Twitter and I are Never Ever Getting Back Together


Recently the President re-tweeted a doctored video of him knocking down Hilary Clinton with a golf ball. I don’t follow him on social media but it doesn’t save me from seeing his posts which are inevitably re-tweeted by people I do follow. The golfing tweet went viral immediately because, depending on your perspective, it’s either really funny or really inappropriate for the President of the United States to promote violence against women. For days, there was nowhere to go on Twitter without seeing a golf ball hitting Hilary Clinton over and over again. Many people protested. Many people questioned whether it was time for Twitter to step in and sideline the vacuous vicious dimwit. Then an analyst pointed out that he is worth a couple billion to Twitter and I finally understood that he will never be  held accountable for his actions so long as they make wealthy people wealthier. I shut down my account. I’m worth 0 dollars to Twitter. I’m not expecting them to miss me.  Perhaps if a couple hundred million people also shut down their accounts, however, or at least ignore everything he tweets, we can sideline him without Twitter’s help. Who’s with me? A Chicken can dream.

So this all happened last week, I believe, and without Twitter to compulsively check every 10 minutes I found myself with free time, some of which I spent tuned in to public radio where I listened to this bizarre interview with David Perry about an article he wrote for the Pacific Standard Magazine.  What do Taylor Swift and Medieval History have in common? Nazis love them! I told you it was bizarre! Taylor, tall, thin, blonde and blue-eyed, is their Aryan goddess and they believe that an all white, all Christian European race defended itself against infiltration by non-white, non-Christian outsiders in the middle ages. This is incorrect. Perry grabs your attention with the Taylor Swift analogy-she has a nazi issue, not of her making, and her response so far has been to say nothing. She didn’t publicly support a candidate in the presidential election and she hasn’t denounced racism. The alt-right believes this is because she is secretly one of them. Medieval Studies has a similar problem and while Perry won’t attempt to speak for Taylor, he believes his profession has a duty to address inaccuracies, diversify the mostly white, male field, and bring racism into the conversation. If they don’t counter widely spread false information with accurate information, he asserts, they will create a space where an inaccurate version of history may be generally acknowledged as truth.

What do you think? Should Taylor choose a side? Do experts have a moral duty to correct harmful inaccuracies when they see them? Does the general public have a duty to speak out when they perceive false information being spread through social media? Do you speak out when you see false information posted? I have to admit, I never do. It’s worth thinking about. Or I could stick my head in the sand, shut down my twitter, delete my facebook account and just shake it off.

Chicken out



  10 comments for “Twitter and I are Never Ever Getting Back Together

  1. September 29, 2017 at 11:37 am

    I have pointed out fake news stories to friends on Facebook before and it generally doesn’t go well. Either they don’t care because they think my source is biased or they still believe the general feeling behind what they post even if the details are all wrong. I swear Fox News has brainwashed everyone and their is no hope left for humanity.


    • September 29, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Christine! If I posted something that was a hoax and a friend contacted me privately to let me know, I think I’d be embarrassed but grateful and I’d appreciate their discretion. I see people calling out friends publicly and I’m not sure that’s the way to go. It hurts feelings and puts people on the defensive. I hesitate to say anything because I know I’m very biased and I see everything through that lens. I’ve seen it on the opposite sides with people calling the Washington Post fake news and re-tweeting Fox headlines. It hit home when a colleague I respect and admire told me they think Fox news offers a more truthful version of the facts. She was born and raised in a very red state and it made me stop and think-would I see things differently if I were born and raised somewhere else in the country? I hope not.but who knows. These are strange times.


  2. Doug in Oakland
    September 29, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    First: YAY! The Chicken posted again! and second: Twitter! I knew it!
    I don’t have a Twitter (or Facebook) account, but I read a couple of Twitter feeds daily; Paul Krugman’s, because I learn things from it, and Princess Sparkle Pony’s because he doesn’t blog anymore and Twitter is the only way I have to read him.
    We are learning more each day about how Facebook and Twitter were used in dishonest ways to sway the 2016 election. Facebook has been subpoenaed and has turned over a bunch of documents (they finally admitted that yes, they did sell targeted advertising to the Russians during the campaign, and were paid in Rubles for it) and Twitter just sent someone to congress to testify about their efforts to combat “bots” and other malicious software running on their platform that they admit does spread falsehoods that serve the interests of bad actors. I read the document they released to the public about it yesterday. It does sound as if they have a hard job ahead of them in that regard. We’ll see how they do.
    My own take on the handling of (let’s call them by their name) lies and insanity on the internet is somewhat complicated. While I agree that almost no minds ever get changed by getting yelled at, and I further believe that a high percentage of the people who actually type lies and insanity onto the internet are beyond the reach of rational communication, I also feel that the information itself cannot go unchallenged, and for (mostly) that reason I do my share of anti-trolling in places I feel are effective and appropriate.
    As I wrote in a comment this morning, the trick is to resist without taking the bait. The trolls want us to get angry and incoherent so as to use our anger and incoherence against us because they can’t win arguments on the merits.
    This is really playing hell with the anxiety levels of people I know with anxiety issues, but I feel that if we try to support one another a little, most of us will make it through this. Oh yeah, and work our asses off to make sure we don’t get cheated out of any more elections…

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 29, 2017 at 11:26 pm

      Hi Doug-thanks for not giving up on me:-) your comment about not taking the bait reminded me of an interaction I had on twitter with a very angry Christian soon after the election. I don’t remember the issue but I made what I would say was a pretty mild comment and this person went after me about abortion, charter schools, you name it, and in between twitter posts they were direct messaging some very nasty things. They didn’t stop until I said they seemed very angry and not very Christian. I think the goal was to get me angry, like you said. I just didn’t understand why. It was weird. Where do you conduct your anti-troll practice? On blogs? See, now I’m feeling like I need to join your anti-troll army.


      • Doug in Oakland
        September 30, 2017 at 12:35 am

        Yes, I comment on a few political blogs where I am known and have a reputation, and where there is a presence of what can only and generously be described as right wing trolls who lie a lot. I don’t attempt to reach them any more, just make sure that something is in the same thread that isn’t lies, for the benefit of the rest of the readers. I feel like there needs to be a few strong liberal voices among the hordes or right-wing talking points, and that we need to get better at expressing ourselves clearly. I may not always know everything about every topic, but a Google search is always just a tab away, so it’s not that hard.
        I also comment at Crooks and Liars, which is a liberal news outlet I have been reading for years, and I find the trolls there to be far more infuriating, as I feel they should know better. Which is sort of a good way to get a handle on my own biases, as I certainly don’t want to become a liberal version of the trolls who aggravate my sensibilities so much.
        Also, there I find actual examples of the Russian influence I have read so much about. I’m absolutely through with trying to explain how your protest vote against the “corrupt duopoly” did in fact install Sessions, Price, Pruitt, DeVos. Carson, Perry, Bannon, Miller, and the whole wrecking crew currently hell bent on “deconstructing the administrative state”, read that, tearing down the government, and whatever your opinion of Hillary Clinton, she most certainly would not have appointed any of them or anyone like them to run the government.
        Basically, I just try to do what I can in the places where I have a voice. Whether it accomplishes anything remains to be seen.


      • September 30, 2017 at 1:02 am

        You are fighting the good fight! I will check out some of those blogs and look for your comments. I will have your back. I’ll be your chicken side kick. You can call me Robin. Robin the Chicken. Together we will save the metropolis. I’m getting carried away. Again. I’ve had wine. Excuse me. But seriously, you are a citizen role model. I get a little hot under the collar on the far right sites. I’m working on it. Cool calm and collected has never been my MO.


  3. jenny_o
    September 30, 2017 at 1:57 am

    If I feel a conversation is heading in too much of a biased direction I try to include a link to a credible news source that provides a different point of view. That’s for my friends. For people who are clearly off their rockers with misinformation/anger/racism/intolerance/whatever, I just don’t respond and I don’t read any more of their comments. Life’s too short to get drawn into wars I can’t win or even affect. That being said, I don’t go on Twitter and only have Facebook to keep in touch with three relatives and we all are on the same page as far as politics and religion go 🙂 I find both Twitter and Facebook thinking in many instances to be kind of superficial. How deep can you get into a topic with 140 characters (280 now?) or in a short FB comment? And it’s like falling in the ocean . . . dangerous if you don’t swim and almost as dangerous even if you do, because you could get sucked under by a riptide or caught in a rogue wave . . . I’m better off just not even wading in! lol


    • September 30, 2017 at 2:37 am

      Hi Jenny- you think of it as an ocean and I think of Twitter as the rabbit hole. It’s bizarre and wonderful but you are not always seeing what you think you are seeing so caution is a must. I really loved Twitter. But we are not getting back together. FB is great for keeping in touch but it doesn’t do much for me. I’d probably drop it if not for my work.


  4. October 1, 2017 at 2:08 am

    Interesting question. I’ll go with the free-enterprise first impression. Ms, Swift’s business is to sell as many songs as she can. Reserving her political leanings and declining to dignify neo-nazi thulisms with comments should be no less damning than grocery stores selling produce to anybody and everybody. I think she’s doing the best she can.


    • October 1, 2017 at 3:06 am

      Hi Geo-that was my initial first thought, too, and I still support her right to decide whether she wants to engage or not. I do think she could do some good in this world by speaking out against. As far as the medieval historians, though, I’m glad there are some who are speaking out. I was at Holy Cross today (my youngest had a basketball tournament in the area) and we stopped by the library. They had a little display on the crusades featuring one of their professors and his studies into women’s roles during the crusades. The way it was worded made me wonder if it was a purposeful effort, per Perry’s article, to address their nazi stalker issue.


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