Moving Forward Happily Without Twitter

I’ve had some time to revisit the events leading up to last night’s Twitter ban because I want to approach this with a clearer, less angrier, and more rational head.

It is often the practice of an inveterate addict to deny his own culpability. And I don’t want to do that here. It would be supremely dishonest if I didn’t offer a more reflective account of where I was at and how I behaved last night.

I am a highly sensitive person who responds very strongly to injustice. And I watched an act of pure beauty — Bong Joon-ho, a wonderful man from Korea deservedly winning multiple Oscars for Parasite, the best movie released last year — become completely sullied and slandered in an act of barbaric racism and gleeful ignorance from Jon Miller, an attention-seeking jackal who is now exploiting his Twitter Enemy of the Week position with unbridled hubris and calculated opportunism. Bong was attacked for not speaking English very well and for addressing the auditorium in Korean. Miller’s callous disregard of Bong as a human and as an artist, taken with his gleeful ignorance, sent me into a piping hot rage. Because this awful man had taken a steaming load upon three principles that I hold very dear to my heart — the power of art, the power of multicultural inclusiveness, and the power of creating opportunities for future voices — Miller’s tweet hit me very much like a jaw sinking its ravenous teeth into my leg. And I reacted like a caribou who had been happily dancing in a forest just before a sudden attack by a ravening wolf.

I realize that my replies to various people in the wee hours, in which I was suggesting that Jon Miller supporters then replying back to me with various vulgarities could serve as seconds to Miller during our proposed boxing match, were very much on the wild side. I had been drinking and, because I’ve lost some weight recently, the beer went to my head a little quicker than I anticipated. While I remain firm about my open boxing match offer to Miller, I’m still nevertheless responsible for the latter tweets, in which I started reciting Guns N’ Roses lyrics to random people. Were I able to respond to them, I would apologize. But I can’t. I can see now how, out of context, the Twitter Police would perceive me as a blithe maniac when we were discussing a hypothetical rather than an actual. It’s another reminder that our world now relates to each other with grandiose cartoonish notions rather than subtle nuances. I’m certainly not discounting my own responsibility here.

I’ve figured out how to put in an appeal to Twitter. Nevertheless, the Twitter ban may be the best thing that ever happened to me this year. Even if my account is somehow restored, and I don’t believe it will be, I do not think I want to return for a while. The irony is that, before my Twitter melee, I was actually getting along with people even in that wasteland. There was a nice sign hanging on the factory floor reading 180 DAYS WITHOUT A TWITTER BRAWL. But that dreadful medium, which preys on dopamine hits and loneliness, has amplified my worst flaws so that my considerable strengths are occluded. That place turned me into a crazed animal last night, much as it turns the finest minds of our planet into insane monsters.

Friends have told me for a long time that Twitter is not good for me. And I suppose I had to blow up the bridge in my own ridiculous and dependably self-destructive way to get it out of my life. But it is now pretty evident that I cannot control myself very well on Twitter, especially when alcohol is involved. The instant rush to be first rather than right. The tendency to destroy someone before you have heard the full story. How is any of this good? So I’m going to move forward with a life without Twitter. I suspect it will be a happier and more peaceful one. Besides, I have an audio drama to finish.

I Was Banned from Twitter for Protesting a Racist Man Named Jon Miller

This morning, I learned that my Twitter account was permanently suspended and that I was banned from the social media platform because I had the temerity to express anger and outrage towards a racist.

A man with a blue checkmark by the name of Jon Miller, a conservative “White House correspondent for BlazeTV,” tweeted an insulting, cruelly disparaging, and racist message mocking the great filmmaker Bong Joon-ho after he delivered one of his Oscar speeches in Korean. Miller’s disturbingly xenophobic words, which are still published on Twitter as of Monday morning, proceeded to claim that “these people are the destruction of America.” This is language that echoes anti-Semitism in 1930s Germany and any number of hate groups singled out by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Words that need to be strongly protested. Even conservative Piers Morgan protested it. Miller’s tweet was rightly ratioed, but thousands of people still retweeted and favorited this vile expression. Miller, in other words, willfully promulgated hate.

As someone who is a big proponent of democracy and multiculturalism and as someone who has a number of Korean friends, some who greatly helped me during a time of crisis in my life, it was my moral duty as a citizen to lodge my protest against this in the strongest possible terms. Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar win for Parasite is not only a historical and artistic triumph. It also rightly sends a message to Korean Americans that their dreams are possible. By any objective standard, this is a good thing and a beautiful advancement of humanity. For someone to shit on this — as Miller did — is to besmirch the very purpose of why and how we evolve as a species.

So I got angry on Twitter. One cannot stay silent when anyone is demeaned and stripped of his dignity like this. But as far as Twitter is concerned, calling someone “a xenophobic, anti-tolerance, anti-art fuckface” — as I did — for expressing such hateful language is “abuse and harassment.” Moreover, there is no appeal for Twitter’s decision. The appeal link that I received by email did not work.

On Twitter, I also challenged Miller to a ten round boxing match to see if he wanted to settle this matter like a man. I did this for a number of reasons. First, I’ve been on a fitness kick and it seemed like a playful way of opposing a racist. Second, my challenge offered a corporeal method of resolving a national cancer that needs to see more resolution in the real world. Racism has long been buried underneath the surface of this nation. And if Miller wants to claim that an entire race is “destroying America,” then let us see if he has the stones to say this in public and in the ring. If Miller still wants to take me up on my challenge, then I will be more than happy to sign up for boxing lessons immediately and get in the best shape of my life. That’s how much I care about fighting racism and intolerance. I’m willing to put my body on the line. It is my position that, when you are confronted with racism, you must not stay silent about it and you have an obligation to fight it.

My playful boxing challenge also falls into a great tradition of writers boxing other writers — seen with Craig Davidson challenging Jonathan Ames to a boxing match, a match, incidentally, that I happened to announce. I’m sure that this probably factored into Twitter’s decision. Still, challenging someone to a boxing match does not involve “wishing or hoping that someone experiences physical pain” — the codex behind Twitter’s rules. The decision to engage in a fight is on Miller. I have challenged him. He is free to take me up on the challenge. I’m willing to put myself on the line and in the ring, but my ultimate wish or hope would be to see Miller acknowledging and confronting and sincerely apologizing for his flagrant racism and unacceptable xenophobia. That’s the goal here. Since Miller proved intransigent on Twitter, I was forced to take him up with my boxing challenge. Even if Miller decides not to box me, then the point has been made. Unable to walk back his hateful remarks, he is revealed for the coward that he is.

What all this does tell us is that Twitter is firmly on the side of the fascists and the racists and the doxxers and the misogynists and the Nazis and the authoritarians. Jack Dorsey’s business model is to promote hate and to block anyone who pushes strongly against it. Because hate and sustaining the status quo of hate and racism is very good for Dorsey’s business model. It’s lining his pockets right now. My words to Miller were no different than the words that got the great David Simon (temporarily) banned in 2018. As Simon put it in a blog post shortly after his suspension:

The correct response to racism, to white supremacy, to anti-Semitism, to slander and libel is to:

1. Tell the fucker he’s a piece of shit and should die of throat clap.

2. Block him. And in doing 1. and 2. you have marked the spot for the sane and sentient on Twitter, much as any good infantryman who wanders into a minefield marks the Claymores for the rest of the platoon. It’s just good soldiering, Jack.

My Twitter ban may very well be a blessing in disguise and should give me more time to practice my guitar and the new set of harmonicas I just purchased. But it is still part of a national disease that is silencing and squelching voices who speak out against hate, racism, and fascism. A few friends texted me this morning about what happened and claimed my ban to be “a badge of honor.” But I don’t see this as honorable at all. I see this as a deep stain against social justice and a blow against fighting for what’s objectively right. I see this as Jack Dorsey willfully prioritizing hate before justice and profit before human decency. But then we all know that Jack Dorsey has no soul. We know that this shallow profiteer met with Trump last year. If he possessed any qualities of actual decency and if he was truly invested in true discourse, then he would understand precisely what’s at stake here. If we cannot speak out against racism and human indignity, then how will we be able to speak out against any other significant human ills that crop up in the next few years? Especially if Trump manages to win a second presidential term and the Senate remains under control by the Republicans. You don’t win battles by keeping silent or by staying neutral against a gleeful hate merchant like Jon Miller. You call them out for the repugnant atavists and venal promoters of bigotry and intolerance that they are. You challenge them to boxing matches if you have to.

UPDATE: This morning, Jon Miller celebrated the fact that Twitter ruled his racist tweet as something that did “not identify any violations of the Twitter Rules.” Twitter, in other words, is clearly in the practice of upholding racism.