Elon Musk is a sensitive poop emoji

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For the past few weeks, anyone who has emailed press@twitter.com has received an automated response consisting of just a poop emoji.

It’s part of Elon Musk’s culture war strategy to let the “elites” know there’s a new sheriff in town. You want to ask a direct question of the sometimes-richest man in the world, or seek clarification on one of his frequent conflicting political edicts, or confirm information about the company that literally no longer has a communications service. ? You get the poo.

“Why, exactly, does a 51-year-old man seem stuck in Freud’s anal phase? asked Matthew Cantor in The Guardian.

This is Musk’s enigma. He is undeniably financially successful and, at times, has been a bold and early supporter of companies that produce technological breakthroughs. But he also has the sensitivity (and the desire to flatter) right-wing Internet users.

He talks about a big game on nuance, fairness and good faith debate, but he tweets pablum like “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci”.

While I strongly support a thorough and honest review of the government’s actions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic (including that of Dr. Anthony Fauci), concluding a call for its prosecution – in the midst of “the only joke“The right just can’t get enough – does nothing to elevate the discourse.

It’s a signal of virtue for the hard keyboard “fuck your feeling”. Like the poo emoji.

And that’s fine, if that’s your thing. It’s just irreconcilable with Musk rhetoric out loud on “encouraged[ing] people of different political or other opinions to engage in civil debate on Twitter.

Musk walks hand in hand with people who use phrases like “woke-mind virus” and “the corporate press is the enemy of the people” without irony. (These are often the same self-proclaimed brave, heterodox, and free thinkers who wouldn’t dare jeopardize their ability to be reserved on certain prime-time cable news shows by saying a word about the revelations that Rupert Murdoch and major Fox News personalities knew Trump. The big lie that the 2020 election was stolen was bullshit.)

As such, Musk wants to minimize the influence of “legacy” media and journalists – and he pursues them where it hurts, right in their notches.

After paying way too much for Twitter (own the libraries) and rendering the verified “blue tick” (which is actually a white tick embedded in a blue circle) essentially worthless by allowing anyone desperate enough to shell out $8 to get one, Musk the business genius has found his troubled Twitter Blue product. And Twitter is currently valued at less than half of what it paid last year.

So he upped the ante, threatening to strip all “old” accounts of their ticks unless they pay.

So far, like many of Musk’s manic edicts, that has yet to happen. But after The New York Times said he wouldn’t pay for the privilege, Musk made a petulant show of stripping the account of its verified status.

“The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn’t even interesting…

Plus, their feed is the Twitter equivalent of diarrhea. It’s unreadable” said the billionaire civil speech cop.

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While making Twitter a less reliable source of accurate information — and a more egalitarian place for anonymous overlords, prank conspirators, racist uncles, and fascists with thesaurus — Musk handpicked sympathetic journalists (apparently , no journalist skeptical of Musk can be trusted, because nuance) to broadcast “THE TWITTER FILES”.

The result has been a series of disappointing Twitter threads about opaque histories of pre-Musk Twitter content moderation and attempts by politicians on both sides to lean on private enterprise.

The TWITTER FILES were called “worse than Watergate” by very rational people and even inspired some very silly congressional hearings, where MAGA Republicans and techno-Luddite Democrats crumbled throughout.

The biggest controversy related to the TWITTER FILES was the site’s brief and limited removal of a controversial topic New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s ‘laptop from hell’. And while I too think government and private collusion over news release is a legitimate concern, I can think of a few other recent incidents of government censorship that warrant far greater concern.

But since we have congressional hearings on censorship New York Post articles, someone should tap Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on the shoulder and let him know about Twitter’s recent censorship of the New York Post.

The Murdoch-owned right-wing tabloid reported Twitter’s deletion of thousands of “Trans Day of Vengeance” tweets. Shocking stuff, right? TWITTER FILES material, no doubt.

But there is more. Twitter has locked down the Job out of his account for tweeting a link to the story, a move the newspaper called “Kafkaesque.” It’s literally the same as Twitter before Musk, leading to hearings that were a waste of time, even by congressional standards.

The thing is, Musk’s Twitter has content moderation policies, which include deleting tweets and banning accounts, just like before, and the boss will change those policies on the fly if he feels the need to.

Musk has every right to run his site however he sees fit, even if it’s straight into the ground and for whatever inexplicable and contradictory reasons he thinks are “principled.” That doesn’t mean anyone should buy into his rhetoric about free speech, transparency, and civic engagement.

A single poo emoji is worth $44 billion in words.

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