I’m in a bad mood today — Effexor can only unclog the brain drain so much — and most of it is self-inflicted, due to my reluctant, ought-to-know-better, this-is-the-last-thing-I-should-be-doing-with-my-life embracing of Twitter.
Twitter is so devilish, the devil won’t use it.
Like many aspects of the Internet, Twitter, in theory, is a wonderful technological marvel, allowing instant communication among people worldwide on any topic at any time. But Twitter, in practice, is the darkest place in America, other than Charlie Sheen’s bachelor pad.
I tweet mostly on sports; sports, like politics, is a Twitter staple. Tweeting on sports or politics is roughly equivalent to brushing your teeth in a urinal — not satisfying, not effective, not smart.
Anyway, before I engage you in my latest Twitter tussle with Boston sports fans — you do not want to anger New England sports enthusiasts; they’re at the ready in a Boston Tea Party mood almost 24-7 — let me give my older readers, which is to say my readers, a brief Twitter tutorial.
Twitter is the Taj Mahal of antisocial media.
You originally got 140 characters to grumble and grouse and bellyache and beef and fuss and fume, which is about the length of this sentence. Now you get 280 characters — they supersized anger! — to let loose.
It’s a deceptively dangerous public forum — you are always one tweet away from losing your job, one tweet away from derailing your career, one tweet away from the abyss.
See Roseanne and “Roseanne.”
But, hey, I like to gamble, so sometimes — particularly after a glass of wine — I take chances on tweets that I shouldn’t.
Besides, exactly what type of career would I be derailing? Last time I looked, people were not lining up around the block to join me on the couch, where I’m perched as a largely irrelevant figure in America’s mainstream discourse.
Even my barber occasionally walks away from me mid-haircut when I’m talking.
(Column Intermission: I’ve written about the same things for years — public financing for unneeded stadiums, Division 1 athletics’ ongoing improprieties, the overemphasis of sports in our culture, sports TV’s excesses — all to no avail. It’s as if I’m sending a message in a bottle out to sea to be retrieved belatedly by future generations, assuming we have future generations.)
One of the fascinating elements of Twitter is the follower dynamic: The less you tweet, the more followers you gain; the more you tweet, the more followers you lose. Because any time you express an opinion, even if it is as benign as believing Jif peanut butter tastes better than Skippy — and it does — a follower may disagree so vehemently, he or she will “unfollow” you.
The basic premise here, as is played out elsewhere in America: I am right and you are a moron.
So last week I watched the Houston Astros-Boston Red Sox American League Championship Series and tweeted out a joking reference to the fact that the crowd at Fenway Park, like most MLB venues, was very, very, very extraordinarily white. New England twit nits expressed their displeasure.
Later that night, I watched the Kansas City Chiefs-New England Patriots NFL game. The Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill caught a touchdown pass, and after running full-speed through the end zone, reached the end zone stands at Gillette Stadium, where he was greeted by a fan tossing a beverage at him and a couple others flipping him the bird. I tweeted about this; New England twit nits expressed their displeasure even more vocally and profanely.
Some of them told me two things:
1. This type of behavior happens everywhere.
2. Hill once had been guilty of domestic assault.
Even conceding those two truths, that doesn’t change the fact that Patriots fans were typically gross in their conduct.
Twitter is a symptom of our toxic, societal demise. It doesn’t promote dialogues, it promotes diatribes. It is a one-way street of reckless driving; we are all in such a hurry to be right, we never consider if we are wrong.
By the way, I have another issue with Boston’s loutish, boorish sports fans.
I’ll probably tweet about it tomorrow.
Q. Now that Joe West has proven that having six umpires doesn’t lead to a game being called correctly, can we assume MLB will react by deploying even more incompetent arbiters? Maybe eight or 10 on the field? (Rich Tucker; Washington, D.C.)
A. The Senate Judiciary Committee has settled on 21.
Q. Finally no more Alex Rodriguez on ESPN this year except now Fox has him in studio. Is the Food Network safe to watch or is Jessica Mendoza doing a show on the analytics of ballpark hot dogs? (Mike Soper; Washington, D.C.)
A. Actually, A-Rod is also doing that show.
Q. I heard you on a podcast discussing your distaste for entertaining announcers like Gus Johnson and Kevin Harlan. Who appointed you the sportscasting messiah? (Mark Fuller; Schertz, Tex.)
A. I’m Couch Slouch and you’re not.
Q. With Nebraska unveiling its new state tourism slogan, “Honestly, it’s not for everyone,” should it expect a lawsuit for infringing on the NCAA’s motto, “Honesty: It’s not for everyone”? (Terry Golden; Vienna, Va.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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