I have a draft post that’s still waiting to be finished. Perhaps it will never be completed. I wanted to write about Twitter and user migration, about the tension between staying and leaving, about anticipated loss and diminishing returns and I stalled out. No great insight was revealed to me in the placing of words on the page. I’m reminded of the first months of 45’s term in the White House. How we hissed and scratched against his wanton disgrace of the office. We were not just upset with the awful policy decisions. Those of us who could afford to protest loudly without ever having to feel the immediate effects of said policies, could barely contain ourselves over the gaudiness of each new affront. So much of what was uttered by that ill-mannered and seemingly inarticulate brute was just plain dumb. Logic and reason were not required protocol. The country chose a chump as its leader and our embarrassment was unbridled.
And here we are again faced with the reality that another chump is gobbling up all the airtime, because he bought it. The point is that we as a public are not wiser. We continue to conflate wealth with intelligence; power with inherent value. Our media structures, harnessed as they are to capitalism’s logics, support these confusions. Actually, many amplify and promote them. And do so widely for the benefit of clicks, which is apparently the only way to stay alive among the conglomerate media sharks.
The chumps are winning. They are having their way. With us and then without us, they are having their way. And please let’s be honest that it truly galls us that they do it with zero attention to style or sophistication. If only they were clever about it! we lament internally. It pains us, with our multiple degrees, elevated humor and lust for nuance, that these loser dudes are dominating the attention wars. That their branded cruelties continue to find supporters across time zones and income registers, still appalls and confounds us. Think pieces, explainers and primers flow generously from various platforms promising to illuminate the obvious for the non-believers: The chumps are winning – here’s why.
If I seem angry it’s because I am but also kinda done. The accompanying theatrics of a media landscape as corrupt and jaded as the villains they report on leave me cold by now. We are caught in a spin cycle of billionaire power plays and we, the public, are not even collateral anymore, not even pawns. That’s maybe my most significant takeaway from this: Neither this billionaire nor that cares one whit about my micro platform, or communities, or political leanings. My existence does not register for them. It simply does not.
Given that, I feel a bit freer. I can stay on my BS with abandon. I can plant seeds, fertilize ideas, cultivate cultures with or without billionaire controlled platforms. I really want more of the so-called liberal elite to get wiser, but that’s a fool’s errand, like waiting on white folks to eradicate racism, or for the West to unhitch itself from neoliberal doctrine. I will do what I have done until now: Write into the wind. Speak as if someone, somewhere might be listening. Read alongside readers. Become an illustrator who paints big pictures with words.
Anyway, I think everyone should listen to these smart things that Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom has to say about the current state of affairs. She has a habit of making sense, even when the chumps are winning.