Trump vs. Twitter: The last word

From Kevin Roose’s “The President Versus the Mods” in Saturday’s New York Times:

As a teen in the early 2000s, I spent a lot of time on online message boards. They were funny, chaotic places where my fellow nerds and I spent hours arguing about everything under the sun: sports, music, video games, the latest episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

No matter the topic, there was one universal experience: On every board, some divisive issue would inevitably erupt into conflict, and an angry group of users — often led by a single, vocal one who felt they were being treated unfairly — would lead a rebellion against the “mods,” the moderators who had the privileges to delete posts, ban unruly users and set the rules of the board…

looking at Mr. Trump as an aggrieved user of a fractious internet forum, rather than a politician making high-minded claims about freedom of speech, clarifies the dynamics at play here. Mod drama is never really about who’s allowed to say what, or which specific posts broke which specific rules. Often, it’s part of a power struggle between chaos and order, fought by people who thrive in a lawless environment.

My take: Speaking as a mod—and as someone who also cut his internet teeth on the early message boards—Roose has nailed it. Who remembers Vic?

See also: Trump vs. Twitter: Apple is happily out of it

23 Comments

  1. Fred Stein said:
    Comparisons lead to endless ‘yeah buts’. There’s a small set of commonality. Compare this comparison is like comparing Boeing to the Wright brothers. The 2 Wrights did not have a public safety mandate. Twitter does. Boeing did and blew it.

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    May 30, 2020
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    Who amongst us has the innate and requisite skills to be the “Arbiter of Truth?” It takes a village at best and a sole individual at worse and still none may know the truth.

    What is glorification of violence? Not a single person in my gym had a problem with the president’s tweet, “looting leads to shooting.” When a group of us gathered at the gym to watch news feed of looters in Minneapolis crash down a Target store to steal merchandise and run with the stolen goods we new poignantly this behavior had nothing to do with empathy over the murder of George Floyd, but everything to do with leveraging the unfortunate event into an opportunity to “steal.” One gal said if this had happen on her property she would have used her guns to shoot the looters. This group understood emotionally the president’s admonition.

    Was the president’s comment a glorification of violence? Some say yes. Some say no. All of us glorify violence when we watch movies containing violence. Acclaimed war movies such as “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Saving Private Ryan” are little less then glorification of violence, yet society says nothing about the inculcation of these films with respect for a culture of violence imprinted indelibly on the minds of young people who view them. We didn’t denigrate Mel Gibson nor did we denigrate Steven Spielberg for making these cinemas. So, why denigrate a president’s tweet warning thieves of possible consequences for their unlawful behavior?

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    May 30, 2020
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      @ Jerry —

      Coming from a man who regularly and wantonly displays a cold, reactionary and divisive heart rather than a warm, comprehensive and reconciliatory one, the “shooting” comment is brazen. A zealously inappropriate comment from a limited-minded man who happens to be the president, just as looting is carried out with the same empty mentality.

      We’re all better than this. Equal shame to both.

      Civic unrest has its place in society and usually is a potent and hard-chiseled cry out of “enough is enough” and to solely encircle the “wrongness” of it completely misses its point.

      Sorry. The correction of wrongs usually starts with a display of passion.

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      May 30, 2020
      • Jerry Doyle said:
        @Kirk DeBernardi: “… Civic unrest has its place in society and usually is a potent and hard-chiseled cry out of ‘enough is enough’ and to solely encircle the ‘wrongness’ of it completely misses its point.”

        Thank you for your assessment brother Kirk.

        Folk with whom I’ve discussed the president’s tweet never viewed his tweet as addressing individuals involved in appropriate expressions of “civic unrest.” They viewed the president’s tweet as an expression of contempt targeting opportunistic unlawful behavioral acts involving theft that had nothing to do with the appalling murder of George Floyd.

        Civic unrest must have its place in society and it is potent as you say until others desecrate the process leveraging unlawful acts for personal gain that has nothing to do with the civic unrest.

        When the news hit initially my circle of friends, acquaintances and relatives’ conversations were on the murderous act of those officers involved. Good civic unrest expressed appropriately would have retain maximum focus where it was steadfastly needed. Unfortunately, the subsequent rioting and stealing for personal gain distracted attention away from the civic unrest and this is why folk in my community had no problem with the president’s tweet targeted at “looters,” and the potential consequences that may arise when people loot.

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        May 30, 2020
    • Frank Pedron said:
      @Jerry – Are you seriously making an equivalence between the presidency of the United States and a movie? That is preposterous even for you.

      Certainly, you are not suggesting that the words and actions of the president don’t carry any more weight or have any greater consequence than anything Mel Gibson could say in a movie!

      As far as the financial difficulty many are facing, I agree it is an unfortunate consequence of the stay at home orders. Most people will recover from the downturn and some will flourish in the aftermath, as has always happened after periods of great difficulty.

      Nobody recovers from dead.

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      May 30, 2020
      • Jerry Doyle said:
        @Frank Pedron: I have no problem making an equivalence between the presidency of the US with the cinematic industry when it comes to the public judging words and actions of each relative to promoting violence in society. It’s the hypocrisy of those Americans who judge a tweet as promoting violence and concomitantly turning a blind eye to violence in the media and its effects on human behavior.

        Nearly ⅔ of films and video games contain violent content, even for children. What we call entertainment is propaganda for violence. Gun manufacturers have no need to advertise because the film industry already does the advertising for gun manufacturers.

        The US Dept of Education & the US Secret Service examined 37 incidents of targeted school shootings and school attacks in this country. Their report-of-findings found over half attackers demonstrated interest in violence through movies, video games, books & other media. Research studies have found significant violent video game exposure effects youth aggression and dating violence. This happens every day in American homes, neighborhoods and in our society. Yet, the very individuals who go ballistic over a tweet will be the ones who turn to media this evening alongside their children and view hours of media content that glorifies violence. Something is wrong with this scenario.

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        May 30, 2020
        • Frank Pedron said:
          So; if I understand you correctly, you’re saying that both the movie industry and the president are inciting violence but that you have a problem with people judging them differently. I’m cool with that. I have no problem admonishing the movie and television industries for the excessive amount of violence they portray. Will you do the same for the president?

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          May 30, 2020
          • Jerry Doyle said:
            @Frank Pedron: “…. Will you do the same for the president?”

            I do not feel the need Frank to apologize for the president’s tweet. Individuals in my gym who discussed the president’s tweet knew clearly that he targeted his tweet to convey potential consequences of unlawful acts. As I wrote above to Kirk B, folk with whom I’ve discussed the president’s tweet never viewed his tweet as addressing individuals involved in appropriate expressions of “civic unrest.” They viewed the president’s tweet as an “expression of contempt,” targeting “opportunistic unlawful behavioral acts” involving theft that had nothing to do with the appalling murder of George Floyd.

            There are potential consequences for people who loot. The president was sending poignantly that message to looters to stop. The president supported the right for peaceful demonstrations and expressions relative to “civic unrest,” until hoodlums hijacked that right to riot, destroy property and steal for “personal” gain. The president then sent an explicit message that this unlawful behavior will no more be tolerated than the unlawful behavior of what happened to George Floyd.

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            May 30, 2020
            • Frank Pedron said:
              Apologize? Nope. In reference to the post you replied to, you might want to look up the meaning of the word “admonish”.

              You asked: Who amongst us has the innate and requisite skills to be the “Arbiter of Truth?” It appears the members of your gym fulfill that role for you and you somehow expect everyone else to accept them as such.

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              May 31, 2020
  3. ‘Not a single person in my gym had a problem with the president’s tweet, “looting leads to shooting.”’

    Your gym is not my gym. But then, my gym is still closed.

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    May 30, 2020
    • Jerry Doyle said:
      @Philip Elmer-DeWitt: Another difference between our respective gyms (once yours’ is open) is no one wears a mask in ours whereas I suspect all will do so in yours’. It is difficult to breathe with a mask on when one is aggressively working out aerobically and anaerobically. We have our temperatures taken. We complete a health form on each visit. We have individual spray bottles to wipe down equipment before and after each use. It’s working out fine; so fine that all say it was ludicrous for it to ever have been shutdown. All we needed to do was implement the current procedures in use. We think God daily that our owners (husband and wife) were able to survive what all viewed as a meaningless shutdown. Unfortunately, there are and continue to be mom & pop businesses and other sole proprietorship businesses go under. They lost their livelihoods; and, some never will get it back.

      There are some very mad folk. They’re not blaming the president. They know the party responsible and I suspect they will show in numbers to vote their outrage this fall.

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      May 30, 2020
  4. Joe Murphy said:
    Thank you for your efforts Joseph, I upvote your gentle reminder for us all to follow your lead.

    I’m surprised that David’s two closing paragraphs, declaring (1) a business’s priority is profit regardless of morality
    and (2) questioning why Apple’s isn’t has gone uncommitted. Why is that?

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    May 30, 2020
  5. Joe Murphy said:
    Joseph, that’s an interesting perspective and one I didn’t get from it.
    To me, it was a clear statement that the priority of business is to make a profit and as such, morals don’t apply. Isn’t that what amoral means?
    Then David goes on to ask why does Apple take a different stance?
    David, if I misread your post, what were you implying?

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    May 30, 2020
  6. Joe Murphy said:
    Thank you for your response Joseph. I respect your opinions and have enjoyed our conversation.

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    May 30, 2020

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