It’s fair to say that there’s a lot of hate going around the world today.
Day after day we read about deaths in the Middle East. Syria. Iraq. Afghanistan. Pakistan. Palestine. Israel. On and on. Suicide bombs in the East. Mass shootings in the West. Germany. France. Belgium. Norway. America. There are also the seemingly unprovoked attacks on black American men by those sworn to protect them. The Police. With many families worrying for their sons, their brothers, their husbands. Who will be next? So much hate that we’re now living in fear.
When I was twenty, myself and my friends holidayed for three months in Montauk. Bush Jnr was president. And we were struck by the fear mongering that occurred daily on TV. This impending threat. That imminent attack. The world is out to get us. Along came Obama and hell, even we believed, Yes We Can. There was something so refreshing and inspiring about that campaign. A new hope surfaced beneath the veil of gloom that was post 9/11.
But somewhere along the line we’ve lost our way again. And not just in the States. Be it the persistence of fundamentalism in the Middle East, which has long been filtering in to the West. Or the unashamed return of fascism this side of the world. Farage supporters in Britain. Le Pen supporters in France. Trump supporters in the US. Every day there’s a horrid video of someone abusing someone. With an unexplained rage that unnerves me.
So it surprised me to read an article the other day in the Irish Times lamenting Twitter’s decision to impose a lifelong ban on Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative right wing writer and gay activist – two things I personally didn’t think went together. But hey, what do I know? The Irish Times journalist believed it was an infringement of Milo’s freedom of speech. That Twitter, known for it’s liberal policies, shouldn’t be dictating what we read or see. I would agree with that. No one body should have that control. However the decision to ban Milo was after the fact. After he ‘allegedly’ incited his fans to post racist and disparaging comments on actress Leslie Jones’ page. Unfortunately we can no longer access his page so I am going on the word of other journalists as to whether this is true. But I do know, from his words, that he got into a fight with her.
Let’s break it down here. Not everything is black and white. There are two sides to every story. We are all entitled to our opinion and our voice.
Blah blah blah.
Twitter is an independent public platform. True. Some would argue it’s not their duty to take one side of any argument. Perhaps! Who would have thought when they started out that 140 characters would give anyone the opportunity to incite violence? Think about it – what is the purpose of Twitter? I would have thought to inform. Whether it be to share a mindless thought (I got plenty of those) or a link to an informative article, it’s a hive of information. Yes, topics do trend. And Twitterers do lick their lips with glee when a celeb has a public meltdown on the site.
So as a world of very diverse people, it’s clear not everyone is going to say things we agree with. Free speech! Okay. So Tweet town shouldn’t ban members from expressing their opinions? What about sending a vicious tweet? A racist one? What about inciting violence and hatred to another innocent person simply because you have the followers? Who should take responsibility for that?
If it was a work environment, the ring leader would be suspended? Maybe even fired? If it was your child and their friends, there’d be a talking to, mostly likely grounding, talks of bullying, upset parents. Drastic action. Basically it wouldn’t be ignored.
So why do some think it is in different in Twitter sphere? Why do we continually make excuses for online bully?
It’s an unacceptable yet seemingly accepted part of our online world. And from what I’ve read it’s simply getting worse. People have no fear and no shame. With some no longer hiding behind their anonymity. Sure why would they when the response to banning someone is viewed as an infringement of their freedom of speech.
Let’s go back to this guy Milo. I tell you I had no clue who he was. He writes for an online magazine called Breitbart. The only piece I’ve read of his is his review of the new Ghostbuster’s film, which I’ve yet to see. In my opinion the review is unnecessarily scathing, sexist, degrading and racist. He makes one decent point about Buffy the Vampire Slayer being a worthy hero because of her femininity. I have to say I would agree with that. She didn’t need to be macho or exude any male qualities to kick ass. She was a girl and spent much of the first three seasons wanting to be just that, whilst also having this duty to save the world. It was real (as much as fantasy can be) and as a young teenage girl myself, watching it, I could relate to her needs to fit it and be accepted.
But I digress.
This guy, Milo, is a creep. I’m sorry. Actually no I won’t apologise. He’s campaigning for Trump. A man who’s shown himself to be anti-gay, sexist, racist and a xenophobe. A man who doesn’t understand the intricacies of the world, how different countries need to co-exist but not impose themselves upon each other. How inciting hate and violence simply begets hate and violence. That ‘Making America Great Again’ shouldn’t be to the detriment of those who are viewed as different. Familiar much? And who is defining what’s different? I’m embarrassed to say but, yet again, it is predominantly white faces. How have we not learnt from our mistakes?
But if you don’t believe me at how stupid and dangerous someone like Milo is then watch him giving a speech at a Trump rally. How he talks about allowing Muslims (oh of course he doesn’t name them – he’s learnt from the best) into America is against their modern western capital liberal democratic way of life! A world that women and gay people can only thrive in. For Gods sake he’s campaigning for Trump. Has he not listened to the man? Trump is a capitalist, that much is true. But modern and liberal? Didn’t Trump recently say he thought women should be punished for having an abortion????
DON’T. GET. ME. STARTED.
Milo is like a mini Trump. He uses words like warning, destruction, fight and nasty in his speech that’s ultimately a call to action. He’s clearly pissed about Twitter’s decision and rather than realising the error of his ways he’s choosing an aggressive path of retaliation. See what we’re up against? Mikki Kendall, in a piece for the Washington Post, believes that we need to be doing more that just banning these people. She’s right. I’m not saying we fight violence with violence. But we can’t ignore the hidden agenda behind people like Trump and Milo. We have to be clever and recognise that they’re tapping into a vein of hate. And drawing all their much needed support from it.
In contrast we need to find the good in people and not let stupidity and ignorance get the better of us.
A video has surfaced on Twitter. A white girl, drunk or not, shooting her mouth off with ignorant statements about white superiority to a young black man standing beside her. I think she thinks she’s being funny or ironic. She’s neither. The video does have that self conscious feeling of being a set up, but for what gain? A simple reminder of white people’s self entitlement?
Or is she just a dumb drunk girl?
But like Milo & Trump, we’d be fools to dismiss her.