiss my [expletive].

me: Very well. This ought to be an interesting summer for you. Have a good one
jeff.imeanuncleearl: Be good, clinton.

me: I try
jeff.imeanuncleearl: I’ll see you around.

Also, I discussed this somewhat ridiculous scenario on the radio this morning.

Clinton Yates is a D.C. native and an online columnist. When he's not covering the city, pop culture or listening to music, he watches sports. A lot of them.



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