Archive for category: Blog

Fare thee well, scrotelicks.

03 Jul
July 3, 2018

Once again — and this time with some expectation — I find myself banned from Twitter by virtue of an algorithm that protects, whether by willful intent or by incandescent stupidity, all manner of slander and brutality while policing only deserved insult. On this, perhaps my final go-round with the platform, the offense is as intended: I have, in my very critique of the Twitter rules, insulted its CEO, Jack Dorsey. I told him, in slightly more creative language, to drop dead.  Yes. I told him to take a long walk off a short pier, or grow like an onion with his head in the ground, or go jump out of a plane without a parachute. But in my particular case, I used the Yiddishkeit of my grandfather. I told him to die of boils.

That’s it.  That’s what I did.

And I will confess I find it harder and harder to believe that Mr. Dorsey or the others engaged in regulating speech on his horror-show of a platform are unaware that their detached and dystopic vision of what is responsible speech and what is in fact crippling to our republic is not a solution. Having given us Twitter, they are in this moment, ruinous to its best purposes. They are ignoring the abuses of truth and the willful spread of disinformation by prevaricating trolls and anonymous bots and instead planting their flag against mere insult.

It is a rigged game. And a dishonorable one.

As employed, the Twitter algorithms result in the most vile, rancid and fraudulent provocations and claims  — “You’re a Jew. Go back to Israel or find an oven,” “Women at the border are criminals and their children should be confiscated,” “Anthony Bourdain was murdered by the Deep State,” “Trump never called journalists enemies of the American people” — being granted a de facto equivalence with the responsible attempts to combat the disinformation. What results is the standardized 1935 dynamic  in which the most untethered facsist claims or affronts — the Big Lies, as Goebbels dubbed them — can exist on the same footing as the reply. (“No, it is false and unfair to say that Jews are parasites who drink the blood of Christian babies…”) 

When the worst of what is allowed to live on Twitter can only be parried with contradiction or denial — with self-defeating threads of thoughtful, dry evidence — then it grants, to very real effect, the the worst trash a premised credibility. No, the proper response is to call this shit by its true name, and the purveyors of such by their true names, and then block their accounts — neither allowing slanders and lies to stand unmolested, nor granting them the validity of serious debate. In doing so consistently, we might all work as pathfinders through the social media minefield, marking every hazard for the rest of the platoon.

But for its part, Twitter finds too much profit in the slander — almost all of it by anonymous posters. It stands ready to manicure the decorum only on its platform, while employing standards that allow all manner of fraudulent content to remain intact. At this late point, it is hard not to argue that the  rhetorical framework of the entire platform — as disastrous as it is  — is by design. This seems to be what you shitmuzzles want.

The supposedly offensive remark that ends me is highlighted in bold below. Hilariously, it is embedded in the original thread of complaint I posted to Twitter upon my return from their gulag a couple weeks ago. For the obvious reason that it constitutes neither harassment nor a threat, and is not even a credible example of someone seriously hoping actual harm on anyone, I’m not going to delete the tweet as demanded. The rhetoric is justified entirely.  And so, I can assume, this decision ends my time on Twitter:

1) @jack @twitter, @TwitterSupport: Still waiting for a cogent explanation of why the common rhetoric of telling assholes to drop dead is prohibited on your shithole platform. But allowing said assholes to slander women who have had children kidnapped is fine by you…

2) Still waiting, @jack, for an explanation of how telling assholes who slander 14-year-old Holocaust survivors they should drop dead is impermissible, but the slander is allowed to repeat itself for months on end on Twitter.

3) Still waiting, you fuckmooks, for a human intellect to engage me directly and forthrightly about the fact that I was obliged to remove posts that I can in every way defend in order to even register a complaint or appeal of a suspension.

4) Still waiting for you to either restore those posts or provide any response to your conduct, which includes barring me from commenting on the death of friend, while some shit-troll remains on Twitter unmolested, declaring – unevidenced – that the death was a political murder.

5) I’ve given you two patient weeks, @jack, to engage in any coherent, honorable and intellectually honest way with the substance of my appeal of a 01110011101-brained conceptualization of rhetoric that honors slander and falsehood but cannot somehow abide mere insult. Nothing.

6) The fact is, your algorithms and your ethos here are just fecal. And when the history of this awful American epoch is written, the tone-deaf abdication of fundamental ethics by social media platforms will be an overlay to the disaster. You are failing us all miserably.

7) And what is evident, @jack, is that while the giants of our digital revolution are masters of the universe when it comes to the technical challenges of the information age, they are — by and large — moral midgets when it comes to the ethics and responsibilities of speech.

8) And, oh yeah, no need to hide behind your horseshit cowardice that privacy concerns prevent you from discussing or defending in detail Twitter’s actions with regard to this extant overreach by your algorithmic submoronity. I hereby relinquish any expectation of said privacy…

9) I’d be delighted to debate and discuss this abject failure by Twitter openly with any representative of this soulless platform provided an actual human can be engaged. But I have no expectations, @jack. The remote gutlessness of this one-sided dynamic is no bug, but a feature.

10) So, die of boils, @jack. Yup. There it is. The sum total of my crime against Twitter. I’ve told you to drop dead, as I told libelers and liars to drop dead. You can say that constitutes a threat, but that would be empty and embarrassing. I hold no dominion over life & death.

11) Just as I lack possession of any biological agent that could cause a venereal rash to settle in the throat of a lying fuckmook who is saying that a woman who has had her child kidnapped is a criminal who deserves that fate. These are not threats, you gutless wonder…

12)…they are insults. As I am insulting you now for providing a continued platform for trolls and bots who peddle this shit, or the notion that teenaged Holocaust survivors can be libeled, or that my friend Tony Bourdain was murdered to advance the politics of the alt-right…

13) I have not encouraged anyone to violence, or doxxed anyone, or suggested any act of human intervention against anyone. Nor can you claim that I have harassed a single troll or bot; I fire one and block the motherfuckers. Hardly the stuff of harassment, @jack.

14) Yet, this is where you draw the line? Really? @jack, @twitter, @twittersupport. Please reinstate my removed tweets. And if that is too much for you beshitted hypocrites, then shut down my account and run screaming into the night because, well, dead you mooks oughta drop.

15) But let the record show, I waited a full two weeks after my suspension, and a week after my reinstatement, to give you hollow fuckstumbles a chance to engage fairly with the appeal that I forwarded to you as directed. Nothing. Nada. Not a word back. Fuck all y’all.

To conclude, I never received a single reply either online or to the provided telephone number from anyone at Twitter. This is all just useless yelling into Jack Dorsey’s shallow money trench where, to paraphrase Hunter Thompson, good men die like dogs while slanderers, liars and bots run free.

It’s been fun, you scrotes.

Peace,

David Simon

 

 

 

Bourdain

08 Jun
June 8, 2018

I am trying to find words for my friend. I will post something here later if they ever come. For now, just know how much Tony Bourdain — for all his wit and sharp edges, for all his grandiose and larger-than-life persona — was a genuinely good man and careful colleague. And that doesn’t begin to express how empty the world feels this morning.

 

***

Also, I have been banned from Twitter, and as I am at this moment indifferent to removing the tweets they insist are violative of their rules, it is unclear when I will return to that framework.  So I’m hoping that if I post anything remotely meaningful about Tony, others will do me the favor of linking it beyond this digital cul de sac.

Suffice to say that while you can arrive on Twitter and disseminate the untethered and anti-human opinion that mothers who have their children kidnapped and held incommunicado from them at the American border are criminals — and both mother and child deserve that fate — or that 14-year-old boys who survive the Holocaust are guilty of betraying fellow Jews when there is no evidence of such, you CANNOT wish that the people who traffic in such vile shit should crawl off and die of a fulminant venereal rash. Slander is cool, brutality is acceptable. But the hyperbolic and comic hope that a just god might smite the slanderer or brutalizer with a deadly skin disorder is somehow beyond the pale.

Die of boils, @jack.

Seriously.  As far as I’m concerned, your standards in this instance are exactly indicative of why social media — and Twitter specifically — is complicit in transforming our national agora into a haven for lies, disinformation and the politics of totalitarian extremity. The real profanity and disease on the internet is untouched, while you police decorum.

 

Interview in Spain with regard to the proposed Abraham Lincoln Battalion project.

16 Apr
April 16, 2018

Asked some questions by Spanish journalist Toni Garcia, I replied in writing. Some respondents have replied to me with various translations of my answers that do not entirely comport with the language that I used or the facts I intended to convey.  I’m not suggesting any willful intent by Mr. Garcia to simplify or deconstruct my own words, only that perhaps translation is sometimes problematic. So to be clear I am going leave the entire text of my replies right here:

Read more →

City of Immigrants: A Night of Support – SOLD OUT

08 Feb
February 8, 2017

For eventbrite final

The event is sold out.

There will NOT be tickets available at the door. A ticket is required for entry.


Not attending? Please consider making a donation to the organizations we are supporting:
ACLU of MD, National Immigration Law Center, Tahirih Justice Center, International Rescue Committee.

Click here to make a donation through our online page. Donations made online and at the event will be matched up to $100,000 by Blown Deadline Productions.

The event will be livestreamed by the Washington Post.

Sponsor/Organizer:

Blown Deadline Productions & Tech Solidarity

Date & Time:
Monday February 13th, 2017
7:00 – 8:30pm
Doors open at 6:15pm

Tickets are required for entry. Please bring your printed ticket with you or be prepared to show it on your phone. A reminder that a very small number of tickets will be released at 4pm tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon.

Location:
Beth Am Synagogue, Baltimore, MD

About the event:
Baltimoreans united against fear, nativism and the immigration ban will gather on Monday, February 13 at Beth Am Synagogue in Reservoir Hill to hear speakers as varied as Beau Willimon, Deray McKesson, David Simon, Taylor Branch, and others urging religious and racial inclusivity. The program will conclude with singer-songwriter Steve Earle adding his voice and guitar.

Admission is free with a ticket and donation to groups assisting visa holders and refugees: ACLU of MD, National Immigration Law Center, Tahirih Justice Center, and International Rescue Committee.

 

Donations made through the event’s donation page and at the event will be matched up to $100,000 by Blown Deadline Productions, the Baltimore-based television production company that created The Wire, Treme and Show Me A Hero.

Tech Solidarity works to better connect tech workers with the communities they live in. Our emphasis is on regular in-person meetings, volunteer assistance to organizations serving the vulnerable, and the creative use of labor law in pursuit of an ethical agenda.

Additional Speakers:

  • Leana S. Wen, M.D., MSc., FAAEM – Health Commissioner, Baltimore City
  • Nancy Kass, ScD – the Phoebe R. Berman Professor of Bioethics and Public Health, in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Deputy Director for Public Health in the Berman Institute of Bioethics.
  • Marielena Hincapié – Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center
  • Ruben Chandrasekar – Executive Director, International Rescue Committee, Maryland
  • Kristen Strain – Executive Director, Tahirih Justice Center Baltimore
  • Sonia Kumar – Staff Attorney, ACLU of MD

Old faces and fresh dishonor

25 Nov
November 25, 2015

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Save for the image of a six-year-old Hungarian girl which I do not possess — these are the photographs of 10 of the 11 members of my family who did not escape from Europe in the critical prewar years, when the path for refugees fleeing fascism narrowed, then disappeared. Fear of these people — their otherness, their politics, their faith — was sufficient to close borders and deny safe passage to America and elsewhere. The first six photos are an extended family on my mother’s side lost at Auschwitz, the last four a branch of my father’s clan slain in the woods outside the city of Slonim, in what is now Belarus.

The facelessness of the hundreds of thousands fleeing our time’s great cruelty is in some basic way part of their undoing. In their anonymity, the Syrian refugees running from Assad or the Islamic State appear in our political discourse as mere numbers, abstract and enormous. Save for the occasional photograph of a child’s body on a beach or some video footage of an exhausted woman in a rail station, these lost souls exist for us as an amorphous collective. To our minds, they are a vast multitude of disordered humanity, victims and victimizers, terrorists and those terrorized. Sorting them will be exhausting and imprecise and burdensome. There will be costs. And risks.

And yet every time I begin to listen to someone explain to me the social or political problem of opening our country to this breaking wave of humanity, every time some sonofabitch summons fear or prejudice or uncertainty, I am steadied and restored by my own familial history. Yes, populations are vast, uncontrollable, threatening. Their swell and weight are great enough in our frightened minds to overwhelm systems, or resources. But people are people. Our precious singularity, when at last acknowledged, makes the cowardice of our worst politicians and the fear of those who respond to their rhetoric that much more craven and shameful.

For me, I just have to turn the page of the family photo album and stare at these faces. The people of my blood, the lost branches of my tree — Esther and Solomon, Fanci and Gitel, Leo and little Batia and the others — ordinary mothers and fathers and children who an entire world failed to see as completely and irreplacably human. They, too, were a feared and unwanted wave of chaos and risk, confusion and otherness. And they were butchered on the short end of someone else’s geopolitical equation.

Knowing that much, I can’t look at these lost faces and then succumb to the worst imaginings of a Trump or a Cruz or a Carson. It would be an affront to the memory of my tribal dead, and to the fortunate journey, too, of all of those in my mother’s and father’s family who got out, who got here, or to Palestine, or Australia.

This, now, is the same moment, with the same stakes. Soon and forever, many more families will have nothing left but names and photographs over which to grieve, just as the names and images of others — today’s Tafts and Coughlins and Lindberghs — will be stained and dishonored by what they say or do in this time. These are men and women who wish to claim the mantle of moral leadership, yet would trade innocent lives for any and all chance for an abject and equivocal safety, or worse, for some immediate political gain. Tether yourself to their ugliest fears and you, too, can embrace the shame that this moment offers.

Or be more.

But know for certain that the history that is happening today — right now — will judge us all.