Every union member knows that the CIA will attempt to murder them sometime, although I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be in the form of a tweet that encouraged its employees to practice deep breathing on a #wellnesswednesday. What happened to the good old fashioned ‘trip-and-fall down an elevator shaft onto some bullets’? Would it have killed them to smuggle Soviet-branded weapons into the country, put those weapons into the hands of corrupt soldiers, and then organise a masked death squad to come to my house and blame it on Russia? Would it have killed me as well? Yes, I suppose so. Fucking hell.
How is anyone supposed to deal with this level of comically absurd, transparently asinine, boringly dystopian, nightmare world hellshit? I logged off immediately following that tweet in an act of instinctual self-preservation, like the way your reptile brain engages to snatch your hand away from a fire before your higher brain functions have had their morning coffee. Feeling a bit down after organising the assassination of a democractically elected leader? Got a case of the Mondays after diverting a black ops budget into a cheeky bit of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing? Why not get yourself a standing desk? Fucking hell. Just kill me (please don’t).
Even now, more than a month of being offline later, I still don’t know how to process the idea of ‘Wellness Wednesdays’ at the mother fucking god damn CIA other than re-arranging every atom of my body into a lattice that spells out “fuck you” when examined under a microscope. Get fucked. I guess it was rather fitting that it was some CIA bullshit that drove me away because being offline has given me a lot of time to reflect on how Twitter, especially around anything to do with a United States election, feels like a psy-op designed to slowly drive you insane.
The endless stream of information shunts you against your will into a state of hyperarousal and overload, where you’re expected to See And Hold An Opinion On Every Single Thing with no chance to process it, or be constructive, or even half the time actually care. Even when you see things you do care about and agree with, the volume (both quantity and loudness) of those things comes at you in such a barrage that you start to question whether holding that viewpoint even has any meaning any more. Overstimulation and compassion fatigue are absolutely railing each other in your brain in a deliberate attempt to get you hooked on a carefully-developed proprietary dopamine delivery system and the end result is that you now find yourself saying the word “lmao” in real life instead of laughing as a coping mechanism and you don’t even realise it.
When you’re on Twitter it seems like the most important thing in the world, like you’re the Architect from the Matrix and you’ve got your finger up to the third knuckle in the pulse of society. It’s only when you disconnect you realise that, when questioned, you find you are able to recall Kevin Smith’s ‘p0wns my dick’ tweet word for word (this literally happened last week). Why is there room for this in my brain? Who needs to do that? This can’t be good.
Another — almost certainly long-term damaging — behaviour peculiar to highly political online spaces is the incessant need to pass Bad Takes around for exposure and comment, in the same way you might open a tupperware container of spoiled meat in the fridge and say “smell this” to your housemate, just so that you can all agree how fucking god-damn Bad it is.
And it is Bad! That’s the inescapable truth. All of these repulsive takes are Bad As Hell, but when you log on and see everyone sniffing people’s shit just to see if it stinks, you start to wonder what positive stuff is actually coming out of it. What’s that? Gary Failson from the Institute of Grinding The Poor Into A Paste has another bad opinion about something in his weekly column, ‘Unqualified Bad Takes From An Absolute Fucking Dickhead With No Idea About The Real World’ that he gets paid $300,000 a year to write for a transparently corrupt tax-dodging media empire? Do I want to see it? Not really actually. Thanks though.
Is it cathartic? Certainly. Is it performative? I don’t know. It certainly feels performative to write my thoughts all down like this, but who cares? At the end of the day if you make a tweet on Twitter maybe 10% of your followers will actually be granted access by The Algorithm to see it in the first place, and another 10% of those people will actually click the link and read what you wrote and another 10% of those people who read it might actually leave a comment, so you know, be performative! Go off(line), queen. Whatever.
I actually had a dream the other day – I know, dreams, fascinating, everyone’s favourite thing to hear about, but stay with me on this because I remember approximately one dream a year – and in this dream someone (one of my enemies, probably, fuck those guys) described me as “nothing without someone to fight against”. If that isn’t the sound of my own subconscious telling me to Log The Fuck Off, I don’t know what is.
I’ve tried to Log Back On a few times since the CIA accidentally noscoped me, and I can honestly only stand it for a few hours before I find something that makes me close the window. It’s maddening, and not just in the way that it makes you mad (a lot) but in a broader and more debilitating sense, like a gridlock in my brain. I know from experience that there’s more than a few good or nice things on the TL, but getting to them is like sitting down at a sushi train where eight out of every ten dishes are a revoltingly moronic op-ed from Karen Bluetick about why we can’t have universal healthcare because a Bernie Sanders supporter once called her a “turd witch”.
As the coronavirus panic begins to take hold and it becomes more and more unbelievably obvious from the response that our entire economic system is a pyramid scheme designed to enslave the disposable lives of the many for the sacred profit of the few, I can feel my patience for bad faith bullshit and pigheaded centrism becoming paper thin. In the last few days alone I’ve typed out 20-30 replies which literally just read “you are a dogshit moron” and hurriedly deleted them before sending. It’s only a matter of time now until I snap at someone who doesn’t deserve it, and I don’t want to do that.
I’m using Mastodon a lot more now, so you can find me on the cybre.space instance there if you want to see the regular shitposting. It’s such an unbelievably better platform both logistically (customisable content warnings, longer posts, locked/unlocked posts) and morally (locally hosted, locally administrated, explicitly anti-Nazi) that I’m going to make a geniune attempt to move there as much as possible this year.
There are a million ethically solid reasons to stop supporting Twitter (and Google, and Facebook, too, even moreso) but this incident really cemented the decision for me to use Twitter a lot, lot less. I’m not sure I’m ready to quit forever, there are a ton of people on there I love, but something needs to change. Maybe I’ll just log in on the weekends, I don’t know. I’m making it up as I go along. But then, aren’t we all?