The State Department Is Spring Breaking, Badly

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

You know how sometimes, little kids will make up really bad jokes that don’t make sense? Ones where the punchline is just something like the word “butts” yelled really loudly? And then they’re so delighted with said joke that they’ll tell it roughly a zillion times in a row, repeating “butts!” to anyone who will listen and then just dissolving into satisfied giggles at their own cleverness and everyone else is just like, Ugh, please don’t do that anymore?

Well. This is kind of like that. Except instead of a joke, it’s a Twitter hashtag. And instead of a little kid, it’s the U.S. Department of State, which recently started using the tag #springbreakingbadly on outlandish travel warnings with something that feels a little bit like glee.

To be fair, both of these situations would make for a not-so-great spring break, if not a nightmarish fever dream starring James Franco. The one that whipped the Internet into a frenzy, though, was this:

Some questions: Has the State Department’s social media team started spring break early? Has the State Department indulged in a few too many expensive drinks? Is the State Department … negging spring break travelers?

Whoever runs the account attempted to swat away users’ accusations of sexist language, tweeting, “We made no mention of gender. This can happen to anyone, unfortunately.” A later tweet apologized, sort of. And then, last night, the offending tweet was deleted. But there’s one lingering question that still hasn’t been answered:

Oh. Go right ahead, then. In the immortal words of James Franco, spring break forever, y’all.