Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

Have you ever known someone who is completely oblivious about a topic one week, but then gets super-attentive to it the next because it’s become a major controversy? Really, that’s Twitter in a nutshell.

Funny I should mention Twitter because this week’s Lexicon entry is related to the recent purchase of the aforementioned social media platform by one Elon Musk. I won’t go into the details because a) they’re not really important to the subject matter at hand, and b) I don’t want to relive the trauma of hearing that many Leftists screech at once.

Instead, we’re going to look into a portion of the takeover that isn’t getting that much attention, but it’s become a cause celebre for Leftists. I’m speaking of Section 230, the sexiest title involving technology ever devised. Believe me, I’m talking 50 Shades of Gray hot!

Okay, it’s not, but it’s still an important aspect of internet culture as a whole that has gotten a lot of attention without a lot of explanation. Grab a big cup of coffee, kids. This is going to be a toughie.

Section 230

What the Left thinks it means – an important regulation that needs to remain in force and enforceable to ensure the future of the Internet

What it really means – a mixed bag of ideas in an obsolete regulation

If you want a solid and balanced analysis of Section 230, I can’t recommend Ballotpedia’s overview enough. For solid and unbalanced analysis, read on!

The short version of what Section 230 does is it protects online services from being held accountable for what members of those services say while using them. It also gives these networks leeway as it pertains to what communication they will allow, even if the communication could be considered protected speech under the US Constitution. In the early days of the Internet, these protections were enough. Then again, back in those days getting a 28.8k modem connection while signing onto America On Line was reason enough to declare a national holiday.

On a side note, if anyone wants one of the free disks AOL gave out like samples at a drug pusher convention, let me know. I have 5 or 6 storage units full of ’em!

Meanwhile, back at the main point, Section 230 worked well enough at the time, but as technology advanced, regulation didn’t. I’m sure there’s a government agency somewhere resisting the trend to upgrade to Windows 95. Given what I’ve seen of the various “upgrades” that may not be a bad thing, but the point is expecting government bureaucracy to move swiftly to an issue is like expecting Joe Biden not to screw up foreign policy: it ain’t gonna happen!

One of the effects of the speed of quiet of regulations is it opens up opportunities to evolve without having to worry about someone telling you no. And online culture took that ball and ran with it. I’ve been online in one form or another since the early 90s and I can attest online culture has gotten very weird. And I’m not just talking about the porn! It’s a completely different world these days with people willingly or unwillingly putting their entire lives online with all the privacy concerns therein.

But the one thing Section 230 couldn’t have seen coming was the politicization of online content. Sure, you can still see pictures of kittens or the occasional funny meme, but outside of that is a nuclear wasteland that makes Chernobyl look like Salt Lake City. And when there’s ideological conflict, there are going to be people who will do whatever they can do to win the argument.

Including twisting the rules of the online road.

Twitter, among other social media platforms, has been accused of silencing conservative voices, and you’d have to be a Leftist not to see it. What started out as subtle biased enforcement of the rules to blatant “we write the rules and you can just fuck right off if you don’t like it” enfarcement. I mean, the Taliban had an active Twitter account as of last year, and their accounts promote violence and hatred. But, try to say men and women are different and you’ll get silenced, temporarily or permanently based solely on who is handling the Ban Hammer.

And therein lies one of my problems with Section 230 as it stands right now. When biases affect who gets to say what on a social media platform, it ceases to be anything but a political tool, which the Left sees no problem with as long as they’re the ones controlling the tool. The kicker here? This actually goes against the spirit and the letter of Section 230.

Funny. I think we’ve just found the first regulation on the books the Left doesn’t deify.

This fact inspired former President Donald Trump and his supporters to push to repeal Section 230 altogether. Given how social media platforms lean so far Left they are parallel to the ground, this seems to have merit. Now that Elon Musk has bought Twitter, through, the idea is gaining more steam on the Left, which doesn’t have merit given how they were in favor of reforming it all the way back in…let me check my notes…two weeks ago.

Obviously, this change of opinion is politically motivated because, duh, Leftists, but it reveals a fundamental lack of understanding, not just of Musk’s stated goals, but of Section 230 itself. Section 230 opens with a Congressional acknowledgement that the Internet is a place for political discourse and should be kept open to diverse points of view. Haphazardly applying terms of service depending on how a poster votes doesn’t accomplish that in the least. If anything, it makes discourse, political or otherwise, nearly impossible. Reversing that trend is what is best for everyone involved. Sure, you are going to have to deal with assholes who will take things too far, but I’d rather know where those assholes are so I can avoid them than to play a perverse game of Three Card Monte where the cards are a white supremacist, a BLM member, and a grandmother in Wyoming who just wants to post funny videos.

Where I deviate from the folks who want Section 230 to go the way of CNN+ is the protection of platforms from the things their users say. If some dumbfuck uses Twitter to call for the extermination of redheads, I don’t want to see Twitter called into court to answer for what the dumbfuck says. They should be busy applying the terms of service equally, not lawyering up every time a Twit posts an ignorant screed. Their business isn’t, nor should it ever be, to be the whipping boy for people looking to get a fast buck because their fee-fees got hurt.

Unfortunately, Elon Musk taking over Twitter won’t fix the fundamental problem with Section 230: the out-of-touch Congresscritters who still ask their staffers to find stamps for their emails. The fact no one in Washington has put forward serious efforts to update Section 230 and create better enforcement tells you just how little they care about the problems its current form poses. Now, if they tied it to pork spending back home, every Congresscritter would be fighting each other to get to a microphone and camera to let his or her opinions be heard.

Or, you know, use Twitter. Or have one of their staffers use it for them.

I’m not usually a fan of keeping regulations on the books, but Section 230 has a lot of good things going for it that would get wiped away if we did away with it completed. Beef up the enforcement a bit to keep social media outlets honest (or at least more honest than they are now), add some actual penalties for non-compliance, and have everything overseen by tech-savvy people who can put their politics aside, and we might just be able to make social media great again.

Then we can tackle the real problems in the world, like figuring out if Mark Zuckerberg is a real person or a wimpier T-1000.



Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

This week the Left experienced a great disturbance in the Farce…I mean Force, as if thousands of voices cried out and were silenced. Did they finally see what was on Hunter Biden’s laptops? Did the Socialist Socialite decide not to run for office again? Did Nickelback announce a new album? Nope! Something far, far worse.

Elon Musk bought nearly 10% of stock in Twitter, giving him a seat on their board.

The Leftist meltdown has been a joy to behold because it gives us an insight into how little the Left understands the underlying concepts at work here and how they’ve managed to screw up something so simple. Plus, it’s funny watching Twitter Leftists with hair color matching their blue checkmarks get triggered.

Twitter

What the Left thinks it means – an influential social media platform run by a private company

What it really means – the online equivalent of a SuperFund clean-up site

Now, for the “Star Wars” fans out there, I was tempted to compare Twitter to Mos Eisley (a.k.a. “a wretched hive of scum and villainy”), but that wouldn’t have been fair. Mos Eisley is far less toxic than Twitter and I don’t want their Chamber of Commerce on my ass for comparing the two.

Anyway, as you might have guessed, I have a pretty low opinion of Twitter, and that’s not without reason. The primary reason for this is the multitude of really dumb things said on it that other Twits…I mean Twitter users think are profound and worthy of further investigation. I point you in the direction of the Tweets of Bette Midler, Keith Olbermann, and my personal favorite Cher, among many, many others. Politicians, celebrities, athletes, and political and social movement spew whatever comes out of their pointy little heads and the world can see it. I know sunlight is the best disinfectant, but too many Twits…I mean Twitter users are using it as a spotlight.

Granted, that is more of a personal thing with me, but Twitter’s application of its own Terms of Service is more far-reaching. Since the advent of President Donald Trump, Twitter and other social media companies have taken it upon themselves to act like information gatekeepers, fact checkers, and Internet cops all in one. And they were as effective as the Weekly World News, PolitiFact, and Paul Blart all in one. From holding conservatives ultra-accountable for infractions (real or imagined) that Leftists get away with repeatedly without consequence to out-and-out banning accounts for “misinformation” for the unforgivable sin of providing information about COVID-19 that wasn’t getting covered otherwise, let’s just say Twitter’s track record in applying inconsistent standards, let alone consistent ones, isn’t good.

Then, there’s Hunter Biden and his laptops. Twitter and other social media actively ran interference for President Joe Biden by punishing people and organizations who decided to, you know, pay attention about something Leftists didn’t want to address right before the 2020 Presidential election. But Russiagate and its offshoot Pissgate are given a wider berth than Michael Moore at an all-you-can-eat buffet. But it’s not like Twitter has been slow to restore accounts they erroneously termina…oh, wait. We’re still waiting on Twitter to man up and restore the accounts.

Let’s just say I’m not holding my breath on that.

Having said that, Elon Musk jumping into the Twitterverse and buying enough stock to make the world take notice may turn out to be a bigger blessing than the Left wants to admit. Within the past few days, he has already shown to be an active listener to the users and actively ask them if they wanted an Edit feature added to Twitter. You would think he was handing out free tickets to a Scandinavian orgy the way Twitter users responded. Whether that comes to fruition is yet to be seen, but I’m going to guess Musk is going to bring Twitter into the 20th Century by allowing something Microsoft Word has had since, oh, Bill Gates had a decent haircut.

As you might expect, Leftists aren’t happy that Musk is getting involved in Twitter because they’re afraid he’s going to change the current model, which is “Let Leftists have all the perks, privilege, and protection while fucking over everyone else.” Who knew such a short-sighted approach would have negative consequences? Even the threat of Musk making slight changes to how the Terms of Service is applied has Leftists screaming about how fascist he is. I mean, more than usual.

For years, Leftists have relied upon Twitter being a private company as a defense against anyone accusing the social media giant of censorship and violation of free speech rights. To be fair, though, they do have a point. Twitter is a private company and can write and enforce whatever rules they want. But with that flexibility comes an expectation to enforce the rules evenly. Even with my already low expectations of Twitter, the brain trust there keeps figuring out ways to limbo under them when it comes to enforcement.

Ah, but there’s the rub. Under the current status quo, Leftists have all the power, thus turning Twitter into an echo chamber of Leftist ideas. Even the most extreme ideas are held on equal footing with merely stupid Leftist ideas, all because a good chunk of Twitter employees think it’s their job to promote “right” thinking. Put another way, these folks are the Ministry of Truth in the cyber world. If someone they agree with says 2 + 2 = 5, you had better be ready to Tweet it without question.

That should scare you more than Elon Musk scares Twitter.

While the Left tries to figure out how to hold onto their Ministry, we can enjoy the shitshow for what it is: well, a shitshow. As far as getting a Twitter account or maintaining it, I would hold off for now if only to see what Elon Musk does with his newfound social media power. I wish him all the best, regardless of what he does, because he’s going to need all the good vibes he can get.

But, to be crystal clear, I won’t get a Twitter account until someone adds a lot of chlorine to the social media swimming pool.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

To put it mildly, social media have impacted our culture in widespread and somewhat disturbing ways. One of the cultural areas infected…I mean affected by social media is language. You know it’s gotten too far when Grandma says spells out OMG in response to anything.

After the 2020 Presidential election, Leftists have found a new way to refer to former President Donald Trump: TFG, or The Former Guy. Yes, the geniuses who gave us Faux News (not quite the burn the Left thinks it is if you know how to pronounce “faux”), GQP, and DeathSantis have come up with another term to describe/dismiss someone they hate. Whether it works is subject to how close to the Leftist hivemind you are.

Now, time to put a bit more thought into the term than the Left have.

TFG

What the Left thinks it means – a way to refer to Trump without mentioning his name because it annoys him

What it really means – the new way the Left tries to “otherize” Trump because he annoyed the Left

Back in the days of the Soviet Union, the Russians perfected the art of rewriting history when it came to troublesome countrymen, no matter how high-up they were with the Party. Photographs would be altered, history would be changed, and the troublesome person would be made not to exist. As much as the Left would love to wipe out the last four years, it’s hard since the object of their derisions was so public.

When faced with that obstacle, they figured out the next best thing, at least to them: refer to him as TFG. That way Trump doesn’t get mentioned, but those in the know get a clear message of who the original poster was talking about. In the Left’s hivemind, it deprives Trump of what he wants (publicity). And it gives them a little perverse joy in the process, so that’s good, right?

Yeah, not so much.

Even though they’re not mentioning Trump by name, the fact remains he’s still on their mind. (And, no, that’s not a typo.) I believe the term is “living rent-free.” The more the Left obsesses about Trump, no matter what they call him, the more it’s not going to matter. There’s a new President to deal with, and if your previous attempts to go after Trump are any indication, even a ham sandwich would be able to beat your indictments. There is zero upside to the Left’s tactic here. It doesn’t move the needle to get people to support them, wastes time (and brain cells), and can be easily disregarded by the intended target.

That leaves only one other possible reason the Left refers to Trump as TFGL they want to be communists. Okay, I’m only half-joking about that. What I mean is the Left wants to adopt the Soviet method and erase Trump from history. Using TFG as often as they do, they think it will accomplish that, but instead it will “otherize” him.

There is a tendency among some people to turn ideological opponents into either non-entities or the worst possible people in the world. In either case, the targets of such an approach are “otherized.” Unfortunately, it’s not limited to Leftists. Many politically-minded people do this to characterize anyone who doesn’t fall in line with their political mindset as the next coming of Hitler, but meaner. Sometimes the characterizations are on the money, but most of the time they don’t. That’s the problem with assumptions: they make an ass out of u and mptions.

The other problem with “otherizing” people is it dehumanizes them. As much as the Left hates Trump and wants him to go away, he’s still a human being. A flawed, loud, and at times boorish human being, but a human being all the same. When you treat someone like they don’t deserve an iota of respect, that you detest his or her very existence, it stimulates a darker part of your psyche, one that allows you not to feel anything when something bad happens to them. The Germans call it schadenfreude. I call it being a heartless dick, which could apply to a few Germans if you really think about it.

Seriously, though, “otherizing” people reflects on the hatred and ignorance of the people doing it. And before any Leftists reading this say “But you’re doing it, you hypocrite,” you may be right to a point. The only difference is I don’t hate Leftists. I think they’re wrong and power-mad, but I can’t bring myself to hate them like they hate me for two reasons: 1) I recognize their humanity, and 2) I’m getting too old to hate others. Hate takes up a lot of energy and it gives the person or thing you hate a level of control over you.

So, by reducing Trump to three letters, Leftists are unwittingly admitting he controls them. Of course, to anyone paying attention over the past 4-5 years already know that, but it’s always nice when the Left acts accordingly.

The way to respond to Leftists using TFG is to repurpose it. Each letter can be used to express an alternate and opposite intention. While the Left uses it to refer to “The Former Guy,” why not agree because it means “Trump’s Great, Friend” or “Terrific, Great, and Fantastic” to you? You can come up with your own versions, but by using a little intellectual ju-jitsu, it can turn a negative into a positive.

Plus, it will confuse or anger Leftists, so…win-win!