Friday, April 2, 2021

Sometimes Twitter Isn't So Bad

I started writing this blog post before the shooting in Boulder occurred. At the time, the topic I chose seemed more important or at least more relevant than it does now. I'm going to post it anyway, simply because I need to feel like I'm doing something other than work and worry. I've added taking care of my mom more full-time to my list of daily activities, so even though I'm happy to help her, I'm exhausted. I'm so tired, in fact, that in the last week I have put the milk in the cupboard, washed an ice pack in the laundry, showed up to an appointment a week early, and almost served my mom a carton of orange juice after putting a glass of it in the refrigerator. It's hard to focus after everything that happened. 

It turns out that three of the 10 victims in the mass shooting were acquaintances of mine. I also found out that a close friend of mine who is also my mom's nurse right now was there when it was happening. She pulled into the parking lot and decided it was too crowded and left right before the shooter took aim at his victims. There are so many stories like this, close calls instead of the unthinkable. Another friend of mine took the day off but usually goes to King Soopers for his lunch break right about that time in the afternoons. But then there are the 10 who didn't make it and all the witnesses who were there to see it. The community is still struggling to process it all.

One way to come together and help our community after this tragedy is to participate in this event hosted by Lee Troop:

And now for the less important stuff.

Sometimes Twitter can be a great place to hang out. Despite the often hostile environment that's filled with bullies and trolls, there are pockets of humor and inspiration if you look hard enough. I even find a little humor in deceptive journalists complaining about a lack of journalistic integrity, I've probably laughed harder in response to various tweets than I ever have looking elsewhere on social media. Lately, I've been following Holly and her eight or nine cats, especially Smol Paul. These kinds of accounts make me smile, but Twitter can also be a source of frustration, especially if you search hard enough, and sometimes I do intentionally go looking for accounts I know will upset me -- just to see, occasionally to interact, though it's rare to see any kind of debate coming from Twitter's wannabe famous profiles. For the most part, though, Twitter lands somewhere between the bowels of Hell and Fairyland. 

A little while ago, someone I admire and a fellow eating disorder survivor tweeted about a race announcer possibly saying something problematic, but what a contrast it was to the last time someone did this. Apparently, the announcer suggested runners at one school weren't allowed to eat doughnuts. Because it's not a funny statement in any way, people were left scratching their heads, and it was understandable that a few took the statement literally when it was merely a joke, possibly an inside one, that fell flat, missed its mark, and caused alarm instead of the groans it should have. In this case, I can understand the initial reaction of the OP, and I think many other people did as well. 

What's good to see is that nobody called for the announcer's head or tried to cancel anyone. The tweet questioning the event was carefully worded and invited a conversation. The only trolls seemed to be a few angry loudmouths who were criticizing the OP. Her post, though, was focused less on the announcer and more on the fact that doughnuts are perfectly fine to eat. It turns out most people agree, or so I thought. I'll get to that later. 

When a runner associated with the school in question politely explained that the announcer's statement gave the wrong impression about the team and coach, many of us breathed a sigh of relief. One might wonder why anyone would think that a coach in 2021 could attempt to impose such silly rules around food and diet, but not that long ago, there were coaches who actually did make absolutely ridiculous demands on their athletes and created absurd rules for their teams. In my book, I mention a lady whose coach banned her from the ice cream shop, claiming she was too heavy, despite the fact that she was running well and set a school record that lasted about 20 years in the mile. 

If you look at how people responded to the Krispy Kreme free doughnut giveaway, you start to realize how judgmental people can be when it comes to observing other people's food intake. Roxane Gay just wrote an excellent post about this. I can't really add to what she wrote and encourage everyone to read her post and her other writings. The Internet dictators who enjoy policing other people's diet and exercise programs are one of a few ways in which Twitter and other websites get ugly. Sub-elite runners mock the 30-minute-a-day joggers who buy products meant for the pros, and clean eaters frown at those who eat sugar and bread. It's clear to me that this kind of policing and judgment is not the same as an announcer describing an athlete's body. One is fueled by disdain and judgment whereas the other is fueled by observation and often admiration. Because the former is so prevalent and distressing -- some don't even realize they are doing it -- it's easy to see why reactions to comments about doughnut restriction can be exaggerated. We live in a world where finger-wagging at anyone who has the nerve to enjoy a cruller is so common. 

What I really appreciated about the OP who started the "doughnuts are actually OK" thread is that she allowed a conversation to unfold. Unlike those who shut down the conversation by calling anyone who disagrees names (idiot, transphobic, freak, Nazi, bigot, jerk, racist, etc.) or completely ignoring those who have a different opinion, the OP actually invited those who disagreed with her to engage in the dialogue. It was very nice and rare to see.



  1. Pockets of Twitter can be amusing, but inasmuch as corners of the Internet exist where nuance is still valued, Twitter is not among them.

    The most well-intentioned person can start a discussion like the donuts one, and if that person has a significant following (in this case of women runners), it will quickly go to shit no matter the topic. I'm guilty of this, too -- I had seen the webcast and knew the comments were as innocuous as anything can be, and was frustrated to see the matter cast out there in any form to be immediately twisted and litigated to the point of obvious absurdity.

    As you touch on, though, the Wokish people have made everything like this now. If an elite group like NAZ with an obvious and stated commitment to diversity signs anyone but a female athlete of color, it's taken as reneging or insincerity. Any attempt to separate sex categories in sports from gender dysphoria/transgenderism is painted as hatred for not just trans people but the entire LGBTQ community (Strout's latest horseshit).

    Every single instance of behavior that is not a full-on celebration of body positivity, diversity, and inclusion -- preferably at the expense of a white male -- is portrayed by these assholes as a slight or evidence of oppression.

    It's not enough that the harpies control the entire running media as well as running coverage in the MSM, and can therefore get away with nonstop lying, gaslighting, hypocrisy, one-sided blather, and general stupidity; they want the whole thing fucked beyond recognition.

    If they have any stated goals here that relate to actual liberal values, both individual and political, they sure as fuck haven't disclosed them, mainly because people like Wade and Crouse have never found themselves wanting for such things, e.g., access to healthcare, a decent public education, workerrs' rights, etc. This "inclusion" chant is a hoarse cry with no attached goal besides "ruin."

    If you think I'm exaggerating, that other Lindsay, the scowling fat one, has a blog called "burn it down" that at every step proposed exactly that.

    Personally I think running should not be fully in the control of mentally ill joggers with personal baggage and grudges beyond measure. And no, that's not a wholesale slur against "joggers" (I'm one myself now), just the "credible outlet" subset you know I mean.

    They will *never* be happy, which is why I have been busy from the start not standing back and watching them bullshit the world. I think others are starting to figure this out, but who knows.

  2. I think there's a difference between regular Twitter users and the mainstream media, especially the reporting that's going on in the running community right now. The way reporters act on social media, it's hard not to think of the early versions of Lou Bloom during his transformation from creepy photojournalist to absolute scumbag murder. I'm not saying the ending of the movie is anything like what happens in real life, but there's a repulsive nature to how giddy reporters get over tragic stories - Mary Cain's abuse, for example. The attention isn't really drawn to a human voice or a message in the story but to the reporter who retweets the work 500 times and either knowingly or unknowingly shifts the attention to himself. That's why I appreciate people like Mitchell Byars who is sensitive to those he interviews, especially after a tragedy. He amplifies the words of others, not himself. That's no easy task.

    I wandered off course there, but, from the outside, it looks like reporting in the running world is no longer about facts; it's about who can get the most likes. 

    1. Every one of these stories trumpets the writer's placing personal recognition (and often personal, unaddressed pathology) above the concern for the subject and the human beings within. Crouse explicitly advertises this with her goggle-eyed babbling about being one penis removed from Lady Gaga, but the real point is that she was passed over, and this basically informs the work of the Wokisk types: Passed over.

      Notice that none of the SJWs, white or otherwise, says anything about policies that would actually benefit PoC, especially women: Improved and continued access to abortion, expanded healthcare, buttressing public education, opposition to war, the environment (other than quibbling about the ultimate ownership of land). The assholes behind this bullshit already have these things and don't care about one fuckin' thing besides medicating their own MYASSISOOFAT! neuroses by taking sole aim at men.

      If these dumbass harridans want a verbal war instead of a battle with conservative and neocon politicians over actually changing America, so be it. I'm with 'em -- fuck America!

    2. That's it. How can you have any genuine concern for a subject if your main goal is attention? It doesn't matter if you throw a young woman to the vultures by writing an opinion piece that's not well researched or pretend to be buddy buddy with the pros as long as a bunch of likes are on the way!