Après Twitter, Le Déluge?

Twitter Fail Whale

I’m not planning to leave Twitter any time soon, at least in part because, while I don’t fully buy the position, I do see the point of the arguments about white people (women in particular) fleeing because we have an unearned expectation of safety.

[The part I don’t buy is: Why should I voluntarily stay on a completely optional platform and subject myself to abuse, just because some other people are subject to abuse there or in other places in life? That seems like an ask folks aren’t qualified to make. Fortunately, my account is small enough and anonymous enough that online abuse hasn’t become an issue for me. Yet.]

Still, it is growing far less useful, as the Nazis come back and get free reign to, you know, be Nazis, and the interesting voices I’ve found there begin disengaging. (I know I certainly am, although I’m not sure I can rightfully claim to be an “interesting voice” on Twitter.)

[Twitter has been of limited use for a while, frankly, as I watch tiresome repeated bouts of middle school drama unfold between bigger accounts I follow and a LOT of terrifically unproductive and alienating generalizing go down pretty much daily. And that’s all from liberals and progressives. I don’t even want to know what RWNJ are up to on the platform.]

Plus, the wheels are likely to come entirely off the bus any second now, seeing as Elon fired all the people who actually know how to make the platform, long held together with baling wire, duct tape, and fairy dust, RUN. (For a detailed look at exactly what that’s likely to mean, check this recent piece from MIT’s Technology Review.)

So what’s next?

I REFUSE to go back to Facebook – and it seems like a lot of folks who’ve, like me, gone the full-on #DeleteFacebook route or at least only keep a profile to prevent squatters and keep up with pictures of their cousins’ kids agree. Facebook is dead.

Mastadon seems to operate on a complexity level similar to running a Linux mail server, which I did back in the day, and don’t intend to do ever again, so help me Goddess.

Folks are slowly being let off the queue and into Post.news, but not a critical mass of my mutuals (yet) so I can find out if it’s worth it.

A friend set up a Discord instance, and it’s a wasteland so far. Same with the Slack channel another friend set up. I was invited to join a Rantt community, but honestly, I’m not willing to pay a monthly subscription fee for an unknown quantity.

Let’s be real – I’m too old for SnapChat and TikTok. And I’m insufficiently appearance-obsessed for Instagram.

OTOH, maybe it’s time (past time) for the whole thing to just go poof. As a recent article in The Atlantic argues:

Social media turned you, me, and everyone into broadcasters (if aspirational ones). The results have been disastrous but also highly pleasurable, not to mention massively profitable—a catastrophic combination.

In short, what originated as networks of real people who mostly knew each other in real life or formed real friendships as a result of connecting online around shared interests (or both) turned into a “pay attention to MEEEE” cult of would-be celebrity, where the goal is to create “content” that goes “viral” so one can get attention which could potentially turn into cash if you can sustain it – aka, becoming an “influencer.”

As the author points out, this has led to people both believing they deserve a large audience and believing that anyone they have access to (which is everyone) owes them attention. Or as the author puts it: “People aren’t meant to talk to each other this much.”

The result?

social media produced a positively unhinged, sociopathic rendition of human sociality.

And it’s a feature, not a bug.

The author’s prescription is to return to actually talking to people, real people you know personally, so fewer people, and probably less frequently. In other words, go see your friends.

Sounds like good advice to me.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter (at least for now) @MrsWhatsit1.

 

 

 

Words for Wednesday

Welcome to Indian Country

BY RENA PRIEST

Where is Indian Country?

It’s everywhere we stand.

It’s anywhere we dance.

It’s where the earth loves

the feel of our feet.

Welcome to Indian Country.

What does that mean?

It means this is where

we lift our voice in song

and make a joyful drumbeat

so our hearts can sing along.

Welcome to Indian Country.

This beloved country here,

where we honor our ancestors

by growing stronger every year,

by making laughter the answer

that wipes away our tears.

Welcome to Indian Country.

What does the future hold?

In uncertain times like these

we reach for words like hope

and things we can be sure of—

sunrises, beauty, and love.

Welcome to Indian Country.

It’s everywhere we dance and

where the feast is truly grand.

Welcome to Indian Country.

Now give us back our land!

***********

Picture found here.

Resolutions

The period between Samhein and Yule is a good time for introspection and for looking ahead to the coming civic year. As you make your plans, I’d encourage you to pick a local office and begin to follow it carefully. School board, soil & water district, planning commission, mayor. You know, one of those positions that can have a huge impact on you and your landbase.

Follow them on social media. Attend a meeting. Introduce yourself. Write a letter or make a phone call.

All politics, as someone once said, are local.

Monday at the Movies

I loved this. It’s lots better than the trailer shows.

Long Lists

Photo found here.

The season shifts again and we’re in that in-between time after Thanksgiving and before Yule. No matter how many times we read that this is the season for moving inwards, for rest, for reflection, we often find ourselves busy, busy, busy. The demand to create a “perfect holiday” has always weighed heavily on women and somehow, now that COVID is not quite the crisis that it was, the feeling that THIS holiday has to be “the best ever” just seems to have gotten stronger.

We all know the answer, even if it can be difficult do make ourselves apply it. We need to start to say “No.” We need to take a realistic look at our To Do list and start crossing things out. Maybe I’ll decide to decline a few of the neighborhood open houses and maybe you’ll decide that gift bags will work as well as elaborate gift wrap. Which things do you really want to do and which do you have to do? Can you shift a few of the “have tos” and make room for more of the “want tos”?

My challenge just now is juggling the grassroots political work with my desire to spend more time out in nature, more time “being retired.” On the one hand, the political situation still feels as if democracy is teetering on the edge. So I’m writing postcards and phone banking a few hours a day for Senator Warnock. And then there’s a Virginia special election, and then . . . . There will always be something absolutely crucial for at least the next few years. And so I’m struggling to figure out what and how much I can do.

What’s on your “want to” list this season?

Words for Wednesday

Thanks

BY W. S. MERWIN

Listen

with the night falling we are saying thank you

we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings

we are running out of the glass rooms

with our mouths full of food to look at the sky

and say thank you

we are standing by the water thanking it

standing by the windows looking out

in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging

after funerals we are saying thank you

after the news of the dead

whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you

in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators

remembering wars and the police at the door

and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you

in the banks we are saying thank you

in the faces of the officials and the rich

and of all who will never change

we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us

taking our feelings we are saying thank you

with the forests falling faster than the minutes

of our lives we are saying thank you

with the words going out like cells of a brain

with the cities growing over us

we are saying thank you faster and faster

with nobody listening we are saying thank you

thank you we are saying and waving

dark though it is.

***********

Picture found here.

You’ve Got the Power!

America tipped back from the brink last Tuesday and it’s due to young people, particularly young women, voting. In Dobbs, Alito chuckled that “Women are not without electoral or political power.” Damn straight, you asshole.

He just didn’t think we’d use it. And he had some reason to think so. Young people, particularly young women, are inconsistent voters, at best. Sometimes, they get enthusiastic about a politician — think Barack Obama — and show up, but too often they don’t. That’s been especially true for midterm elections, which tend to get less hoopla than presidential elections. It’s been especially, especially true for what are known as “down ballot” races — county commissioner, school board, secretary of state. But not this time. This time, you showed up. (One example, women under 25 voted in the Kansas referendum in August in higher numbers than ALL MEN in the state of Kansas.)

Now, here’s the challenge. Do it again. And again. And again. Do it every time, for every race. If it comes down to a choice between two candidates who seem equally matched, pick the woman, the LGBTQ person, the minority candidate, the candidate with a disability. Look at the current board and decide which voice is missing. But vote every time. Because when you do, you’ve got the power.

As Shelley wrote:

"Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number—
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you—
Ye are many—they are few."

Monday at the Movies

I may have blogged this one before, but it’s good, escapist fun.

The G.O.A.T.

Famous photo of Nancy Pelosi in a red coat putting on her sunglasses while leaving the Trump White House after she pwned him

I have written about Madam Speaker many many many times on this site. Many. MANY. MAAAAAANY.

I’m not sure what more there is to say (and if I missed anything, I think the Washington Post probably got it today).

She earned power and wielded it masterfully, delivering HUGE, double-black-diamond difficulty level legislative wins for both President Obama and President Biden.

She raised VAST sums of money for the Democratic party and for individual candidates, particularly in the House.

She may have been the ONLY person who could’ve kept the Democratic House caucus together in lockstep in the TrumPutin years. She was the ONLY person who could’ve gotten the Affordable Care Act passed. She took a razor-thin majority in the past two years and worked absolute magic with it. She is a master negotiator with an uncanny ability to know just when to use the carrot, and, well, as her daughter Alexandra put it:

“She’ll cut your head off and you won’t even know you’re bleeding…No one ever won betting against Nancy Pelosi.”

And she did it all while elegantly attired in Hermès, Armani, and Manolos, and while keeping a freezer full of ice cream at the ready for her nine grandchildren.

Thank you, Madam Speaker, for your dedicated service to our country. You are one of a kind, and we’ve been incredibly fortunate to have you working for us every day in Congress these past 35 years.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

Words for Wednesday

An Old Woman of the Roads.

~ Padraic Colum

Artist Maartje van Dokkum

O, to have a little house!

To own the hearth and stool and all!

The heaped up sods against the fire,

The pile of turf against the wall!

To have a clock with weights and chains

And pendulum swinging up and down!

A dresser filled with shining delph,

Speckled and white and blue and brown!

I could be busy all the day

Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,

And fixing on their shelf again

My white and blue and speckled store!

I could be quiet there at night

Beside the fire and by myself,

Sure of a bed and loth to leave

The ticking clock and the shining delph!

Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark,

And roads where there’s never a house nor bush,

And tired I am of bog and road,

And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

And I am praying to God on high,

And I am praying Him night and day,

For a little house – a house of my own

Out of the wind’s and the rain’s way.