When Wendi Deng shock-slapped husband Rupert Murdoch's pie-throwing assailant with superlative speed on Tuesday, the media reaction was almost as swift and fierce as the woman herself. "Who is this mystery woman?" the internet seemed to cry out. Deng became an instant Twitter sensation, and the subject of subsequent profiles published in England's most prominent papers, from The Guardian
, The Telegraph
and The Daily Mail
. Some even attributed the 5 percent spike in News of the World
shares to Mrs. Murdoch's unintentional comedy. All in good fun, right? But while the media delights in the slapstick entertainment of it all -- from #piegate hash tags and Tiger Mother memes to animated gifs
and slo-mo reels -- a darker shade colors much of the commentary. In a day and age where Twitter commentators are as influential to public opinion as major news outlets, the sentiment runs the gamut from shock and awe to thinly-veiled racism and xenophobia not seen in New York media since Amy Chua published her "Tiger Mother" excerpt in the Wall Street Journal
. Moments after the incident, the Wikipedia entry
on Wendi Deng was updated to: "Wendi used her ninja background to ward off an attacker during her husband's questioning... The move is now being referred to as the Crouching Wendi, Hidden Dragon."
News anchor Katie Couric tweeted
: "Wow wendy murdoch giving whole new meaning to the term tiger mother...insanity!."
Later the same day, internet rag The Awl published the article "Wendi Deng's Five Best Enraged Expressions
." Those livid expressions? Screengrabs of Wendi sitting at the Parliamentary hearing simply being... herself. And today, The Daily Mail
ran an article with the headline
: "How Rupert's tiger wife clawed her way up... and caught her billionaire." ...