It must be quite embarrassing for Twitter that they are enabling the archenemy of the Left.
Twitter really is the linchpin in Donald Trump’s ascent to the Presidency.
And so the social media site is caught in a common liberal conundrum:
-ban Trump and expose themselves as the hypocrites they are
-ban Trump’s followers?
Obviously, the San Francisco-based Twitter has decided to go with the Saul Alinsky strategy which is driving the Democratic Party.
While the DNC picks high-value targets for character assassination (Gen. Flynn, Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner…ad nauseam), Twitter generally tries to fly under the radar.
Because it would be unseemly for a free market of ideas (what Twitter ostensibly is) to BAN IDEAS 🙂
But occasionally San Francisco makes a mistake.
Twitter famously shut down Milo Yiannopoulos.
And even more shocking, Jack Dorsey and company shanghaied Clint Eastwood and put him “out to sea”.
The “conventional wisdom” is that Clint Eastwood never had a Twitter account.
That it was a fake account.
And therefore Twitter suspended a fake Clint Eastwood.
But I clearly remember these Tweets from election night.
Sounds like Clint to me 🙂
I’m ostensibly supposed to be a film critic, right?
Incidentally, the bottommost tweet was the final one before the account was suspended.
Interesting timing, Twitter.
Kinda like Twitter was mad 🙂
And, as Baudrillard might argue, it hardly matters whether it was the real Clint Eastwood or not.
By virtue of simulation, the effect was real.
[ok, I’m putting words in Jean’s mouth]
But let’s move to a fundamental concern: Twitter as news.
Take a look at this page:
At the top we see this picture.
This is said to be the Al Jazeera English newsroom in Doha (Qatar) as of 2008.
Interesting that this artifact would be left behind…to encapsulate for us just what “news” is.
[especially at this time…in which Qatar has magically become the Middle Eastern scapegoat for all problems terroristic]
But ignoring this strange correlation to “current events” (a term coined by Jessica Garretson Finch in the 1890s), we should delve into the dubious waters of Wikipedia.
Because someone(s) (who?) has left some fascinating prose on which to chew.
Consider this unsourced sentence from the introduction:
“Technological and social developments, often driven by government communication and espionage networks, have increased the speed with which news can spread, as well as influenced its content.”
Though there is no footnote for this assertion (a lazy practice near and dear to my own heart), Wikipedia as an institution is currently claiming as much with its article “News”.
But there is a sourced paragraph down the page which is really chockfull of revelations:
“As its name implies, “news” typically connotes the presentation of new information. The newness of news gives it an uncertain quality which distinguishes it from the more careful investigations of history or other scholarly disciplines. Whereas historians tend to view events as causally related manifestations of underlying processes, news stories tend to describe events in isolation, and to exclude discussion of the relationships between them. News conspicuously describes the world in the present or immediate past, even when the most important aspects of a news story have occurred long in the past—or are expected to occur in the future. To make the news, an ongoing process must have some “peg”, an event in time which anchors it to the present moment.Relatedly, news often addresses aspects of reality which seem unusual, deviant, or out of the ordinary. Hence the famous dictum that “Dog Bites Man” is not news, but “Man Bites Dog” is.”
If you visit the long link above, you can find from whence these assertions come.
Reading that paragraph, it would seem that “news” has a decidedly anti-historical bent.
And this is troubling.
I am certainly no expert on history, but there are certain areas of history to which I have devoted considerable time.
Perhaps my focus is too myopic.
But I always bring a skepticism to my consideration of “current events”.
And this skepticism is borne out by the bizarre history of intelligence organizations.
Admittedly, I know far more about American intelligence activities than those of any other country.
Because I’m American.
And I have found the resources more plentiful.
As I have written before, 9/11 was really the date on which the American intelligence community “showed its ass”.
Some have called it an “intelligence failure” (or a “failure of imagination”), but I don’t think it was that at all.
Quite the contrary, what we saw unfold on live TV the morning of 9/11/01 was very much supposed to happen (in reference to the American intelligence establishment).
But let’s take a step back before we get too far down this rabbit hole.
I like to think of the current landscape this way:
Well, that’s a good question.
If we are looking for a donkey on which to pin the tail, we’d be hard-pressed to do better that the FBI.
But Twitter seems a little too savvy to be an FBI concoction.
Which brings up a point.
I LIKE Twitter.
I think it’s a shame that Twitter’s stock price (NYSE: TWTR) has dropped from $36.72 to $14.01 (today’s value) in just the past two years.
Twitter is a great model.
Little haikus being transmitted here and there.
But it is, like Google and Facebook, just one step from the “Big Brother” of which George Orwell wrote in both 1984 and (more accurately) 1949.
If you haven’t read 1984, I highly recommend it.
It is, without doubt, a truly indispensable masterwork of the English language.
Because it tells us what THINGS MIGHT BE LIKE if we are not careful.
It portrays a dystopia (as opposed to utopia).
And, as frightening as it is to admit, it bears a striking resemblance to today’s Britain and/or United States.
But let’s go back to that introduction from the Wikipedia “News” article.
Again, this is an unsourced statement, but it is a bellringer:
“Humans exhibit a nearly universal desire to learn and share news, which they satisfy by talking to each other and sharing information.”
Sounds like something one of the SPA might have said (Socrates, Plato, and/or Aristotle).
Funny how chronology ends up that way.
Those three philosophers.
The foundational philosophers of Western thought.
They lived in precisely that order (as if out of mercy for college freshmen):
But I should come to a point, right?
Twitter (and Facebook [and to a lesser extent, Google]) are crowdsourced truths.
This, of course, would be of immense value to top-level social engineers (and [perhaps it’s repetitive to make this distinction] intelligence agencies).
I’m not fooling myself.
I’m not that important.
In the grand scheme of things.
I’m just a bloke in San Antonio who wants truth.
I want it for me, and I want it for you.
So I agitate.
I write my little articles.
And I let them go into the ether.
Maybe they mean something to someone.
Maybe years down the line (if the world survives awhile) someone will read them and glean some connections previously unmade by other writers.
That’s what I’m trying to do.
My brand of logic might be called “sloppy logic”.
It’s probably not something to which anyone should aspire 🙂
But it is, I would venture to guess, pretty far outside “the box”.
Ahhh, the box 🙂
So, to translate, what I write may very well not be the truth.
I don’t write to deceive.
I don’t aim to deceive.
I am even repulsed by the thought of deceiving myself.
But it happens.
I know that I never get it quite right.
And so I am just trying to move the dialogue along a little bit.
Twitter is a great tool.
But as I have been relegated to Twitter Island (where all dangerous thoughts go to die), I have swum to my nearest outlet: this site.
It is a blessing to have an outlet.
And it is also a blessing sometimes for the power to go out.
Twitter doesn’t want me?
They can’t return my email (like any normal big company would)?
Perhaps they are scrutinizing some offhanded comment I made.
Who cares 🙂
Unhooking from the social media world gives us the opportunity to LIVE LIFE FOR REAL.
To remember the desperation of actual conversations.
Twitter and Facebook make it too easy.
There’s always someone around to hear our pithy bullshit.
But the real world takes more effort (and different skills).
So it might just be the greatest blessing in disguise.
That my little safety blanket has been pulled from beneath me.
All that really matters to me is that Trump is still President.
At least we have a chance.
And beyond that, all is in God’s hands.
We must rely on faith to lead us into the dark waters of night.
I pray blessings on all of you, my friends, that you will know comfort and happiness.
And that you will have wonderful evenings and days.
Until we meet again 🙂