It has begun in earnest. Leftists in Congress, the courts, and corporations are throwing everything that isn't bolted down in every direction and trajectory imaginable. Who gave the order? Why this week? Surely it has nothing to do with Attorney General Barr confirming that he will pursue evidence that the Trump campaign and the current administration were spied upon...oh, what's that you say, FBI Director Wray? Ah, right, not spied upon, but investigated...without knowledge or consent. Nothing to see here but semantics, folks.
To wit, during this still-young week:
I used to play Monopoly with my younger sister when we were little kids. If I got behind, I could manipulate the rules, or convince her to do a dumb trade. As a result, I always won. To a nine year-old, any victory is preferable to defeat at the hands of a younger sibling. In time, she learned to call me out, and eventually she refused to play. My victories, either real or dishonest, rang hollow. In the end, we both lost: the game was no longer fun, and our relationship wasn't the same.
Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are the figurative big brothers in this story. They are, of course, the literal Big Brother as well, the embodiment of Orwell's darkest fictional imaginings, and we the citizens are constantly under surveillance as we share information with our friends on Facebook and Twitter on tablets, laptops, and smartphones in lieu of 1984's "telescreens."
But Orwell has had his good name dragged around enough lately by both sides. Let's give him a rest and go back to the lowercase big brother, the type that many of us know personally, or have indeed been:
He's nice, of course. Order, or at least his idea of order, prevails. Everyone has fun. Advice on how to play is offered, analogous to software updates that contain new features. These are the salad days. Back when "First of all, Don't Be Evil" was still Google's informal motto. Back when you were excited to discover old elementary school friends on Facebook, back when Ashton Kutcher was famous for a million followers on Twitter.
Now he wishes he hadn't given you that advice. Storm clouds gather. You think maybe he collected more than $200 after passing Go. Wait, when did he buy that house on Ventnor Avenue? This is favoritism, when conservative accounts are suspended while left-leaning accounts guilty of the same infractions are not. This is the discovery of shadowbanning. This is being told there are no shadowbans, well, okay, there are, kind of, but they aren't what you think. This is the mask coming off.
The game is no longer fun, but you stick to it, hoping to win, or at least receive an apology and some fair play. Free Parking money is rescinded, he produces a Get Out of Jail Free card at an opportune moment. You catch him swiping a golden $500 bill from the bank...and he flips the board in the air. This is Twitter suspension. This is inconsistency around Terms of Service violations. This is lying to silence critics. This is Google search result manipulation. This is blatant cheating.
Say what you will about newly-Facebook-banned journalists (and plus-one Louis Farrakhan, the only Louie to ruin his name worse than Louie C.K.).
We see you, Zuck. You were above the fray. Even through that Facebook movie, when Jesse Eisenberg was the casting choice to give you some cheekbones and a chin, you stayed cool. Facebook was too big to be bothered. Now, to do this, to spaz out and essentially deplatform the already hobbled InfoWars, is to admit that they have some degree of power that you don't. In the words of your generation, you're giving them agency.
@Jack, you are #slipping by banning James Woods. Sure, he's popular on Twitter, but to the bulk of the world, the non-Twits, he's a very talented but mostly-retired actor. Is that all you've got? Is this how you express feeling #triggered over #noCollusion?
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