If this is the only statement to survive the apocalypse, it will nonetheless be enough to explain the people we were — and how we failed.
In January, with virtually no idea what mind-bending tortures awaited in the months to come, I created a spreadsheet titled “Best Tweets of 2018,” thinking I’d get a couple of easy and successful posts out of it. When June rolled around, my editor did mention a short-term Twitter retrospective, so I opened the spreadsheet to see what I had to work with.
There was only one tweet in there: the single good tweet of 2018. Posted barely a week into the year by country-music legend Charlie Daniels, it turned out to be a harbinger of all the gobsmacking stupidity we’ve endured since then.
An elderly, conspiracy-obsessed, 100 percent racist musician going after a Mexican fast-food chain for invoking a shadow world order in an ad for $1 breakfast burritos tells you everything about where America is at right now.
We are a nation held back by a cabal of confused old white guys who think Sean Hannity can hear them when they talk back to the TV. A slowly dying, cholesterol-encrusted generation that touts their phony patriotism while saving true allegiance for the Confederate flag. Fucking of course Charlie Daniels, that human bucket of pre-chewed pork rinds, thought Taco Bell was making light of a real-life “international mafia-like organization” behind insidious schemes like Obamacare and the United Nations.
Right out of the gate in 2018, conservative dementia became the year’s defining flavor.
For that reason, the Illuminati tweet was a brilliant masterstroke, ably defining the current far-right position of fear-mongering over totalitarian threats while pointedly ignoring those new concentration camps for children.
Finally, it was delivered by a dim celebrity archetype of resurgent white supremacy, a dude who shills so hard for the NRA they gave him a pistol emblazoned with gold patterning chosen by Charlton Heston himself, a quasi-sentient 50-gallon cowboy hat still assuring nearly a million social media followers that “Benghazi ain’t going away!” What makes him say these things? Some disease we’ve all contracted by now.
That’s why I cannot consider any other tweet among 2018’s “best.” None has touched the sublime, Lovecraftian madness of Charlie’s. Guy didn’t even @ the company he was bitching about.