George Orwell and Twitter rage…

Interesting post over at The Idler about Twitter rage. In our current cultural climate, opinions have gotten very black and white, you need to pick a side. Nuance and shades of grey have gone out the window to be replacement by mock outrage. To quote the post:

The periodic bouts of hatred directed at public figures on Twitter reminds me of Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate” in 1984.

In Two Minutes Hate, the residents of Oceania watch images of the enemy on a giant screen, and work themselves into a frenzy of rage. Rather like Twitter, no one forces you to join in, but it is easy to get swept up in it, because you want to let other people know that you, also, hate Toby Young, or whoever it might be.

The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blow lamp.

The real point is that hatred directed at a public figure is a distraction from the real stuff which is going on. We should actually be directing our rage at Twitter itself – the very medium which provides a conduit for our hate. The owners of Twitter, an ad sales company, are sitting back and profiting from these outpourings of bile. Twitter has become particularly hate-filled lately, and like most products of technology, started with great promises of liberation and self-expression, and ended up being taken over by the bullies and the rich.

I also happen to think that rather than indulging our negative emotions on Twitter and enriching the digital overlords in the process, our time would be better spent creating, learning and drinking fine ales.

Does a pretty good job of summing up one of the many reasons I stay away from Twitter. If you are not familiar The Idler is one of the few voices of sanity in our modern crazy world, do check it out.

I help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff. My day job is creating websites and software. My personal site is:

  • John

    At last another lonely voice in the wilderness.

  • Robert Whitehouse

    This takes social media far too seriously. The outrage (mock or otherwise) can be dealt with by retaining a sense of humour and responding to hate by ridicule. Toby Young could have weathered the storm (if that is what it was) until the hate mongers moved on to another target.

  • Kieran Hickey

    Twitter can be very informative:

    Ann Coulter

    Retarded Brits mishear “s– hole” as “a–hole” & accuse me of “cursing” on air.

  • Food First

    Well said some nasty people out there

  • People having a platform to voice their anger, opinions and criticism of misogynistic, homophobic upper middle-class supremacists like Toby Young; how awful…

    Wasn’t Orwell an advocate for the protection of free speech, and, by that, I don’t mean just opinions that are placid and likeable?

  • aquifer

    Yep this is the democratisation of the media, and the spewers of bile onto tax-free newsprint are not getting it all their own way any more. Free speech and the online world is open plan political education, and I am learning a lot.

  • jporter

    I was a subscriber to The Idler years ago. A fine periodical. More relevant than ever these days.

  • file

    Twitter itself is not the problem; the problem is mainstream, supposedly grown-up media reporting and running with what the adolescents are pretending to be outraged about … instead of juts ignoring it. If I was a chief whip of any political party, I would be telling all elected members of the party to hand in their twat addresses and get the flock out of there.

    Some of the things described in the article are true of slugger as well, by the way.

  • Social Media is an easy headline maker, which means it is given undue weight. Twitter will hopefully go bankrupt this year, forcing Trump to take up a new hobby.

  • Oggins

    An Twitter explodes again with the most recent local news..