Tuesday, 13 November 2018

#Twitterstorm


Since the #Twitterstorm I’ve mulled over whether to come off Twitter. It’s addictive. You search out those notifications. You likely get a #serotonin hit when people support your thinking, but the hatred is real and ugly – the ones you ignore ramp up the evil and people like, even love emoji it. During #Twiterstorm, the notifications came fast and furious, from those that agreed with me and those that wanted to point out that I supported rape and child abuse, that JP was stupid and so was I etc. Of course you can mute conversations or block people but this doesn't feel very democratic and negates free speech, but begs the question: How free should free speech be? Are calls for murder okay? Is religious hatred okay? I deleted the first tweet (where I explained about serotonin and hierarchies/the point of lobsters as an example) to stop my notifications being swamped. It didn’t matter, those that cleaved to ideology and ignored the scientific research that they mocked, were only interested in the prof’s scornful response because it chimed with their beliefs. This is not a platform for discussing work that does not fit in with what people want to believe.

But #Twitter can be a place to find information fast (not always from a reliable source) and it can be supportive – kind and supportive comments circulate as well and I enjoy keeping up with the literary scene in the USA as well as here in the UK. I like to encourage other writers and am genuinely interested in what they're working on and how they juggle their lives as they do so. Since the #Twitterstorm, I also learnt to reserve commenting back – even to profs in a huff, and certainly not to the Trumpkins (JP is ‘rapey’) who was being liked by amongst other twits a female GP from Ireland who had also not read him but was screaming about misogyny and other horrors. As far as I can tell, I don’t think JP is a misogynist, I don’t agree with everything he says, and I was concerned about some of his communication of his client who thought she might have been raped but given I don’t know the whole clinical context I can’t fully know how I should feel, though he does not present himself as sensitive enough for me.

#JordanPeterson's work does demand close, even a second reading in order to fully follow. I could #Twitpick about prose, but won't, I am infinitely curious as to why human beings behave as they do and I think he has brought something intriguing to the cultural debate. Online or elsewhere, I would try to (but why bother in some domains?) defend anyone who was getting an unfair rap anywhere based on their work. By all means critique, but know what it is that you critique, unless you want to look like a social justice freak. Given the word 'justice' is inherent in the phrase, #socialjusticewarrior, and given society has people in it coming from all angles, is it not right that people are treated justly and not hung drawn and quartered (metaphorically speaking Trumpkin and co.) by a braying mob before they even get to a seat of justice? Or shall we return to the Middle Ages along with Isis and the gang?

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