Twitter has a feature where it will show you tweets that it thinks you’ll want to see based on interactions from people you already follow. Often, this turns up a lot of junk. But this weekend, Twitter got it right and alerted me that R.L. Stine, the 74-year-old author of the beloved Goosebumps series, had tweeted, without preface or explanation, “Shakira, Shakira!” As in the line sung by Wyclef Jean in the intro to 2005 classic “Hips Don’t Lie.” I have not stopped thinking about this tweet since. Is Stine a die-hard Shakira stan? Is his one good party trick that he also remembers every word to the bridge rap? Why did he have Shakira on the brain this particular July weekend? So, reader, I called him and I asked.
Hi! Thanks for chatting with me. I laughed very hard at the Shakira tweet and found myself absolutely needing to know everything about it.
Oh, this won’t take long. I don’t have many answers for you. It’s obviously a momentary lapse in sanity.
Ah, yes, a basic principle of Twitter.
I guess so. I spend so much time trying to be clever and so much time trying to write funny tweets, and this is what gets 30,000 likes? It just makes no sense at all.
So what inspired you to tweet ‘Shakira, Shakira!’ this weekend?
I honestly don’t know. I did it a year ago and it was the biggest tweet I’d ever had from all my tweets. Somehow I remembered it, the song popped into my head … so I did it again.
Do you have significantly more followers now than you did a year ago? Because that tweet only got a few hundred retweets and this iteration has 12,000 and counting.
I do, not that many more, though. I have 236,000 followers.
Would it be safe to say that you’ve been surprised by the reaction this time around?
Surprised? Are you kidding? What kind of world are we living in? I do love that video, I have to say.
The “Hips Don’t Lie” video?
Yeah, I’ve watched it many times. But come on … all this for a little two-word tweet? A while ago I tweeted “Everybody Wang Chung tonight” and it didn’t go over as well. I don’t know why. I should probably try that one again, shouldn’t I?
You might have tapped into something there. Would you describe yourself as a Shakira fan?
Well, I’m a fan of that video. And I have listened to the newest album. So I guess I am a Shakira fan. I listened to the entire album.
Have you seen the movie Zootopia?
Zootopia? The one with the bunny rabbits?
That’s the one. Shakira plays a gazelle pop star named Gazelle. Her one song is very catchy.
I did see that, yes. I think she’s good.
I wonder if she’s seen your tweets.
Well, if she has, I haven’t heard from her.
Back in 2010, you tweeted in search of the song of summer and listed Shakira’s “Waka Waka” among your contenders. What do you think is the song of summer for 2018?
I’ve been listening to “Havana” a lot.
Editor’s note: Interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.