Friday, 9 August 2013

Meaningless Twitterspats.

'All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.'
This was a tweet sent by Richard Dawkins. This has now escalated into a predictable torrent of commentary where one of Britain's leading scientists and promoters of scientific reasoning, and atheist, is being attacked by halfwits such as Owen Jones who retorts,
"How dare you dress your bigotry up as atheism. You are now beyond an embarrassment"
Slightly less neurotically, another commentator opined,
'...some are accustomed to Dawkins being a bit of a troll. But this, in its deliberately obtuse (say what you like, but Dawkins is not a stupid man) baiting, was a new low...

if one is to try to address what Dawkins is really trying to say, which is that Muslims as a unit throughout history have done nothing since the Middle Ages, and that is clearly attributable to their stupid religion, then one must point out that a Nobel prize is not by any means a suitable or universal enough criterion.'
I have never seen much point in Twitter. It acts as an infinite cyberspatial conduit for masses of drivel and pointless statements to be made that need not. It encourages spur of the moment comments and immediate spontaneous reactions that bring out the worse in human beings.

Twitter limits all utterances to 160 characters. It may well be useful to receive hyperlinks to other social media networks. But the very instantaneous nature of it can stimulate flash mobs who try to cause revolutions in Moldova to riots on the streets of London in 2011.

Surely, the whole problem with taking one statement on Twitter and spinning it into an entire pseudo-debate about what he really means is that those doing so are doing exactly what Dawkins wants-indulging in the usual outrage which Dawkins then sees as proof that he must be right.

The only discussion worth considering in relation to this statement is whether Islam has tended to retard the development of science in the same way that Dawkins et al have claimed Christianity did. But Twitter is simply no way in which to promote reason and discussion.

Technology cannot be disinvented but Twitter seems to be a largely negative development. It seems Dawkins uses it simply to wind people up the better to get people to react angrily so he can later pick off the irrational reactionaries and watch the 'politically correct' tangle themselves in knots towards Islam.

It's boring and conducive only to letting off of the repressed hysteria that is boiling under the surface of Britain's supposedly civilised society. There is little that is more tedious than watching bored people in a dull and largely docile consumer society latch onto anything to get their adrenalin kick.

This in itself is far more worthy of analysis than any possible 'message' a Tweet from Twitter could possibly convey. Why can't people just switch it off? Is it really so important to people's lives? It seems to feed online pyschopathologies both in what is sent and with the desire for outrage at something.

There is something weird and deracinated about Britain in 2013. It seems to consist of large electronically linked tribes who are roaming the land in search of an experience that will take them out of the mundane shell of their everyday lives and beyond into a realm of conflict and, perhaps, even violence.


  1. I agree about twitter, and have already dropped facebook as in the states it is quite easy to get in 'trouble' with words others do not like or take literal. As well, it became clear here that the police and even fellow citizens use it as a means of oppression and hunting for ways to get others in trouble who do not 'conform'. As well, if you get drunk and take the piss, Americans do not get it and are easily offended.

    Perhaps, Dawkins, was drinking some wine and shot off a scud twit.

    I broke down today and signed up for twitter, against all my judgment, and certainly will not use my real name nor invite any family, friends, of future people to my acct.

    Simply, as I have been following the Egypt massacre-sit in the past few days, was even up almost two days the first night, I found an American-Egyptian on twitter who was in the main sit in.

    I think I found it off Al Jazeera or Guardian live blog, and do not remember, but I believe he called in to AJE and was saying they were being 'shot' at. As with the Boston bombers, which as it happened live here, people updating web sites (prob twitter too) from the area (and from other states) gathered the news real time light speed ahead of TV news.

    So, I see now, that for 'listening', where you do not even need an account, it can prove useful moving fwd. We can use it to tap in to certain on the 'ground' real experiences.

    I kept this guys' page open, still is, for two days. Strangely, he went silent at one point, when lots of shooting was gone on, for hours, and I actually felt 'worried' for him. Five hours later, he came back on, unaware I was ever there or 'cared', or even prayed for the guy to be safe, he reported, provided foto, he was shot in the arm while cameramen on the stage and near him were killed.

    The next day, I was able to listen to him speak about what was going on, and he even put up fotos, rather disgusting but prob should be on tv too, of burnt charred bodies. He explained how the military wanted to burn bodies so that people could not later determine cause of death. Further, he went on about the bodies in the mosque, and how the authorities, refused to let families get death certs unless they signed cause of death 'suicide'.

    So, I copied his name, emailed myself his acct, book marked it, and then realized I needed an acct to keep track of this as in the future it will become very good source for this stuff.

    If you read this, here is his acct, and you do not need a twitter acct, as you prob know. Tomorrow, is a Friday day of anger.. Be good to have your own contact on the ground.

    Also, they mention the MOI, was going to the mosques, arrived in plain clothes with guns, and forced everyone out 5 at a time, away from the bodies. I was like, MOI? did a search, and its Ministry of Interior. Thus, I think its another way to pick up on things, we may not understand, out country.

    I will prob never tweet, or only a long time from now, or perhaps just to people i find interesting or that almost die, and say 'glad ur alive'. I fear if I am drunk one night I will have Dawkins calling me to be friends as I will make him look nice!


  2. I don't use Twitter because I have no particular use for it. It seems to be used just to allow larger numbers of half wits to twitter off half baked comments. But, then again, blogging and online commentary enables that too.

    But, yes, the danger might be that you could get a bit drunk on the third glass of wine and fire off some a comment that could be deemed 'offensive' to 'community values' and even arrested for it.

    Social media has created a new problem in regard to the connection between words and actions. Just as when one British man was arrested for a joke about blowing up an airport.

    The authorities are getting too twitchy about the 'seriousness' of any comment. Comments become totally decontextualised and can be seen as evidence of Orwellian 'thoughtcrime'.

    But, obviously, the police may well want to sit in their offices patrolling the internet for offesnsive comments because it is easier than actually doing something such as solving real life crimes instead of virtual ones.

    1. Right, I have a two bottle wine problem I picked up in Spain post 'divorce', and Spain drinks a lot of wine anyhow. So, I lived in barcelona, five years without working, and had money from selling house in the states before the crisis fall. If you ever visited BCN, its mad, and Spanish/Catalans have a hugely different world view and culture than the English-US nexus link.

      It was the first time i left the country, in 2000, besides Canada, and I risked everything to stay there, long story. However, from day one, I was like 'wow' there is a whole world out there and I did not know to what extent yet, but, I felt intuitively free from U.S. romantic nationalism and its oppressive world view, which is domestic as well as it is foreign for you guys.

      Still, I am seeking balance just so I do not get in trouble before I leave. I had quite a many run ins here as I had culture shock, and was a bit pissed (angry) and pissed (drunk) while having to start over.

      It is not a joke, i got drunk, and said some angry words to my brother, family thing, and made him mad, and a girl he was 'friends' with, but since i had her on facebook so long, his friend, she had seen many of my drunken geopolitical posts. Mind u, more than twitter but less than write your write, just like critical US scud missiles.

      They actually went to the state police the next morning, luckily my mom called me, and I had time to disable the account, which they lost mid print session printing out things that could make me look 'bad'. What should of been a family thing, and besides him doing such a thing, as he said 'he is crazy since he came back' both for being drunk and for my words and personal struggles coming out. STill, he went to the police, and they mentioned i went to a state univ, and all of a sudden the guy said 'i have a police friend in the force there on campus'. It sucks here, police, real police are embedded in the schools.

      Long story, but somehow it came out that i was going to 'blow up the school', which even he did not say that, as i wrote something about syria, but still, from one to the other, with no charges, all of a sudden police came to all my classes looking for me, and finally when i went back and let them 'catch me' in class I was emergency suspended for implicit 'terrorism'. I was physically removed, put off campus, on a friday, forced to take a pschy eval, etc with no charges. Luckily, i was taking ADHD, to try it out, so had to go to psych for prescription for the year before that, as many students here use it as a smart fad drug. So, i was able to have her fax my sheet saying i am not a threat. I was back in monday..

      Come to find out.. students in my new classes and teachers said they came two to three times that first week of school, showing my foto around, and even drove 45 mins to my moms house looking for me!

      it is crazy here..and very very bad for all post 9/11 which i experienced outside the country, by the tower of london, when i was working in st kats docks.

      It is bad.. Obviously, i never felt good at the school no more, but i now feel, what an arab or muslim must feel. I am white , 42 year old, american male, with no record except maybe a fight as a teen/young adult and they did that to me. I stuck through the year, and graduated, but in the end i kind of told them to fuck off, and they suspended me again, but i tricked them by applying to graduate and threatening to sue or make noise: we agreed to part ways, i can never go back and I never need to as I have my diploma! starting grad school in two weeks.. Also, after being in london, I really loved taking the 'piss', which americans think as sarcasm or rudeness and take words very very literally; so, they were not 'smart' enough to get what i was saying. The people here that is, when i write or joke, but whatever.. lesson learnt! fuck facebook..

  3. By the way, as for people being easily offended, I think a lot of this has to do with the perverse desire or wish to be offended. It stimulates their adrenalin and gives them something to get worked up about.

    Often people positively crave victimhood. It makes them feel righteous and is a key component of 'identity politics' where the political is always and everywhere personal and the personal is political.

  4. twitter, i learned my lesson now, but i am a listener, not a twitter, and do not need accounts of people talking about their life. I am using just for Glenn Greenwald, local people in egypt, etc for hot spots, and even for a congressman who is against NSA Ryden or whatever.. so, i see a great purpose for that.. but as a listener.. I am seeing the power and i can help out too. For exp, as people were trapped in the mosque last night, and outside this morning some reporters were getting chased or attacked, one egyptian, asked 'link for live feed', as he was a follower of a wash post cairo reporter, i was following, so i sent the link. Today, i saw he said 'thanks' as it was live feed to what was going on.. it can be helpful for on the ground tactics etc.. and i almost feel like i am in the mix with reporters and people being reported on; whereby, when another reporter from wall st journal put out an article today: i already knew it all, and saw it as it formed.. as even he was linked to the others and he got beat up, etc.. really strange..but potentially powerful in this way.

    now u understand my name: wordsdontmatter

    ps 'wanting to be offended' well, i came up with one of my first tweets today noting this.

    Glenn Greenwald re tweeted that this Time mag writer tweeted offensive statement about hoping to be able to write one day about assange getting killed in drone strike. stupid, he got back lash, that reporter, 'apologised' in shame, but many people calling for his job. Wiki leaks even put out an offical request..

    i tweeted "overboard asking for his job: passive autocratic reaction. Sadly, Govt does not consider Drone strikes MURDER."

    words are being used as if they have power to destroy people, and socially others are joining in this culture, like the paula deen thing, etc, especially in the states, which seems fun if u feel a victim or want revenge, but it grows to where it becomes a soft form of power and mind control that will leash an evil on all that play or do not play its game. You will see this tomorrow about him.. all from a little tweet. If i was not on the inside of the tweet re tweet fall out, i would just read the paper tomorrow as u will, or articles. Funny to see this crap grow out of nothing and spread like fire, where he could lose his job. I do not think he will but many people have and will.. bad shit. I hope to get to brasil one day, and then get facebook and tell everyone to fuck off. jeje