If You're Still on Twitter, 'You Know You Shouldn't Be'
"It's a toxic place run by a toxic person and everyone knows it now.”
There was an episode of PJ Vogt’s “Search Engine” podcast a few weeks ago in which he interviewed Ezra Klein about navigating the world as a journalist without using Twitter anymore. It’s an instructive episode, and I have seen a number of references to it from other online writers. The most salient quote from Klein on that podcast about Twitter is this:
"I think the Twitter conversation's over. I think if you're there, you know you shouldn't be, and you've known it for a long time. And if you're a member of the media STILL running around Elon Musk's Twitter adding value because you can't find another way to do your job ... I think you know that you shouldn't be there anymore ... It's a toxic place run by a toxic person and everyone knows it now.”
I’d already left Twitter for the most part. We have an account that auto-tweets our posts, but I rarely personally visit, and when I do, it’s only to see if someone is mad at me. I’ve considered deleting it, but I don’t want Elon selling off our inactive account. However, I did stop following almost everyone so as not to tempt myself to return. I deleted it from my phone and deleted all my bookmarks. It’s proven much easier to leave than I thought (it helps that I’m trying to make Threads happen). The number of blood pressure spikes I experience per day has been cut by 80 percent. Moreover, as an online writer, I’m not missing anything because there is nothing worthwhile on that platform to write about except its demise.
Still, if I hadn’t already left, the Search Engine podcast would have pushed me over. Twitter is done. It’s been done for a long time. Continuing to visit is like a phantom limb — you keep trying to find what was once useful about the site, but it’s no longer there.
Even after Twitter had cratered, there was still some value to online writers, at least in documenting the continuing descent of Elon Musk and the demise of Twitter. But no one cares about him anymore. It’s like the indictments against Trump — it could be 91 or 391. It’s all bad.
Nevertheless, Elon Musk managed to hit a new low this week. In the midst of the Israel/Hamas war — when Islamophobic hate speech has increased by 400 percent on X and antisemitic hate speech has increased by 900 percent — Elon Musk amplified a post that is about as antisemitic and racist as they come.
It started when a Jewish man on X posted a video that took issue with online users posting, “Hitler was right.” The caption on that post read: “To the cowards hiding behind the anonymity of the internet and posting ‘Hitler was right’: You got something you want to say? Why dont you say it to our faces … ”
In response, another user posted that Jewish communities “have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them … I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest shit now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much.”
Elon amplified the post by agreeing. “You have said the actual truth.”
He added later in the same thread. “The [Anti-Defamation League — a Jewish nonprofit dedicated to rooting out antisemitism] unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel. This is because they cannot, by their own tenets, criticize the minority groups who are their primary threat. It is not right and needs to stop.”
To be clear, he’s being both antisemitic and racist/Islamophobic/xenophobic. He’s saying, “It’s so dumb! Why don’t Jews join white people in attacking our mutual threat: Other minority groups?” That’s not just antisemitic. That’s white supremacy.
Soon thereafter, “The Jews” began trending on Twitter.
If you’re there, “I think you know you shouldn’t be. It’s a toxic place run by a toxic person and everyone knows it now.”
(As always, even on Substack, we use images of Lee Pace in lieu of Elon Musk, with apologies to Lee Pace. We haven’t written much about Musk lately, which we don’t apologize for, but we do apologize for the lack of Lee Pace in our lives).
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