John Colson: Confession of a social outlier
Hit & Run
I don’t have a Twitter account and almost never even see the entries on the platform, though I endlessly hear about them in news stories, opinion pieces and other expressions of dismay and disgust about the nature of tweeting in America today.
I also do not watch Fox News as a general rule, though I occasionally tune in just to see what the haters and Trumpists (lovers and supporters of presidential loser Donald J. Trump) are up to on any given day.
Taken together, these two confessions would seem to put me squarely in the category of social outlier, if not social outcast, but I’m OK with that.
There are many reasons I stay away from Twitter, of course, not the least of which is my utter revulsion at the very idea of getting tweets from the herd of whacked out, right wing, anti-just-about-anything attitudes and insanities that seem to dominate the platform.
To name names, Trump is the main reason for my self-imposed exile from the messaging app, but not the only one.
For instance, I understand that Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert is a relatively constant presence on Twitter, where she has been pushing wildly outlandish crap that includes her supposed belief that the 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump, when everybody but her and those who “think” as she does is fully aware that the reality is that Trump tried to steal the election from Joe Biden and failed in a spectacular way.
I say Boebert’s “supposed” belief in the Big Lie about the election, because I am giving her the benefit of the doubt. Depressing as it is, I have to doubt that most of those behind this particular conspiracy theory (the theft of the election, I mean) really believe it.
They are simply so used to lying about Democrats, people of color, nontraditional sexual politics and much, much more that they just can’t help themselves, and they see this kind of behavior as the only way to achieve and retain political power.
They realize they are in the minority in this country, which is why they resort to lying and cheating in every way possible to ensure that the U.S. becomes a one-party state, which is to say a dictatorship.
In the broadest of terms, though, I stay away from Twitter mostly because I don’t want to become a troll (defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a person who intentionally antagonizes others online by posting inflammatory, irrelevant or offensive comments or other disruptive content”).
As New York Times opinion writer Pamela Paul put it in a recent column, Twitter “brings out the worst in all of us. … We know people who are delightful in real life metamorphose online into reactionary trolls and virtue-signaling vigilantes.”
Writing about her own decision to leave Twitter, she continued, “I left because I was terrible on Twitter. … Twitter Me was petty, insecure, desperate to please, angry, narcissistic and needy.”
Not a pretty picture, eh?
But it sure seems to accurately describe most of the nasty Twitter haunters, so I simply stay away.
As for Fox News, I realized in the 1990s that it was not a real news service, but a vehicle for Rupert Murdoch and his band of fascists to use to champion his vile, twisted world-view with no limits or repercussions.
And once Tucker Carlson found his way to the station, in the mid-twenty-teens, I found a new reason not to watch, as he morphed from the rather bland, relatively unknown, libertarian-leaning news and opinion guy of his early years into the fear-mongering, hate-speech-spewing, lying celebrity he is today.
Make no mistake about it, Carlson is a self-made spokesman of all that is misogynistic, racist and deplorable in the U.S. today, and he has reached this pinnacle of paranoia and populism very deliberately.
Carlson, as is made plain by a recent, lengthy New York Times profile, realized early on that being the wild man from the far-right fringe would form his guaranteed entry into stardom. And he is merely the latest in a string of fearful, bile-filled Fox News stars to come to that realization.
And I say “fearful” quite deliberately, because he is at the head of the line of the white-right left-behinds, who have concluded that they are in danger of being “canceled” by the rising tide of multicultural, progressive-thinking Americans who ultimately will render Carlson and his ilk entirely irrelevant to the future of this country.
At least that is my hope.
I know, I know, in keeping with my foundational belief in the old Chinese philosophy, “Know thine enemy as you know thyself,” I ought to be keeping an eye on these misbegotten misfits if only to keep track of their insanity.
But I feel no need to subject myself to their outrage, their lies, their simplistic but apparently widely shared tribal world view directly. I get upset enough when I hear about them later.