Here we are in the interregnum between the winter solstice and the winter holidays.
In the interest of keeping my blood pressure low, I have created for myself a new form of therapy where I go through the comments on the facebook pages of local news outlets and wholesale block all of the bigots, bootlicks and brownshirts which infest all online spaces. I know this is working because when I open a post about e.g. a new minority-owned business, the counter says something like “75 comments” and I can only see about five of them. That means 70 undoubtedly racist, undoubtedly fascist, comments were hidden.
I’m sure this project has also blocked a fair number of Trumpist bots and troll account. Those are easy to distinguish. They all have some sort of AI-generated flag-and-gun-and-eagle banner image, and a note on how to pronounce their name which doesn’t match up with the name on the account.
And for those accounts which, at first glance, are indistinguishable from a troll or bot account? Well, nothing of value lost by blocking those too. As I put on my “About Me” page in the last update, my judgment in these matters is infallible.
Corporate-owned social media is not the public square. Corporate-owned social media is not and has never been a bastion of free speech. It is and has always been a fascist free-for-all. How can I say this? We need look no farther than Elon Musk’s little incel playground X (or Xitter, formerly known as Twitter, now pronounced “Shitter”) wherein Musk is allowing all of the white supremacist neofascists, emboldened by the existence of Daddy-issues Donnie Trump, to say the quiet parts out loud. Well, they were already saying the quiet parts out loud. Now they’re using megaphones.
When a space is insufficiently moderated, the bad actors always and inevitably drive out everyone else.
In a just world, everyone who I blocked on any social media would immediately lose all access to all social media. I would use this power only for good. I promise.
Another useful tool for weeding out the more sophisticated trolls and debate bros is to, whenever someone you don’t know asks you a questions in any comments anywhere, refuse to answer until they have clearly stated their own position on the subject at hand. That will help determine if (a) they are really looking for a real conversation, and (b) if they are a person worthy of conversation. And if they give a dishonest answer, then that says unfortunate things about them, and nothing about you.
Once upon a time (Fark.com, Slashdot, etc.) I would dive into the morass of comments either to award myself points for delivering a clever insult, or to offer sources for actual facts for e.g. climate change deniers and people who think trans-persons are a greater threat to their children than are the members of their own (almost invariably conservative) household. I don’t do that anymore. Much. There’s no point. Again, the comments in FB/Instagram/X/etc. are not the place to try to change someone’s mind or arrive at a consensus about anything. Corporate-owned media has a vested interest in driving engagement, and nothing else. Capitalism over all. And the best way to keep people engaged is to show them things which make them angry.
So the best way to counter that action is to block the fuck out of anyone online who you find annoying. The fewer irritations in the morass of corporate social media ecosystems, the less they can use to keep you engaged. And the less money they will make off of your eyeballs.
Currently reading: Demons, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated from Russian by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I hoped to finish this by the end of the year, but it’s starting to look like that won’t happen.
Current writing: Just this blog and my journal notebooks.
The new writing prompt for the week:
Subject: Mutants, Fae