Skip to main content

Matt Christman on Twitter Politics

I've been meaning to write something about how politics is conducted online, but in the latest episode of Chapo Trap HouseMatt Christman hit most of what I was going to say, only better. He meditated on the fact of hundreds of people (both Clinton and Sanders partisans) taking this tweet seriously:
Here's Matt:

"Politics in America is dead as a part of your life. We think of politics all the time but it's generally as this spectacle we absorb. We don't have a praxis, as they obnoxiously say in Marxist lingo. There's nothing we do on a day to day basis that constitutes making a political choice and asserting political ideology. We observe, and then we spout off online.

"What happens is on the internet, specifically on Twitter, is millions of people — fans of every candidate — basically have volunteered themselves to be part of the rapid response crew of a given campaign. They're going to respond to everything thinking that they're helping — having the psychic satisfaction of thinking that they're helping the campaign.

"And because Twitter is this fucking insane asylum of undifferentiated, context-free streams blasting into your face, it strips your ability to do any kind of rational, balanced analysis of things, any ability to challenge whether it's true.

"So you just become this raw nerve of response. You just have to reflexively respond to any stimuli, in this way that's instantaneous. That, I think, is the generator of a lot of this shit. It's not coordinated — it doesn't need to be. It's basically the pent-up and unexpressed, frustrated political will of millions of people being jizzed out onto the internet at the same time."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha

The Conversational Downsides of Twitter's Structure

Over the past couple years, as I've had a steady writing job and ascended from "utter nobody" to "D-list pundit," I find it harder and harder to have discussions online. Twitter is the only social network I like and where I talk to people the most, but as your number of followers increases, the user experience becomes steadily more hostile to conversation. Here's my theory as to why this happens. First is Twitter's powerful tendency to create cliques and groupthink. Back in forum and blog comment section days, people would more often hang out in places where a certain interest or baseline understanding could be assumed. (Now, there were often epic fights, cliques, and gratuitous cruelty on forums too, particularly the joke or insult variety, but in my experience it was also much easier to just have a reasonable conversation.) On Twitter, people rather naturally form those same communities of like interest, but are trapped in the same space with differe