Twitter

A dangerous time to tell the truth in America…and Portland

Just a quick observation and prediction (of sorts) regarding two high-profile attacks involving gay men of color in 2019.

When then-“Empire” star Jussie Smollett claimed that he had been the victim of a hate crime in January – he said he was assaulted by two white men invoking Trump – it generated extensive coverage and media hand-wringing for weeks. This coverage ensued despite suspicions very early on that the attack was a hoax. Of course, those suspicions turned out to be true.

Yesterday, journalist Andy Ngo was viciously assaulted by (ironically labeled) “Antifa” thugs during protests in the increasingly dystopian city of Portland, Oregon. Ngo has been covering Antifa’s illiberal and illegal activities in that city for quite some time, documenting both the excesses of that extremist group as well as the deliberate fecklessness of Mayor Ted Wheeler in addressing the problem. Yesterday’s attack sent Ngo to the hospital; initial reports on Twitter indicated that he might have a brain bleed among other injuries.

If the same media “firefighters” who have railed endlessly about the dangers of journalism since 2016 are largely silent in the coming week, what does that tell us? What is different about this attack? It involved a gay man of color, a journalist at that, and it happened during this “dangerous time to tell the truth in America”. 

The attack on Ngo dominated a portion of the conversation on Twitter that evening, though sadly, the outpouring of sympathy and shock was accompanied by some vile remarks lauding the assault. Even some journalists and pundits were quick to make excuses for Antifa’s thuggery. In a few cases, some went full “blame the victim”, ludicrously suggesting that Ngo was targeted not for his journalistic work but for alleged racism on his part. In other words, “he had it coming”.

The following day, Ngo’s assault got brief – and I stress “brief” – mentions on “Reliable Sources” on CNN as well as stories from CBS, Fox, and others as part of almost-as-brief coverage of the Portland protests overall. Let’s see if those accounts regarding the beatdown of a gay journalist of color doing his job are the beginning of significant media coverage or the end of a perfunctory CYA exercise on the media’s part.

But surely, this won’t be the end of the coverage, right? The media will treat this actual, on-the-job attack on a gay journalist of color at least as extensively as they did a fake attack on a gay non-journalist of color like Smollett, right? After all, how many journalists and media pundits have opined ad nauseam since the 2016 election about how it is “a dangerous time to tell the truth in America”.

If the same media “firefighters” who have railed endlessly about the dangers of journalism since 2016 are largely silent in the coming week, what does that tell us? What is different about this attack? It involved a gay man of color, a journalist at that, and it happened during this “dangerous time to tell the truth in America”.

Here’s what it will tell me: If the attack doesn’t get significant coverage in the coming week, it can be used as prima facia evidence that many in the national media don’t really care about threats to journalists unless those journalists toe the party line regarding the progressive narrative.

We’ll see.

Rorshach 2.0’s first tweet

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Twitter is indifferent to me. I’ve seen its true face. The TLs are extended gutters, and the gutters are full of hot takes; and when the trends finally fade away, all the vermin will drown in their menchies.

The accumulated filth of all their GIFs and tweets will foam up about their keyboards, and all the pundits and blue checks will look up and tweet “Save us!”

…and I’ll log on, and subtweet “Why even bother?”

Rorshach 2.0’s digital journal, October 12th, 2019

An open letter to my Twitter troll

Interesting experience this week: For only the second time since I got on Twitter six or seven years ago, I started getting harassed by an honest-to-goodness troll. He/she is literally the kind of tweeter that opens the conversation with vulgarity and then goes down from there. In this case, my troll opened with an image of a toddler extending the middle finger. My offense, in his/her eyes, was that I criticized Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. This apparently makes me a “fascist, cuck, Trumpian, etc.” who should “eat him”. (I mean, I voted for Johnson and have denigrated Trump since the turn of the millennium, but who am I to say who I actually support?) Needless to say, I was dealing with a class act with a razor-sharp intellect. He/she kept tweeting discourse-free bile and rage at me despite me repeatedly making it clear that I didn’t want to engage.

Finally, even though I’m no fan of blocking, muting or reporting accounts – it seems inconsistent with my free discourse mindset on social media – I finally had to do the latter two. This troll would not let up – he/she has been stalking my posts since Wednesday despite knowing that I reported him/her to Twitter.

Anyway, once I stopped being annoyed with my troll, I started to think about the life such people must lead, and I started feeling really depressed for him/her/them.

I spend a lot of time on social media. I often debate issues with people, sometimes pointedly, so I know how even restrained interactions like that can get to feeling a little toxic over time. That’s why I occasionally take a sabbatical for a few weeks from all social media. So when I thought about what it must be like to live on social media like my troll does, endlessly engaging in pointless bile…

I’m not a particularly sentimental person, but I felt legitimately heartsick for people like my troll when that thought hit me.

“…once I stopped being annoyed with my troll, I started to think about the life such people must lead, and I started feeling really depressed for him/her/them.”

I suspect that my troll is reading this, given the aforementioned stalking of my Twitter feed. Thankfully, I won’t know if he/she replies, given the mute. Regardless – and I am speaking directly to my troll now – I meant what I said above. I genuinely feel badly for you. Life is too short, dude (or whatever the feminine is for “dude” these days). Give yourself a break and find a healthier way to channel your views/angst/etc.

Look, I’m all for advocating the positions I believe in on social media and trying to raise awareness of/persuade people on the matters I care about. But what you’re doing is nothing of the sort, whether you realize that or not. I hope at some point you realize that what I’m saying here really is not meant as a cheap shot or dig. You need to seriously reassess how you’re spending your time online. Get off the computer more, and go interact with real people – maybe even some people who you disagree with. Learn to phrase your arguments in ways that might actually further the causes you care about. Most of all, find a way to channel your feelings in a manner that can actually make you happy.

Because if you think that what you’re doing now makes you happy…that’s a really troubling sign.