Don’t Think of an Elephant

I’m sticking with Twitter for as long as I can for the simple reason that I have a much larger and more varied following there than I can imagine building anywhere else. It’s possible that the place will implode or vanish, but what feels more likely is that it will simply fade from significance as it becomes not only more subject to but also more about its owner, who is not only a self-obsessed fool but, fatally, a boring, self-obsessed fool. It’s not really about the naked and inadvertently hilarious restrictions he places, week to week and hour to hour, on what he persists in misnaming “free speech.” It’s not even about the return of Nazis, because as far as I can tell they never really disappeared. Certainly, race science aficionados who can modulate their tone even a little, like fascist-wannabe purgers of universities and schools, have been a constant presence. It’s more that Elon just does not have either the imagination or the personality to repay the attention he requires of those who use his platform. He is repellent; but, above all, he is tiresome. And he is the main character on Twitter every damn day.

All the same, at least for now, there’s nowhere better to go. Mastodon — where I do have an account — is smaller in every way. I may post there more eventually, but I don’t see it replacing Twitter, or even replacing academic Twitter — and neither, more importantly, do many of the people I follow. Facebook, at its most expansive, is for picking fights with people your cousin knew in high school. I don’t know that it makes sense to add another Substack to the crowd, or that I could sustain one given my present commitments even if it did. And I just can’t see myself on Instagram. (But then again, ten years ago I couldn’t have seen myself on Twitter, so who knows.) What I will be doing — fair warning — is moving some of the Twitter content that I don’t want to lose over to here. I can’t face downloading all of my tweets; no one should have to see that, not even me. But there are a couple of threads, on the same kind of thing I used to do more of here, that I’d like to hang onto, and perhaps work into full-fledged blog posts. So stay tuned, or tune out, as you choose.

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