I just quit using the micro-blogging application known as twitter. I was an early adopter of twitter but did not get it at first. The notion of "following" someone seemed decidedly odd to me. Was a follow tantamount to stalking them? And besides the very concept of following someone seemed weak somehow. I wanted to make my own way in the world. Neither did I want anyone following me. Though now I'd like you to follow me below the fancy quasi-infinity squiggle.
People following me on twitter? Why would I want that? Why would they want to do that? I head-boogie to Attention Deficit Disorder so following me could result in intellectual motion sickness. Besides I have very little to say that could be regarded as profound and even less so in 140 characters.
At last I found a use for twitter that connected with a TV program I watch daily, namely; C-SPAN's Washington Journal program. The WJ features pols pundits and reporters discussing issues and sponsors a twitter feed @cspanwj. Several times a segment the C-SPAN host will ask the guest a question or read a statement posed by those of us on the twitter feed and that was the initial attraction. Its easier than dialing and re-dialing your phone into disrepair. Moreover if you are insightful and/or witty, you can get more than one tweet per month read on the air. I had found my twitter home, these were my peeps; focused on politics and ready to offer up hot political opinions. Since many of us were tweeting as we watched the program debate often broke out between us on @cspanwj that had little or nothing to do with what occurred on the program. Fairly often that debate tended to be courtesy-free and insult rich.
I found the vitriol disturbing. It was making me quite angry quite often. I had told myself that by tweeting progressive views I was not time-wasting but rather helping to save civilization. Perhaps it was this smidgen of arrogance that brought flack my way, or it could be that conservatives and libertarians see assholeness as a virtue rising directly from their philosophy. At any rate, the flack came along with an unending flow of ignorant, weird and crank notions.
Being a good liberal I wish the U.S. Treasury had a dollar for every time I was on the receiving end of an F-you bomb. But the day I was called a "cocksucker" I knew it was high time to quit twitter. Still I did not yet possess the resolve to do so.
The conservatives and libertarians are often Rush or Fox-informed. They know a version of current events but one that does not comport with reality. When I attempted to acquaint them with facts and reality-based-community reasoning, they went meshugganah. One would have thought the end of the world arrived the night I said that America was browning and in a hundred years or so whites would probably be olive colored. At once I was fending off tweets from three Right-Wingers accusing me of proposing a genocide of the white race. Another accused me of bringing back Eugencis which everyone knew had been and still was a part of the liberal agenda (thank you not Jonah Goldberg). There is, seemingly, no end to the crank notions stored in Right-Wing noggins.
As for those crank notions, I was amazed by the libertarian woman who in a discussion of the causes of the U.S. Civil War suggested that the North could have avoided the war by simply buying & manumitting the South's slaves. I tried to explain that Southern slave owners viewed such an offer as an insulting attempt to destroy their way of life. She never got it. The libertarian way to deal with race is to not acknowledge it as portrayed by Stephen Colbert's tv character. When you do not see race, or racial issues, slavery is readily reduced to an economic transaction. At any rate, I provided her with a link to Professor David Blight's free online course on the Civil War. Yet on hearing that Blight was at Yale, she demurred. Nothing truthful could emerge from the mouth of a Yale professor apparently.
I was in no way surprised by Mitt Romney's comments regarding the 47%. I had been reading right-wing tweets about those 47% bums for over a year. Along with tweets stating that we liberals constantly thought about and envied successful business people because we ourselves are incapable of success. In tweet after tweet right-wingers made clear that the liberal project was to take/steal the wealth of the "successful." Actual liberals were not tweeting such sentiments but only, inferred right-wingers, because it was a hidden agenda.
When the "you didn't build that" fake scandal erupted, I yawned. Right-wingers tended to copiously tweet in grandiose terms about what they had built. It seems they see themselves engaged in epic struggle. The small business oriented right-winger tends to believe himself to be the hero in an up from the bootstraps Randian story. Only when one presses these would be Howard Roarks, Dagny Taggerts, & John Galts does one discover that they inherited the business or have been helped by the hated Federal Government in a variety of ways. And, of course, people actually struggling to build a real small business don't have time to be right-wingers on twitter.
As time went on I noticed that I was having the exact same debate with the same people over and over. Nobody's mind was being changed and by then no one pretended to any sort of openness so the insults came faster. But that didn't cause me to stop.
What did it was a bully & the gang he attracted. I ran into a character who featured himself to be a John Wayne-ish man's man. I'm sure you know the type from tv or movies since real life examples are less prominent today. I watched as he would enter into disputes with people on the feed and eventually get to a place where he questioned their integrity, parentage & finally called them vile names. He got off on it.
I was drawn to conflict with this jerk like a moth to the flame. I could and did make the Coo-coo pop out of his forehead by questioning his false and dubious assertions; his only slightly hidden birtherism and his claim of owning an integrity that never encountered an error it had to admit to. When he told me to F-off I came back with reasoned response which I'm sure infuriated him more than cussin-back could have. But he began to refer to me as a Schwarzeneggerian "girly-man."
Girly-man. It is not an objection to any political philosophy or view I hold. Rather it is an assertion that I should not exist because what I am does not measure up to a mythical standard of masculinity claimed as nominal by my bully. I at once realized that he was projecting. Indeed it was my bully who was attempting to cover over his apparently acute sexual insecurity with an ubermenschen schtick. I did not hesitate to tell him so on several occasions arguing him into head-exploded silence. And in a day and age where LGBTs are out and mostly accepted in consensus reality a "girly-man" name-call from a crank wasn't shit. And yet... it was inducing great feelings of anger & powerlessness in me. As happens with bullies at just this time his colleagues began taking up the name-call meme. I knew then that it was time to go. I was not going to start throwing name-call mud at the bullies; I graduated from high school. So I deleted my twitter clients and am now twitter free.
I'm thinking now that I need to put my passion into more diaries here.