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Love Many, Trust Few, Do Wrong to None

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 15, 2020 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 15, 2020 |


The hashtag #NeverWarren is the top trending term on Twitter this morning. If you look through the tweets, as I unfortunately just did, the insults are generally gendered — bitch, snake, nasty, harpy — and there are a lot of snake emojis. These particular Bernie supporters are all convinced that Elizabeth Warren made up the story about Bernie saying a woman couldn’t win, deviously planted it ahead of the debate — like the snake she is — and waited for it to sink Bernie’s campaign, nevermind that such a strategy would almost invariably backfire and Warren knows that. She’s a really smart woman. That’s why I’m worried about Wisconsin.

I didn’t want to write about the debate this morning, because why? So that people could choose their camps and fling some more sh*t at each other again? Who the hell does that benefit? My wife suggested that I write about the gendered nature of the insults being used by the Bernie supporters, but to do so would broadly paint all Bernie supporters as the same. It would also give credibility to a Twitter hashtag.

Again, for those in the cheap seats, Twitter is not real life. When the neighbor who drops off her daughter each morning so that I can walk her to the bus stop with my daughters arrived, she did not call Elizabeth Warren a bitch or a snake. Among the bus stop parents — most of whom are probably Warren or Bernie supporters — no one referred to Warren as a bitch or a snake. In fact, the closest thing to a conversation about politics I heard was one Mom saying that she watched the debate for about an hour before turning it off. Another father said he’d just started on his first Richard Russo novel, Bridge of Sighs. I told him I loved Richard Russo, but that Sighs was not great. No fight broke out.

When I read The Washington Post and The New York Times this morning, no one in the op-ed pages called Elizabeth Warren a bitch or a snake. They mentioned that Warren did not shake Bernie’s hand after the debate, and that gender was an issue in the debate, but the hashtag #NeverWarren never came up.

It’s because it’s not real life.

Though it used to be the first thing I’d cover every morning, I haven’t written much about Trump — or politics, in general — this year, or really in the last two months. I’ve been trying to reassess how I think about politics, stay away from Twitter more, and not allow it to seep into the way I talk about politics when I do. Because, again, Twitter is not real life. Hell, our comments section — wonderful, lovely people who make a lot of great points and make me laugh a lot — is not real life. That became painfully apparent when the Mueller probe, the Kavanaugh hearings, and even the impeachment process bore no fruit. I do not write about politics for the page views — engagement is higher (for obvious reasons), but page views are typically much lower — there’s considerably more $ in a celebrity break-up. I thought I was doing it because it made a difference. It hasn’t. And I’m not going to get involved in Twitter hashtags and squabbles and start dragging candidates because I think it will make a difference, either. It won’t.

The only thing that will make a difference is voting in November.

Only 22 percent of adults in the United States use Twitter. The top 10 percent of that 22 percent is responsible for almost all of the tweets, while the bottom 90 percent averages 2 tweets a month. When I was scanning through the #NeverWarren hashtag, I saw a lot of the same accounts multiple times. I have no idea how many bots were responsible for tweets, although I suspect there were many. It’s not real life. It does not matter.

What’s happening in real life? Yeah, I don’t know. There’s probably some people hearing about the #NeverWarren hashtag and feeling very disgusted with those Bernie supporters and bots, and who feel helpless because it feels like 2016 all over again. There are probably some people feeling very upset by the whole process, who have thrown their hands in the air and said, “Fuck it. Biden it is.” The large majority of people, however, are thinking, “Whoa! There was a debate? I missed it because I was watching Jeopardy and This Is Us. How’d it go?” Those people probably haven’t made up their minds yet, although they are probably leaning a certain way. Some of those people might read this site. Almost none of them comment. If there’s anything I would want to say to them, it is this: Hang in there. Fight tooth and nail for your candidate, but after the primary, line up behind whoever is the nominee. Don’t forget to stop and get bread on your way home tonight. We’ve got over ten more months of this. You won’t remember any of this come November, but you will remember who we need to remove from office and why. Above, remember the words of one of my favorite all-time Survivor contestants, Yau-Man: “Love Many, Trust Few, Do Wrong to None.”

I f**king love Yau-Man.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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