Can conservatives and liberals really be friends in 2018?
A dialogue between two former enemies, “Can You Love the Person You Love to Hate?” published by the New York Times, has attracted a lot of attention. The protagonists are female writers who used to spar angrily on Twitter, then found, when they met in person at a conference, that they actually liked each other.
Are there lessons here for those of us who find Twitter combat with hated adversaries a guilty pleasure?
Yes and no.
Bari Weiss is a New York Times columnist who delivers provocative articles often considered worthy of respect by both liberals and conservatives. She brims with common sense, and can be counted on for a skeptical eye when movements like #MeToo, begun in a tone of honourable indignation, drift into mindless righteousness.
Weiss had the courage (some would say the reckless chutzpah) to suggest that even if Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh were true, it may not matter. She argued that a case could be made that a single ill-considered action in one’s teen years—no pattern of such behaviour having been established in Kavanaugh’s history—should not preclude a high honour earned in one’s maturity.
Weiss is also pro-Israel, which makes her a target for abuse as well.
Eve Peyser writes about politics and culture. In an article for Vice, she describes how, intellectually speaking, she was nowhere when she graduated university with a desire to write and had no particular credentials for punditry. What she had was a knack—like other young female writers such as Rebecca Eckler and Emma Teitel in Canada—for turning her own social experiences into titillating journalistic candy.
Peyser self-describes thus: “I was Eve the Nobody before I was Eve the Sex Writer before I was Eve the Comedian before I was Eve the Depressed Girl before I was Eve the Drunk before I was Eve the Feminist before I was Eve the Tech Blogger before I was Eve the Democratic Socialist before I was Eve the Hater…” and so forth.
She holds default leftist views, voted for Bernie Sanders, and “has contemplated purchasing a ‘Free Palestine’ T-shirt.”
With Twitter to disseminate her freelance material, Peyser was able to scoot up a formerly time-consuming, dues-paying career ladder on winged, social media feet. She concedes she felt like a fraud and “empty” as she got drunk on the pleasures of a post that went viral.
With a few years of ever-less satisfying Twitter addiction, along with growing maturity, Peyser realized Twitter had become a far more dangerous site than it used to be: “The internet is angrier and more savage than it’s ever been, and it’s not safe to use Twitter as loosely as I once did. For the first time in years, my impulse to inform the world of all my inane passing thoughts and feelings has fizzled out.”
Likewise, Weiss has run the social-media gauntlet. Except, unlike Peyser, who was a mobber, Weiss has usually been the one getting mobbed. She begins her dialogue with Peyser: “Everything sucks. That’s the overwhelming feeling I get when I spend too much time on Twitter. It makes me feel anxious and angry and amped up. And that’s on a day when I’m not even trending as a Very Bad Person.”
The question is whether or not they really hate each other, or was it Twitter making them feel that way? It turns out that they get along. They bond. Peyser bakes homemade sourdough bread for Weiss, who happens to love sourdough bread. It’s a tender moment. The animosity was all about Twitter. And Twitter is not real life.
Twitter is indeed a dangerous forum. It’s like the ancient Roman Coliseum, where the crowd’s thumbs up can make you a hero, but a thumbs down can have you, your work, your livelihood disappeared.
I myself have lost two freelance media gigs because of tweets—one tweet was about the indigenous grievance industry, and the other was on trans activist overreach—deemed too politically incorrect to go unpunished. (The latter also had me kicked off Twitter for 12 hours and forced to remove the offending tweet. At least I was not banned for life like feminist blogger Meghan Murphy, even though I conveyed essentially the same message.)
So this dialogue between Peyser and Weiss is helpful as a cautionary message to those who think they can blow off steam with impunity, as used to be the case.
Their budding friendship is hopeful. But I’m left pondering the bigger question of whether, in fact, one can really have a lasting connection with someone whose belief system you despise.
The truth is that Twitter has become dangerous largely because of a particular belief system—more Peyser-friendly than Weiss-friendly—which presents a mortal danger to freedom of speech. A space that rewards the most virulent hateful ideologues on the so-called progressive end of the spectrum by penalizing those who resist progressives’ political verities.
Towards the end of the discussion, Peyser says, “The longer I write about politics, the more open I am to being friends with people of all ideologies.” Does she mean this literally?
We should all adopt a more civil tone, on Twitter and in general, when dealing with people whose belief systems we actively disdain. But civility is a far cry from friendship. I could no more be friends with someone on the far left, a social justice warrior who considers white people, heterosexual men and Zionists to be inherently oppressive, than I could be friends with a white supremacist, who considers other races inherently inferior.
In putting a human face to go with their Twitter voices, Bari Weiss and Eve Peyser were able to get beyond their enmity. But I suspect that’s because Peyser has a cultural capital advantage.
Peyser became a writer before she became a thinker. Ideas-wise, she is pretty well winging it. She is a punchy, clever and entertaining writer, but she is not a deeply serious person. If she were, she would have brooded over Twitter’s present stance as a defender of the side she leans toward, which includes a tendency to smother voices it deems offensive.
As a well-educated Jewish woman with a sense of humour, I bet I could probably enjoy cracking wise with Peyser over lunch as well. That doesn’t mean I could ever find myself bonding with Linda Sarsour, even if she offered me pita bread she’d baked herself.
Real ideology implies a desire for action, and sometimes that action holds negative consequences for certain groups of people.
There is a much greater chance of Weiss being kicked off Twitter than Peyser. What good is their friendship if that is the case? The admittedly charming dialogue between these two young professional women promises far more than it delivers (so far). It scrapes the surface of the radically opposed belief systems that have brought America to its riven state.
These women, when face to face, get along well. And there is something of value in this revelation. But I’m left thinking about the lack of political neutrality that made them enemies online in the first place. This remains the elephant in the room.
American actor and conservative commentator James Woods has returned to Twitter, the censorious social media platform that suspended him last year.
The occasion for his return? Woods claims that he was inspired by a recent soundbite by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Woods tweeted: “I’ve tried so hard this past year to live without the wealth of knowledge available on Twitter, but this kind of blazing insight can be found nowhere else, so… I’m back!”
Woods shared a clip of AOC ruminating on the metaphor of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” that went viral earlier today.
AOC said, “This idea of a bootstrap—you know this idea, this metaphor of a bootstrap started off as a joke because it’s a physical impossibility to lift yourself up by a bootstrap, by your shoelaces. It’s physically impossible!”
Many prominent conservative Twitter voices rejoiced at the news that Woods was back.
At the time of his suspension last year, Woods said, “Until free speech is allowed on Twitter, I will not be permitted to participate in our democracy with my voice. As long as Jack Dorsey remains the coward he seems to be, my Twitter days are in the past.”
it’s clear from the instant reaction on Twitter that many are glad that Woods changed his mind and came back to speak his mind.
On Tuesday evening, journalist and Project Veritas firebrand James O’Keefe was temporarily suspended by Twitter for reporting on the radical activities of Bernie Sanders campaign staff.
The tweet that garnered the suspension was a retraction request directed at Dave Weigel of Washington Post, asking him to retract factually inaccurate information about disgraced Sanders staffers Kyle Jurek and Martin Weissberger.
“To prove the inaccuracy our tweet linked to a page found on the Federal Election Commission website showing the ‘volunteer’ was, in fact, a paid staffer of the Sanders campaign. The Post reporter retracted his story. The information we reported is in the public domain, there is nothing ‘private’ about it,” O’Keefe told The Daily Wire.
O’Keefe’s Project Veritas’ #Expose2020 project has been highlighting the radical activities of various Democratic candidates’ staffers throughout America.
Many of these staffers have links to the violent far-left group antifa.
The Post Millennial has reached out to Twitter for comment but has not heard back by the time of publication.
As images and videos depicting President Trump and his political rivals in Congress come under increasing scrutiny by the likes of BuzzFeed and CNN, Twitter has announced its latest effort: cracking down on “manipulated photos or videos that can cause people harm.” In other words, the platform will be tackling political memes it determines to be harmful.
Do memes poking fun at Joe Biden’s bleeding eyes, his confused demeanour, and concerning predilection towards non-consensual touching constitute as harm—particularly if they only affect his reputation as a serious Democratic candidate for President? Perhaps so. To limit this so-called “harm,” Twitter revealed today that it is introducing a new rule and a label to address and “give people more context” around tweets the platform determines requires a closer look.
According to Twitter, which released a video on the matter, altered videos will be labelled as “manipulated media.” Users are encouraged to tap the label, which will be present beneath an edited video or image, “to view info from reputable sources.” One can assume that Fox News, the Daily Caller and other conservative and independent outlets will not be given the privilege of being “reputable,” which is code for the progressive media. As an example, the platform shows how users will be given an “inside look” at how the video has been altered with details on the nature of the edits.
It brings to mind CNN’s investigation into a meme produced by a Reddit user that depicted CNN as Vince McMahon being beaten down by President Trump in a wrestling match. The video, which was shared by the President himself, prompted the cable news organization to dig into the user’s private identity—and even threatened to expose him unless he apologized for producing the meme. As the New York Times reported, “CNN declined to name the user, but said, somewhat mysteriously, that it ‘reserves the right’ to publish his identity in the future if he continued to create offensive content.”
The video was very much in line with the content regularly produced by pro-Trump Twitter users like Carpe Donktum, who BuzzFeed News referred to as “Trump’s favourite meme maker.” For no other discernible reason than to silence him, the news organization doxed the meme maker for his efforts—to no avail. He continues to produce viral videos and has since launched Meme World, a conglomerate of political meme producers.
On a less meme-related note, a video uploaded by Paul Joseph Watson that depicted CNN’s Jim Acosta during his sensationalized physical altercation (if you want to call it that) with a White House staffer became the subject of national conversation after it was shared by the White House’s Sarah Sanders. Members of the press accused Watson of altering the video, speeding it up and adding several frames, per the Wall Street Journal. Given that the video itself was ripped from a livestream and re-encoded for Twitter, it remains to be determined if any of the supposed alterations were deliberate. Whatever the case, it was blown out of proportion.
Twitter claims that this new feature is part of an effort to make the platform “a safer place for conversations.” Well, given their Pravda-like approach to the issue, Twitter will most certainly be less safe for memes and those who make them.
Where is the strangest place you’ve ever taken a nap? Do you think you could sneak in a few minutes at the Super Bowl? We know somebody who can, a video of a man sleeping at Sunday’s Super Bowl is going viral.
Karisa Maxwell, a Sporting News editor is responsible for capturing the footage of a man taking a snooze in his seat during Super Bowl LIV in Miami at the Hard Rock Stadium according to Global News.
“Somehow, this man is sleeping through the Super Bowl,” Maxwell tweeted to her followers. “We’re still only in the first quarter.”
Seen leaning back against the stadium wall, the man is shown asleep in his seat, cross-legged with his mouth open. The man is surrounded by fans all up on their feet screaming and shouting for the game yet the man remained unfazed and unawake.
Maxwell asked her followers on Twitter whether or not she should take it upon herself to wake him up however a friend of the man came to wake him up after seeing the viral video himself.
“He just woke up,” Maxwell tweeted. “Oh no, should I tell him?”
Later, she wrote: “His friend is currently showing him the video. The whole section knows. WHAT DO I DO?!”
Footage of the rather expensive nap got people talking about the price of tickets this year which set a new record this year with an average resale value north of $6,400 USD according to CBS News.
“You gotta be rich to spend $1,500 plus on a Super Bowl ticket just to sleep at the game,” one user tweeted at Maxwell.
“My man just wanted some time away from his kids,” another person said.
Several people applauded the man for his impressive ability to get some shuteye amidst a stadium of roaring fans.
“No sleep mask. No earplugs. No weighted blanket. Pure talent,” wrote user Valerie Marissa Michaels, adding the hashtag #Respect.
One can only wonder if the man managed to snooze through the half time show with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez but as one Twitter user wrote, “Napping while watching football is very relatable to me,” one individual tweeted. “When you gotta nap, you gotta nap.”