On Friday morning, the time of the week at which my brain is its most broken, I came across what I identified as content gold: A wild and almost unbelievable story about Carly Rae Jepsen watching Seal, as in the world-famous British singer, eat an entire loaf of plain gluten-free bread on a plane. Incredible, I thought, genuinely excited to share the link with my colleagues. As I expected, my co-workers jumped to label the story as absurd. But what I did not anticipate is that they would interpret the story to be about an actual seal — and not just one or two staffers, but the majority.
CRJ first opened up about this anecdote yesterday on Beats 1 radio, where she claimed that while on a private jet with Michael Bolton and Seal, the latter “ate an entire loaf of bread one slice at a time.” Going into detail about his eating method, she said he “opened the bread, he removed a piece, he closed the bread, he ate the whole piece, nothing on it … and then did it all over again.” Nice.
As someone familiar with most major celebrities and the jam “Kiss From a Rose,” I instantly knew this story was about the singer. But apparently, at least at the Cut, I was alone. (It is unclear how many staffers actually clicked the link.)
One of the first to admit her mistake was senior writer Katie Heaney, who bravely pronounced in Slack, “This whole time I thought we were talking about a seal.”
“When I first noticed my colleagues talking about CRJ watching a seal eat a loaf of bread I was like, ‘huh?’” she told me. Upon learning that she had misinterpreted the story, she labeled it “more diabolical than the original version I imagined.”
Staff writer Madeleine Aggeler too was confused, telling me, “I did wonder why Carly seemed so confused as to why the animal ate the bread ‘plain’ — seals don’t seem overly concerned with toppings to me.”
Apparently, this misinterpretation phenomenon is not unique to the Cut. Before we even discussed the story, writer-at-large Kelly Conaboy says someone relayed the story to her yesterday as if it were about an actual seal, which she thought was weird but not all that unbelievable.
“I heard the seal story secondhand yesterday and it was told to me as if it were a seal, which seemed unfortunate for the seal but not out of the question,” she said. “It’s frankly a relief to learn that it was the man Seal, however the fact that Carly Rae just watched him eat bread is newly weird.”
And even now that they’ve learned of their mistake, a number of Cut staffers have chosen to believe the fake version of the story, with some crafting their own elaborate narrative.
“I’m choosing to live inside this version of the seal story, because it’s the better version,” writer Claire Lampen told me. “It immediately raises context questions. Where did Carly Rae Jepsen encounter a lone seal confronted with multiple bags of bread? How did said seal open and close the bags, when seals have fins ill-equipped to finesse thin and slippery plastic?”
In conclusion … it is time for all of us to log off.