So you think you may have been blocked on Twitter.
Social rejection is hard. I understand you may be having a lot of feelings about this. Difficult feelings. Challenging feelings. Feelings that make you want to shout things like “free speech”, “censorship”, or “taking our jobs”.
This is only natural. It’s a difficult time in a boy’s life when he realizes people don’t want him shouting “cunt” all the time. We’ve all been there. As a wise man once said, we must try not to sink beneath our anguish, but battle on.
In this most difficult of times, allow me to offer some words of advice.
First, keep things in perspective. Though it’s important not to abandon the battle against Twitter censorship, the war against censorship is being fought on many fronts – none of them can be forgotten.
Did you know that many telecommunications companies enable people to block calls from particular phone numbers? Someone could have your very phone number blocked at this very moment, completely without your knowledge or permission! Did you know that if you’re in a public space expressing your opinions at generous volume and length, that those nearby have the right to get up and sit far away from you before you have even finished? Did you know that if you were to walk up to someone’s door and ask them, in all politeness and sincerity, if they would like to hear some words about Jesus, that person would have the right to shut the door in your face?
In each of the scenarios I describe, you have absolutely no legal avenue for bringing such fascist, socialist, terrorist, witch-hunting, flag-burning, pig-stealing, misandrist cannibal-Nazi barbarians to justice. Free speech isn’t only under attack on social networks – it is under attack in every facet of American life. If we falter in the defense of our constitutional rights, those who are too afraid of logic, reason, and the free exchange of ideas to listen to another 30 minutes of proselytization about Jesus or Xfinity or misandry will never accept the truths we so generously offer.
Second, remember that though these violations of our rights are serious, the powers that be have, in reality, only erected a proverbial Maginot line against truth and justice. Blocked on the Internet? Remember that you can still employ an army of sock puppets to do your truthy bidding! Those people in the park don’t want to hear your speech about the merits of Men’s Rights Activism? Follow them when they try to leave! Don’t stop until you’ve made sure they’ve heard everything you have to say! Family down the street doesn’t want to listen to your doorstep speech about
Jesus how feminism is keeping us down? Look up all of their online accounts and make sure they can’t go two minutes without being bombarded by the free exchange of ideas!
After all, if they can’t handle a little open debate, how will they ever learn anything?
Third, and I know this is a difficult one: try not to come off too emotional. Yes, being blocked on Twitter may remind you of that painful time in middle school when that girl you liked didn’t call you back again after you called her a bitch all those times, or the time at that party when people kept edging away from you when you were just trying to have a normal conversation about sperm-jacking. Though such wounds may take years to heal, we cannot let them get to us. There are already those who claim that we are simply letting our frail manfeelings get the better of us when we call Twitter blocking a violation of our constitutional rights, or compare speaking out against sexual harassment to lynching.
There are those who say that such analogies are laughably absurd, context-blind, ignorant fantasies — the product of our inability to accept that there might be some people somewhere in the world who don’t have an obligation to listen to everything we have to say. There are those who say that the only way we could compare someone not wanting to listen to us on the Internet to censorship is if our fragile, irrational emotions had completely overridden our reason. There are those who say that such comparisons only serve to illustrate how completely and utterly we have failed to understand even the basics of the principle that the First Amendment was written to express.
We know different. But we will never convince those who doubt our cause if we come off all irrational and feelings-y. So, please, let’s try and keep it together. Just because your fundamental freedoms are being eroded doesn’t mean you have to be all angry about it. Just engage like reasonable people, with civility and jokes about physical and sexual assault, and, eventually, our cooler, more rational heads will prevail.
Keep that chin up. It may not seem like it now, but I am confident that one day, people will look back on Twitter blocking as a shameful but isolated dark stain on the otherwise free and egalitarian history of our great nation.
Also, you should smile more. You look so much nicer when you smile.