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Die Of Boils, Mr. Sparky Car.

Leaving this up for a week as a pinned tweet before locking the account. It’s been a lovely little war, folks, and some good fun was had,  But until this platform gets better and more honorable management, fuck it, no. 

          D.S.

A long decade ago, my assistant, a millennial of course, explained to me that there was this sort of bulletin board, a tweeting, chirping sort of collective, where you post what you want to hype – a new season of television, an essay on your blog, a cute picture of your ferret. Okay, I said. You kids have fun with that.

But no, there came a second moment when I found myself misquoted on something – I can’t remember what — and I wrote a corrective, which sat on my blog like a stale bagel on the plate until Reena explained it again:  You link what you write to the chirping thing, people find the chirp, and then find what you wrote. 

So this odyssey began in simple utility. It ends this week with me assuring a daily helping of anonymous, racebaiting fucksquibs that no, as aggrieved white people, they are not being systemically victimized by the evil predations of other races and that for claiming such unevidenced they very much need to eat a sack of stale, unsalted penises. 

And beyond that shitpile of gaping assholery, there is a second fresh, quotidian portion of Jew-haters whose complaints about my oven-dodging will have to wait because I need to go drink a fresh quart of baptized baby blood and then get to my globalist banking duties so as to e-transfer their life savings to the Israel Bonds campaign. 

 Then there are the luftmensch ideologues, extreme right and left, with their furious sloganeering and unending purity tests.  And after that rabble, of course, there are the Russian bots and make-it-up pranksters, as well as the garden-variety trolls who simply want me to engage with them in an online version of the streetcorner Dozens. I oblige graciously by claiming to finger their relentless and properly paid mothers, after which they feign mock outrage because their sainted moms are dead, opening the door to me concluding that I no longer need to wonder why it took the nice lady so long to finish.

Then, with the rest of the day, I try to get some work done.

I know I’m being reductive about Twitter here – I’ve made friends on the site in the last ten years and been exposed not just to clever witticisms and savage humor, but to some genuinely insightful ideas. And sure, I’ve had my share of fanboy interactions with some notable folk that make me marvel at our new digital world:  My god, Chuck Yeager once thanked me for a tweet. Chuck fucking Yeager.  

In short, there will be a lot about Twitter to miss.

But what will not be missed is the asymmetrical warfare in which the most contemptible and abusive rhetoric is not only sustained but enhanced by its proximity to normal discourse.  Or worse, and more lethal for our republic, there’s nothing to enjoy in the organized campaigns of disinformation that course through Twitter before the mainstream media can get its boots on.

Earlier regimes were ridiculously slow to understand the damage being done, and efforts to hold the worst and most dishonest players to any vetting or standard on the platform were halting and inconsistent at best. Yet there was some effort. The arrival of Elon Musk, and his bland assertions that all manner of speech should not only freely uttered, but freely platformed, gives fresh concern. Worse, his suggestion that I should continue to provide him with free content to help maintain and nurture that kind of hellsite is, for me, problematic. I won’t appear on Fox or write for a Murdoch publication; why in hell would I do anything to personally sustain any other social media outlet that platforms lies and hate? Or pay eight dollars or eight cents for the privilege?

Because here’s the guts of the problem:

The solution to the worst kinds of lying and racebaiting isn’t to accord such shit-talk its place in the national agora and then reply with a careful and reasoned counterargument. When a Goebbels or Streicher declares that Jews drink the blood of baptized children, the strategic defense against such is not to join the argument and say, no, actually, they do not, and then drone out an analysis of the Tsarist forgeries in which the claim originates. The solution is to call the lying motherfucker a taintsniffing shitmonger and send his tweet to digital oblivion. Mock, block and roll.

That’s what Twitter, in the end, taught me: The worst and most cancerous campaigns on the internet are not to be outreasoned or debated. Doing so grants credibility where none should exist. And Twitter has never truly come to terms with the asymmetrical dynamic. 

Indeed, I was once suspended from the platform for telling some fecal-flecked wonder who claimed my friend Tony Bourdain was slain in a political assassination that he very much needed to fuck off and “die of boils.” Presumably, Twitter saw little wrong with transforming a real and personal tragedy into grist for submoronic conspiratorist horseshit. No, the platform saw my reply as a real threat that I could and would summon a non-lethal skin disorder to fell my enemies. So, agreeably, I deleted that tweet, then returned to the site and told @Jack — founder and CEO Jack Dorsey — that his understanding of what speech needed to be policed was nil, and that he should, well, die of boils. Suspended a second time, I refused to remove the second tweet and resolved to quit the platform; some days later, Twitter itself took it down and restored my account unilaterally. So hey, I had to stick it out a few years more.

But to credit Dorsey just a little bit, the fact remains that prior to the latest technobrat taking the helm, Twitter was at least struggling with the problem. Musk isn’t remotely capable of such; witness his own willing retweet of the organized slander of Paul Pelosi a couple weeks ago, followed by his quiet removal of the tweet absent the courage of any apology. Quite a shitpiece Mr. Sparky Car has turned out to be.

I know there are many who found neither decorum nor dignity in the blunt ugliness of what for me was very much a bit of decade-long performance art. There I was in the gutter, trading spit and flinging sewage. Well, yes, but it was fun. And if you came correct, we could argue, perhaps even laugh, as many new friends came to understand. But if you came to play, we played.  I’m from Baltimore, where The Dozens are an American cultural artform like any other.

An aggrieved bystander once called the act graceless.  I readily agreed: 

“This is Twitter. There is no grace. None. Here in an orgy of organized disinformation and trollery, our republic has come to die. There is no teaching the fuckmooks and deplorati. Go down swinging. Use every cruel word. Invoke their mothers. Lather them with contempt. Enjoy.”

I still mean that, every word. For a decade, I took a bit of time every day – more when trapped on a film set amid lighting delays and actors late from the trailers – to urge some rancid bastards to remember me to their mothers and stop lifting my cash from their purse. It did little lasting good, sure, but it brought my blood pressure down, and at the worst, I tutored some folks in the greater scope and reach of American maledicta. Given where Musk is threatening to take twitter, they’re now better prepared to take a turn at the task. The internet, after all, needs to be mowed.

56 Comments

  • “ His parents took him with them on all thier social outings , most of which were to the Happy Times Tavern on Armitage Avenue, which was owned by Slat’s Uncle Beer Belly Frank Grobnik. They would sit with little Slats on the bar or the pinball machine and He was the most contented Child you ever saw, chewing on a hard boiled egg, washing it down with a tiny tumbler of beer” Mike Royko

    David, I viewed you in a similar way as the Chicago columnist Mike Royko….Mike was Chicago and you became Baltimore, thru and thru. My Dad 6’ 5” ( Republican businessman) would kick his long legs-up at the end of the day and read Mike’s column in the Chicago Daily News….While drinking down a G&T, eating some god awful ethic cheese and smoking a Salem cigarette. He would sometimes burst out laughing and call for my Mother ( a refined and educated progressive Woman ) to listen to Him read Mikes words…. Mike could cut through the BS with his humor, heart and intelligence. I longed to write like Him, Studs or the great Western novelists Edward Abbey, Tony Hillerman or Wallace Stegner. You gave us a small window into your creative process , “more when trapped on a film set amid lighting delays and actors late from the trailers “ or driving your Daughter to the school bus. All of which i’ll miss. It was a great joy reading you. Thank you. Take Care Young Man. And Best to You and Your Family.

  • SPLENDIFROUS/Mos’Scociously stated…ah,I’ll missed the Continuing Education Credits in what compromises to be a American.

  • I’ll miss ya! You made visits to the birdcage fun. And, thanks to twitter, I found out we were both Mohawks!

  • Thanks David for your continual invective against the shithole Twitter users over the years. As many of your admirers, I started following you since The Wire showed me what television could really do; then Treme was welcomed (from this aging jazz musician) because you seemed to get the hard joyous life of that chosen career. I remember you railing on stage during Dubya’s war crimes in Iraq (was it in Japan?), saw it on Youtube while the Republicans (and some Democrats) were shitting all over our country’s ideals torturing people, mass killings conducted by warriors for hire, while looking for the elusive WMDs. Your commentary brightened up the dark days somewhat. Break a leg with your next project! I’ll be one of the many folks waiting.

  • As a seasoned connoisseur of “your mom” jokes, I’ve found your skill in this arena to be unparalleled. It has inspired me to find new, previously unplumbed, ways to convey my desires to pleasure all moms.

  • Perfect piece. Now we all need to change our share buttons and take out Twitter too. No fresh content for sparky boy.

  • I only open Twitter upon being notified you have posted a new tweet. Which Twitter kindly does by email. This was the process for receiving the link which brought me here. So this should be a seamless transition to the blog. Onwards.

  • It was a pleasure; we interacted a few times, occasionally disagreeing on Israel, mostly agreeing on some aspect of some book or film, like Touch of Evil. See you discussing housing policy-as-primetime-drama on TV.

  • Thank you Mr. Simon. While I will miss you shooting intellectual flies in mid-air with your rubber band of wit, I will miss your repartee with GW, and PS and the usual gang of non-idiots.

    Again, thank you for the words and best wishes in your ventures.

  • Why would anyone, let alone a gifted writer like David Simon, ever consider being a part of the twitterverse or engage in twitspeak. Okay, I can understand the novelty when it first began but, it sure shootin’ shouldn’t have surprised anyone with minimal critical thinking skills that Twitter wouldn’t lead to anything valuable.

  • The bitter-sweet part of Twitter withering away is I won’t get to see more of these epic rants. No one does it better.

  • So long for now my favorite fellow fingering fuckmook!

    “All is not Lost; the unconquerable will,
    And study of revenge, immortal hate,
    And the courage never to submit or yield!” JM

  • Truly the end of an era for you to leave the hellsite, as your tweets were successful sniper shots and never the roadside IED’s that so many employed to varying effect.

    So yes I’ll miss the wordplay, but there’s no part of me that is nostalgic for it – it belonged to a time and place, and both the time and place are gone. Musk kneecapped what little progress the place had ever made, and actuskly tried to make us pay for the privilege – so, all things considered, that’s a fuck no from me dog.
    So yeah, gratitude. Thanks man. The Philly kid in me found solace in the true takedowns you brought. Namaste, fucker.

  • Be well, sir. I shall miss you and your maledicta. I hope you caught some of the hilarious tweets from spoofed accounts before you left, at least.

  • I, for one, will miss the running count of how many of these Twittwat’s mothers, mistresses & blow-up dolls you have defiled.

  • Damn. I’ve loved watching you fight the righteous fight with such original and downright beautiful slurs. Yes, Jack’s twitter suspended me permanently for wishing Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson would be run out of town on a rail. Abusive language. Even though I was right and they sort of were. It drove me crazy but this Twitter feels dirty. Elon is the worst of men. And it’s all going away anyway. Cheers to you and yours. You’ve both given my family delight.

  • Your interactions on the bird app is one of the things that kept me from deleting my account long ago…
    I look forward to any and all of your future projects and will seek out your words wherever they appear, whether your posts on the small screen of the phone or your creations on the larger screens that stream…
    Good luck with everything and thank you for all you do…

  • the ironic thing is i got on to twitter after assiduously avoiding to because of you David. A coworker at GWUH told me i had to check out your s/word play. i too need to move on but i will miss the orioles banter and the surprise laughs

  • I’d hoped there’d be many more mooks whose moms you’d calumny, but who could fault your reasons for going? I’ll miss you OnThere (for the two weeks or so I stay), you brilliant salty bastard.

  • David,

    I generally refuse to spent time on a site like twitter, but it was refreshing and interesting to see your intelligence and wit sparkle on a forum devoid of both. I think your lovely wife had a point on reading the introduction to this site/blog in that the “long fallow field of DavidSimon.com” remains an opportunity to communicate freely to a forum of people where the trash talk can be filtered and the negativity blocked. And for whats it’s worth, this pogue loving Irishman would be more that happy to spent $8 a month subscribing to such a forum! Stay safe and true.

  • Loved your presence on Twitter, for the right-thinking humor and for the praise for traditional newspapers we shared. You’ll be missed. I will be soon behind you as the site seems to be functionally falling apart, and as I don’t want to support Elon. It’s a shame; there was a lot of good here.

  • Thanks for every last imprecation. And every note of this true, especially about Twitter’s new Head Buffoon. Happy Trails, & may we meet one day at some showdown between the O’s & White Sox.

  • While distressing as your leaving is it’s well thought out and I can have nothing but respect. I’ll look forward to new content in the form of media and am glad that my mother managed to avoid you over the years. Thank you for the great content.

  • Mr.Simon, thank you for your creativity in your televised shows, on your blog, and in your posts on all of the social media platforms. I am not a Twitter person for several reasons, but what is happening nevertheless concerns me. I will continue to seek out your work in whatever form/place.

  • Thank you, David. Above all else, I’ll miss your honesty on twitter. I look forward to your next production on HBO and any other medium.

  • I stumbled onto twitter during the pandemic when I no longer had the attention span to reread every Mark Leyner book written. I didn’t join but would visit daily. Finally, they made me. I found you, Rick Wilson, Molly Jong-Fast, Peter Sagal, George Conway, Charles P Pierce, Tim Miller, and even crusty ass Tom Nichols made me laugh. Got me through rough times health wise and the Trump attempt at a Presidency. Thanks. Blessings to you and yours.

  • to revise the immortal salutation of george c scott to rommel in his oscar-winning turn as another gloriously profane son of a bitch, “simon you magnificent bastard! i read your tweets!”

  • Enjoyed your Twitter rants – for the comedy gold, mostly, since I rarely (if at all) disagreed with you. But did learn as well! Especially increased my vocabulary! But this blog (and Smithee on that other platform) are where I originally found you after 30 years, so this is enough.

    My dad turns 90 in April – hard to fathom.

    Barry

  • I have found twitter to generally be a good place for me to learn about new music and books, while still having to wade through a bunch of nonsense. my account is invisible enough that the bots don’t bother with me, and i have the privilege of muting a lot of the ridiculous verbal sewage vomit that comes out of the mouths of the prominent r’s. I have enjoyed following you, and of course, I *loved* The Wire. Don’t be a stranger.

  • I have enjoyed your tweeting since I joined the platform in 2014 as part of a school thing. Only recently, like the last couple of years, has it become a source of real entertainment. The patience with which you handled the pushback about Sean Suiter was admirable. The skill with which you flicked off idiots was inspiring to a person who has no stomach for doing it. I’ve enjoyed your work since the first episode of The Wire, and have made sure to watch everything since. In particular, I loved The Plot Against America. So I will just be grateful that you are busy creating. I have a tiny footprint on the Twit, so will hang in to follow journalists and writers I like, but I will miss your voice there.

  • AMEN! Wish they’d all go down actually For the little good these platforms have done, so much more harm and angst
    love to read whatever you write !

  • Well said sir!

    It seems that picking a fight with someone who writes (and writes well) for a living is this age’s “don’t pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” Or so it seems from my vantage. Your presence on my Twitter timeline will be sorely missed, and was greatly, though silently, appreciated. Best of luck to you sir.

  • Sorry to prick the balloon, but if you got a tweet from Chuck Yeager in the past ten years, it was far more likely that the author was his second wife, failed-Hollywood-wannabee Victoria, since Chuck (a friend for 35 years) was ever more deeply in Alzheimers during that time before he was released to fly free in 2021. As to the second Mrs. Yeager, the less said about her, the better.

    You’re completely right about giving the scumballs a (metaphorical) baseball bat in the face.

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