Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Why I Dropped A Whole Bunch Of Semi-Celebrity Tweeters

Twitter is an interesting thing on a lot of levels. Way more interesting than it should be, really. After all, it's just a massive stream of unrefined short communications that you tap into selectively—and then, very often, just whittle down again.

It's so amorphous as to be only as useful as you make it, and not really designed for the OCD-types like myself. My inclination is to want to read everything someone I'm following writes, but that's only realistic for a smallish number of people. My time being so scarce lately, when I get to Twitter, I focus on the Althouse-lists like Darcy's coffee-hellos or Ruth Anne's FTA list.

Even then, I have to stop myself from paging back, back, back.

I used to follow a bunch of celebrities. Not exactly A-Listers. Mostly comedians, vets and wannabes, and some musicians. But I had—and have—a rule: Mock Palin and you're off the list.

It's not that I'm a Palin fan, though I think she's very clearly an admirable woman. (Also, while I'm damning with faint praise, I think it's pretty clear at this point that of the four of them, she'd have been the most consistently sensible President.) But the smear campaign run against her was the most appalling thing I've seen since Junior High. And that's about the level of it: The cool kids, who are cool solely by virtue of agreeing that they're cool and having the megaphone, decided to hate the pretty newcomer who wasn't one of them.

The levels of the smears were the same level, too. First they went after her for the way she dressed, then they went after her for changing the way she dressed. They fabricated lies to smear her with than echoed them back-and-forth to each other as if they were fact. Their fury, increasingly impotent though it is, continues to rail at this woman who dares to survive and flourish even though she's hopelessly, terminally uncool.

Nobody should understand this better than a comedian. Comedians are almost universally losers. Ostracized growing up. (Maybe not Dane Cook.) Still on the outside of society in a lot of ways.

And, frankly, when I see them piling on, I find it pathetic. It's such a cheap shot.

I forget what it was that Palin had done—maybe the "death panel" comment—but I ended up dumping most of the celebs I followed when they started mouthing off about her. I don't even remember who they are any more, for the most part.

James Urbaniak (who plays Dr. Venture on the inestimable Venture Bros. cartoon) was particularly vile, and not the only one. I almost felt bad for dropping Michelle Collins because she actually pleaded "Please don't drop me" right after her joke. Dana Gould—Jeez, I've always loved Gould's dark schtick, which is almost entirely centered on being a doomed loser, and he, this guy who looks like he's never been so much as camping, decided to take a shot at Palin's grasp of reality.

Who else? Oh, the lovely and talented musician Marian Call. She actually didn't make a comment directly because she's smart enough to avoid those subjects, and said as much. And then...the temptation must have been too much, since she coyly linked to a really gross insult.

Does unfollowing mean I won't be supporting these people in the future? Yeah, actually, it probably does, at least for a little while.

I'm not much for fairness, but the whole assault on the Governor was so unfair as to get my hackles up. And I think this was obvious and blatant, and anyone being honest should be able to see that.

And, come to think of it, I never see comments like that from the few A-Listers I follow. (Kelsey Grammer, Kirstie Alley, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, etc.) I think that confirms my thesis about what's behind the attacks.


  1. I think little self-imposed rules, like 'no eating after 8 p.m.' or 'no drinking before 5 p.m.' are generally helpful. I may adopt this one on Twitter as well.

    I miss you 'there' and am glad that you're making hay while the sun shines and popping in to tweet when you can. The more I know of you, the more I like you. And I liked you a whole lot to begin with!

  2. I see your reasoning, agree with it and yet would add to it.

    I think celebrities who rag on Palin are doing so mostly out of one of two reasons.

    1. They have drunk the kool-Aid: That is they have soaked-up the general disdain from main stream culture and incorporated it uncritically.

    2. They have no opinion about Palin, but are aware she is hated by (to them) all the right people. They want to be popular with the right people.

    Either of these reasons are sufficient cause to ignore anything further they have to say. Both of these indicate that they are followers, not leaders. What is the point of following the musings of people only interested in spreading the accepted truth?

    Especially when the "accepted truth" doesn't seem for the most part to be, you know, actually true.

  3. Good stuff, Blake.

    I get called a "Palinista" all the time for being a little sensitive about Palin.

    You pegged my feelings almost exactly. I'm mostly pushing back against the terrible treatment of her. I'm not a blind follower, nor do I think she's anywhere near perfect.

    I just think enough is enough. You gratuitously mock Palin, and you're gone.

    For the time being, anyway.

  4. Darcy,

    And what I just realized is that of the 200+ people I used to follow, it was only the semi-cleebs doing this. No regular folk, either.

    If you wanna buff your street cred by bashing alongside the cool kids, I think it's fair you lose some with the rest of us.

  5. dbp,

    Yeah, that's a good analysis.

    The shame is, these are generally people who are what you might call content creators. And they cheapen their own output with this crap.

  6. Ruth Anne,

    I've been reading your religion posts and finding myself in the same position vis a vis you!

  7. This post is thoughtful and well written.

    Are you sure you're using the internet the right way?

  8. Yeah, I have to admit having little patience for Palin derision, mainly because it tends to be so lazy and lacking in substance.

    In particular I have little patience for right-of-center folks who position themselves as principalled anti-Palin martyrs, sneering at her (and those of us who support her) whilst chuckling amongst themselves about how brave they are for daring to criticize. More often than not it's just self-serving rot.

    I'm not blind to her shortcomings and am more than ready to be disappointed by her, but I've never seen another politician so ruthlessly, relentlessly and unfairly maligned in my lifetime (including George W. Bush).

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  10. It's less a political thing than a cultural thing -- Sarah Palin has become a sort of "sin eater" for much of what urban pseudo-sophisticates think of us dumb redneck troglodytes in flyover country. I doubt I'd vote for Sarah Palin in an election, but I do think that Palin hatred is a useful barometer for what such people really think of me and people like me.


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