The perpetually astonishing pettiness of Silicon Valley’s conservative pogrom There was life before Facebook and Twitter, and it was better.
Petty, vindictive and mean. If Twitter wasn’t so Left-wing, we’d be the best of friends! But it is, so it needs to be destroyed before it destroys us in what is amounting to death by a thousand cuts. Since I kicked off the whole thing by getting banned from Twitter, conservatives love to drone on about how real and important the censorship of the Right is on the internet, and of course this is true. But what really gets me is how extraordinarily small-minded Facebook, Google and Twitter can be. Take, for instance, the punishment recently meted out, on the sly, to the editor of this magazine, Chadwick Moore.
Chadwick is not my friend. I can’t stand him. But it’s important to stand up for principles you believe in, no matter how odious the victim of injustice may be, and censorship is wrong, even when the person you’re censoring is as adorably harmless as our prematurely elderly Editor-in-Chief. A commitment to free speech is the reason we don’t take to the streets gunning one another down like they do in countries where everyone’s called Mohammed, and it’s also how I convince Chadwick to let me go on blithely insulting him on his own website.
Chadwick is responsible for the #TransgenderPrivilege hashtag you may have enjoyed on Twitter recently. Ever since he lightly poked fun at progressive ideology by pointing out how easy it can be to sail into fame and success on the basis of little more than chopping off your cock (this is entirely accurate), our house restroom habitué has noticed how dramatically his reach on Twitter has been cut back.
“The last time I was on Tucker, I left the studio and checked Twitter as I always do,” Moore told me in a private text message that I presume he’s fine with me reproducing here. (I haven’t had time to check.) “Every single time in the last eighteen months I had a few hundred new followers. I shit you not, this time I had fifty fewer followers. I was on the number one show on cable TV and I checked Twitter and had fewer followers, for the first time ever. That was after the Christine Hallquist segment. It obviously wasn’t because I said anything that offended conservatives!”
It’s like a more trivial version of when Twitter removed my blue verified check mark as a precursor to banning me entirely. Chadwick often does the same stuff as me, only later and when no one’s really listening. These incremental punishments handed down to popular conservatives, especially those who support Trump, are intended as warning shots: calm it down or you’re history, they say. They function as a control mechanism for the most amusing and popular and persuasive conservatives: barely-implicit warnings to keep your best jokes and most provocative and politically incorrect content to yourself.
This week it’s Chadwick’s turn, and, eugh, it’s just so pathetic, the levels they stoop to. Like he’s a seventeen-year-old who stepped out of line, so one of the schoolmarmish censors at Twitter HQ dialed down his exposure on the social network for a bit to bring him into line. Don’t they realize the only effect of all this is to make the network worse for everyone else? Not just for Chadwick, but for the people searching for Chadwick — perhaps liberal journalists looking to do a hit job! Did you think of that, idiots? — who just assume Twitter search is broken and shit and the site is shit and ugh I wish none of us had to still use this crap…
Seriously. Have you ever heard of something so granularly and bureaucratically petty since your high school teacher got mad because you were giggling in class? Because, you know, most teachers are ugly single women in their 30s who hate the sound of laughter, and most of them hate children, too. A little nudge to the volume dial as a warning and a sharp look because no, you are not allowed to be a chutney puncher and vote Republican.
And that’s not all. Since his hashtag triumph, when you search for Chadwick on Twitter, you can’t find him at first. Not when you type in “Chadwick” and not even when you type in “Chadwick M.” You get a bunch of unverified randoms. It’s not until you get all the way to “Chadwick Moo” that Twitter admits that the gay conservative writer exists. You have to admire the sheer small-mindedness of it, I guess. And no. I don’t care what you say. This isn’t a fucking “algorithmic error” or “quality filter.” It is blatant, deliberate political censorship, and the onus is now on social media companies to prove they are not doing it. Which of course they can’t.
It’s like Google gerrymandering search results to present you with “idealized” (less white, less male, less heterosexual, less Christian) versions of history that have nothing to do with what actually happened, or Facebook not allowing me to name my own 2016-17 college tour without notifying them ahead of time so I don’t get canned for saying faggot.
This is what will finally end Twitter — and, hopefully, the rest of them — as a useful medium for public life. Not one audacious move, like banning the President of the United States, as inevitable as that is, but rather the banality of evil: a thousand tiny slivers of shabby spitefulness, scattered across the network’s remaining right-leaning users by Twitter’s army of aggrieved “trust and safety” apparatchiks, eventually alienating even the harpies and hustlers the company protects at the expense of its own commercial future. Who even cares any more. When we look back on Twitter, we’ll be able to say in full confidence: the bitch had it coming.