It happened down in Birdland

17 10 2018

Twitter ain’t all bad.

It ain’t all good, either, but I have discovered something tremendously useful: how not to say anything.

Now, many of you may have learned this particular lesson oh-so-long ago, but it’s one that took is taking me awhile. I mean, I once introduced myself as someone who “has lunch and opinions.”

I don’t necessarily have to opine on every little thing, but if I don’t know something, then I’ll jump right in with the what’s-its and how’s-its and whatnot; if I don’t have answers, I can at least have questions.

But on Twitter I am uncharacteristically quiet. I retweet often but comment rarely, and when I do tweet something, I try for shorter rather than longer. And if I’m uncertain of whether or not to tweet, I don’t.

Me! Not saying something! That never happens.

I don’t necessarily fill every space I’m in with words, but it is the case that if I’m in a group and I go awhile without saying anything, others will comment on it. It’s nice sometimes just to listen, but I also feel as if I’m not showing sufficient interest in others if I don’t say something—anything—at some point in the conversation.

But on Twitter? Nobody knows I’m there, so nobody cares if I’m piping up or not.

Also, while I can be witty, so can everyone else, and they’re all quicker on the Send than I am. When that happens, which is almost always, I don’t need to chime in with the same note.

So I simply enjoy hanging out in the blue bird’s unruly parlor, letting whatever comes, come, and letting everything go, too.

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Like a bird on a wire

24 06 2016

So, I’ve been on Twitter for a minute and my impression thus far is: huh.

I thought the problem would be that I’d be constantly chattering away, constantly trying to get both the first and last words, and constantly hung up in this spat or that.

Not what’s happened.

Oh, I’ve jumped in here and there, but, mostly, I’m just listening in. I have almost no followers (which is a) not a surprise, given my relative silence; b) yeah, an ego dent; and c) probably for the best), but am slowly building a roster of people who I want to follow.

And that’s where the “huh” comes in: While most (not all) of the people I follow are on the left, they’re not all left in the same way. In particular, I follow a number of bloggers who are black, which means I’m not only able easily to eavesdrop on conversations of which I otherwise might not even be aware, I’m also able to see how those conversations play out.

That’s key: I’m certainly used to reading and hearing black (and Latino and Asian) voices in the media, but, for the most part, these are media saturated in whiteness. I don’t mean white supremacy—The Atlantic, whatever its faults, is not a vehicle for supremacism—but that the story choices and the readership are largely white.

Black Twitter writes for itself. It’s not that the conversation is confined to black people, but that the microphone is located firmly within black America, and passed around to other black people. I can listen in, but whether or not I do so is rather besides the point.

This is not a surprise. I mean, any white person who’s ever heard a Chris Rock performance knows that how black people talk amongst themselves is not how they talk with white people. But even as someone who is not completely clueless about the existence of black culture, it can still be a smack upside my head to see, in real time, it’s not all about me.

And that’s bracing, in the best possible way.





When they ask me, “What are you looking at?”

26 05 2016

So, two months with the smart phone, and. . . all right, it’s all right.

Mostly, because I’m paying less with this phone plan than I did with the last one, but also, those weather and MTA apps are pretty darned convenient. And it’s nice that my friends are no longer harassing me to, y’know, get a smart phone.

Oh, it’s also useful for another thing: Twitter.

I’d read tweets online, Twitter-er by Twitter-er, but with the Twitter app, I’m just reading them as they all come up. And while I thought I would find tweeting addictive, it’s actually the reading of tweets that I can’t quit.

It’s mostly a nifty diversion, a few minutes here and there (and, yeah, here and there and here and there) to check Jamelle Bouie and Jeet Heer and Dick Nixon (who’s far more entertaining dead than he ever was alive), and, occasionally, to plink out a few thoughts of my own. Harmless, mostly.

But, it must be said, people can also be really fucking stupid and mean, too. I know: shocking. I’m not talking about the racists and anti-Semites and misogynists (who litter others’ feeds), however, but the puerile shit tossed around by and at folks on the left side of the line—not least over who “deserves” to stand left of center.

I am adamantly not a boundary enforcer. Yes, I can perhaps see some small point to having someone patrol the line, but ye gads, only if that patrolman or -woman is unarmed and otherwise unable to do much but yell “Trespasser!”

Left Twitter is full of boundary cops, they’re all armed, and they want nothing better than to hold you up and demand the secret password, and to shoot if you can’t be bothered to mouth the right words.

It is contemptible, and exhausting.

My fatigued disgust (or disgusted fatigue, take  yer pick), is almost certainly because I am old and crabby and do not have time for this shit. Yes, when I was younger I would have FUCKIN’ LOVED to have jumped into every single feed and fight and throw punches and stomp and whoo-hoo!

I think. Maybe.

Or not. You see, when I was high-school young, I WAS the leftist, and if I fought (using my words, not my fists), I fought with the guy who was conservative. There weren’t that many people in my high school who cared about politics at all, so it’s not like there were a lot of people on my side I could go after (or who could go after me) for insufficient purity.

College? Well, plenty of leftists and liberals, but even there I don’t recall much interest in calling out others for their insufficient commitment to The Cause—and not a little irritation when I was called out. I don’t know, maybe it’s just not in me.

The boundary patrolling, I mean. Fighting the right? I’m all over that.

And that, in the end, is what I’ll do. As I said, I’m old and tired and have only a limited amount of energy to hoist up my rifle and take aim, so I’m not going to waste that energy taking potshots at folks more-or-less on my side of the line.

Especially now—not with an orange-colored Stay Puft Marshmallow Man about to stomp his way across the country.





I hate you

24 12 2015

Oh my fucking Zeus do I hate Twitter right now. NOT WORKING!

That’s under 140 characters isn’t it?

Fuck. I have to finish grading, but I sure as I hell don’t want to look at papers when I am this fucking aggravated.

I can’t believe that after all my to-ing and fro-ing regarding this stupid platform that I’m still trying to work with its sorry fucking ass.

Fuck fuck fuuuuuuuck.

Oh, fuck.





Pop goes the weasel

9 12 2015

I finally gave in and joined Twitter.

Initial response is not favorable.

It says I need to confirm my email address, but won’t send me the confirmation. The FAQ on this issue sends me in a circle. I can’t upload a profile photo; the FAQ doesn’t address the issue I’m having. This second issue may be related to the first, but I have no way of knowing this.

Now, I know I can be increddddddddibly tetchy beginning something new and unable to process even helpful help; that is, there may in fact be helpful help in the FAQ, but all I’m seeing are heaps of unhelpfulness.

Anyway, I’m sure I will, eventually, figure it all out, and my fears about Tweets-as-Pringles will in fact be realized.

Today, however, Twitter is as appetizing as a dead possum on hot asphalt.





Wait wait wait

20 05 2015

Two things:

1. The reasons I want to be on Twitter are the reasons I shouldn’t be on Twitter.

2. Want to make something relatively small relatively big, and then small again?

Easy: Don’t do that small thing, day after day after day, until it looms so large that you can’t not do it, after which it shrinks back to smallness.

Bonus thing! Delay checking enrollment on your summer session-I course, and then, upon finding out it’s so low it likely will be cancelled, think, Huh, guess I should put up a freelancing ad, and then not do it.

You know, on the off chance that in the next 10 days enough students will sign up and everything will be all right.

Because nothing like doing nothing to make sure everything will be all right.





You thought you’d try a little danger

9 07 2014

Ohhh, I’m so lucky I don’t have a smartphone.

If I had a smartphone, I’d be on Twitter, and if I were on Twitter, I’d never leave.

I’m not at all tempted to join Facebook (ha!), but I see Twitter as a kind of endless cyber-can of deliciously salty Pringles.

The only defense I have against deliciously salty Pringles is not to buy them. If I have them in the house, I scarf them all down in one or two (sometimes—rarely—I can stretch it out to three) days, after which I tip the can back so I can suck in those  remaining splintered bits.

So, Twitter=Pringles—only in this case it would be the tweets I’d write rather than consume that I’d find so addictive.

Women shouldn’t have sex. . . with people who think women shouldn’t have sex.

Brand loyalty is for suckers.

Know where you live, live where you are.

These aren’t bad, really, but I often think I’m more clever than I am, and could see myself dropping  line after line thinking each were a bon mot, when really they’d be less literary than littering.

Which would be embarrassing, but even worse would be that I’d have yet another distraction from my work: instead of thinking, I’d be twinking.

*Uhkf* It’s gonna suck when my dumb phone dies.