Using Twitter to complain about Twitter is the defining behavior of a committed user, and shows the system itself is operating at peak efficiency. The cranks who complain that the social network “censors” their “free speech” seem unaware of the irony that they trash the company day in and day out while suffering no discipline from its supposedly tyrannical leadership. To the contrary, they often reap engagement and clout on the very platform they’re raging against.
At a certain point, this anger burns itself out — temporarily. The hater realizes it is actually something more like self-loathing, or self-harm. Then, at last, they announce a Twitter break.
Jordan Peterson, a hack guru of the “intellectual dark web” whose best-selling advice book is a lot of junk science about gender and his strained interpretations of the Bible, is always moaning about how bad Twitter is. He has railed against anonymous accounts as refuge for “scoundrels and fiends,” then lamented that he had to see posts from anyone unverified. He wondered if he would be banned for posting that vaccinated people can spread COVID-19. (He was not.) He shared a column by fellow grifter Bari Weiss predicting that Twitter will get “way worse.”
If you didn’t know better, you’d think his hiatus statement this week had something to do with this general consternation. Instead, it was the final gasp of indignation at the backlash he incited by declaring model Yumi Nu, featured on a cover of Sports Illustrated, “not beautiful.”
Peterson was so thoroughly and deservedly mocked for his horror at a woman’s thick thighs that he was forced to conclude, for the millionth time, that Twitter is irreparably broken. What’s the point of having nearly 3 million sycophantic followers if you can’t slag off a gorgeous person’s figure without getting roasted yourself for looking like a reanimated corpse? What is this world coming to? And so he shall take his leave. Or, as the sign-off has it, he is “departing once again” — this phrase a comic admission that this grandiloquent exit is neither the first nor the last.
Cheap philosophers like Peterson are always “quitting” Twitter, denouncing it with smarm and faux profundity but forgetting to actually leave. In the hours after he claimed to have severed his access to the account, he tweeted at least a dozen times, more than once to share content from Libs of TikTok, an account that primarily exists to direct hate and harassment at LGBTQ people. He even promised to deliver an article on — what else! — all the reasons that Twitter sucks.
What really makes this doofus mad is that he believes he has the strength of character to walk away from a website, this kind of resolve being essential to his masculinist critique of “weakness,” yet he completely lacks any such control. Each time he comes crawling back to fight the trolls he says aren’t worthy of notice, he reconfirms that he has no business telling anyone else how to live. Perhaps if he achieved the zen of a seasoned shitposter, the Twitter addict who declares that they’ll never log off because it’s a gloriously stupid public forum, he’d be happier in his helplessness.
Until then, I guess we can keep expecting another goodbye.