Two weeks ago I covered the dumpster fire that is facebook. This weekend’s turn is twitter. If facebook is a dumpster fire, twitter is a thermonuclear cesspool explosion of nonsense. I believe it’s a dying social media platform given that people never found a use for it other than to argue with one another. And argue they do. People are regularly threatened with their life (there was an article somewhere a week ago that said there had been 12,000 assassination threats against Trump on twitter alone), people are regularly doxed, and those from the right who become too popular are banned (like Milo Yiannopoulos). That’s really all I have to say about twitter, but I will probably continue to browse it from time to time until its death. Trump’s use of twitter and putting the twitter name in the news is probably the best thing to happen to it.
I recently started following Paul Joseph Watson (PJW) on twitter. I was aware of him before, but ignored him, mainly because I thought he was nuts. But he had a couple of videos shortly after Trump won that were the appropriate response to the left’s meltdown of Trump and the Republicans winning in the 2016 election. One of those videos is here:
“Hey Laci, when you single out an entire race of people for abuse because of their skin color, that’s textbook racism. Fuck you, you racist piece of shit.” The exact words and tone of voice for Laci Green’s tweet that was needed. Another gem:
“Trump being worse than a terror attack that killed thousands of people and led to wars that killed hundereds of thousands of more people? [hide yo wife, hide yo kids man] Y’all are dumb. You are really dumb. For real.”
In the past ten days to two weeks or so, PJW has stated seemingly a million times that conservatism is the new counterculture.
And now at least one “news” source has an article about PJW rebutting his new counterculture stance. As PJW notes, there’s fake news in the first paragraph, as he has not advocated pizzagate (at least I haven’t seen him say anything about it):
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) February 17, 2017
PJW wasn’t the first to say this and it’s been said before, not that buzzfeed is a reliable source of information, but it’s the only article that came up in my lazy google search.
PJW’s counterculture tweets are done to totally troll the left on twitter, and he seemingly admits to it, but there is more than a bit of truth to it.
Believe it or not, for most of my adult life, I’ve considered myself to be somewhat counterculture. Over 20 years ago now, I was an undergrad at the University of MD and was in a class that was both undergraduate and graduate. In this class was a woman older than me (then) and probably in her 30s and, I hate to have to say this given that I’m going to have to say some identifying information, was rather stupid. One day she came to class in the lab before the professor arrived and was walking around to each person showing them her new tattoo, the Chinese symbol for water, on the back of her neck. Everyone said things like “oh that’s really nice!” Then, when she got to me, the conversation went like this:
Her: Want to see my new tattoo?
Her: <showing me the tattoo on the back of here neck> It’s the Chinese symbol for water.
Me: So do you know Chinese?
Her: <gives me quizzical look> No.
Me: So you have someone in your family that knows Chinese?
Her: <giving me a very quizzical look as if she was asking herself why the hell am I asking her these questions> Uh…no.
Me. Uh, ok. Well it looks nice.
Her: <smiling> Thanks!
I figured she had at least verified that it was indeed the Chinese symbol for water. She obviously had not. This was a solid five years prior to the start of the cliché joke that people go out and get Chinese symbols as tattoos that probably say something like “I’m an idiot” without them ever knowing it. I had kicked around getting a tattoo up until that point. Then with that conversation, I decided I would never get a tattoo. During college, it was obvious that, despite what people said, they were getting tattoos to be “cool” or announce themselves as being “different” or they thought it was cool to be different. The problem is, when everyone does the same thing to be different, they’re no longer different.
I never got a tattoo and I’m certainly different. In my age group, racial group, and geographic location, I would estimate some 80% of people have tattoos. I’m not saying I dislike tattoos, or people who have them, some tattoos are true works of art and look amazing on the people who have them. But, the fact that I don’t have a tattoo does mean I’m counterculture when it comes to tattoos. I’m also counterculture in many other areas – I don’t subscribe to the two party political system, I try to critically think, and I try to be proactive, rather than reactive. I also do things like refuse to carry any debt (and never have) beyond a mortgage payment and car payments, if I have them. I also make wildly odd statements (for this day and age) like in my first blog post where I said I hope the President of the United States is successful. I even believe that people who say racists things about white people are…wait for it…wait for it some more…racist towards white people. Counter to current culture, huh?
I remember talking along these lines to a colleague several years ago. He happened to be gay. At some point in the conversation, I had to explain that even though I don’t own a gun and likely never will, I believe in the second amendment and the right to own guns, just like I don’t have to be gay to believe gays should be allowed to marry. After all, the people who founded America believed that freedom of speech was the very first thing that needed to be protected and the right to bear arms the second. The constitution and the bill of rights helped turn America into the leader of the free world. Thus, I don’t believe in the darling argument of the left that all guns should be banned (that’s not a strawman BTW). The fact that I don’t fall along traditional American political lines and refuse to be forced into them makes me counterculture as well. Surely, PJW and his counterculture comments are part rebuttal to the groupthink that occurs on the left?
PJW and the right is indeed a counterculture these days – the majority culture in America is now between left and far left, as some aspects of the original counterculture movement of the 60s have been mainstream for a while now. In some respects, simultaneously being born a straight white male and identifying as a straight white male is counterculture. But the reality is, one just needs to be able to think for themselves to be counterculture. That is an attitude that is opposed to and at variance with the prevailing social norm and something PJW and I have in common.