The Smart Guys’ Secret Social Network, a ragtag band of heterodox thinkers from all walks of life, recently convened in Los Angeles to discuss what the group saw as an ever rising tide of social media trolls and online attacks.
“It’s getting really tiresome,” moaned Guy Stuben, host of popular YouTube channel “The Stuben Retort.”
You can mute and block all day long, but eventually you need to address certain attacks, because they carry negative consequences if you just ignore them.
Everyone nodded in approval.
“I mean, some of these attacks cost people their livelihoods!” exclaimed Stuben, who apparently conveniently forgot he made a comfortable living with fans paying monthly for his acclaimed YouTube interviews produced in his studio/garage and revenue from podcast ads.
“That’s why I’ve been saying all along litigation is the answer,” barked Todd Starnes, a prominent attorney with a boisterous social media presence. “We must sue the shit out of every person who calls us racist, sexist, transphobic bigoted poopyheads. No one should be able to compare our facial complexion with fecal matter and escape serious consequences.”
“That’s a hell of a thing,” mused clinical psychologist James Stephenson, the group’s elder statesman. “Some of these remarks make people resentful. Being resentful isn’t conductive to life’s eternal struggle. When you’re called a white supremacist it’s hard to make your bed first thing in the morning!”
“We might be able to fix this with my new Disagreeability algorithm,” mathematician Jeremy Weintraub piped in. “It employs Russell Conjugation to automatically blacklist from search engines every disagreeable comment someone makes about us. Finally we’ll be able to have those rational conversations we all love having!”
“Or, guys, maybe we could all realize we’re public figures, and being a public figure means you’re going to take some shots from time to time,” countered conservative pundit Len Castillo. “You know I was the number one target of…”
Everyone immediately told Len to shut up, as he was very short, and the opinions of short people meant nothing to the Smart Guys’ Secret Social Network.
“Man, all of this is too heavy,” mumbled comedian Bo Hogan. “I think I’m going to smoke some weed and stare at an Acacia tree. Hey, did you guys know Terrence McKenna once said the Acacia is rich in Dimethyl Triptamine? That’s DMT! The Spirit Molecule! If you smoke that stuff you can really see God!”
As was the usual, no one understood a damn thing Hogan said.
Across the country, the heads of lawmakers on Capitol Hill exploded when two women of color on different sides of the political and ideological aisles said the exact same thing at the exact same time. The remarks from a Democratic Representative and the Communications Director for a major Republican activist group ruptured the space-time-bullshit continuum.
“How dare someone take a clip of something stupid I said out of context from what’s probably ages ago and try to use it against me! This type of hateful rhetoric isn’t just intellectually dishonest. It will lead to violence, and I’m ashamed of my colleagues across the aisle who don’t join me in condemning this hate speech. Don’t you know I get death threats? The only time this tactic is ever okay is when we’re doing it to the other guy!” both women cried out.
Inside the White House, the President of the United States watched the fracas on six televisions (three tuned to C-Span, three to Fox News) with a smile. “They laughed when I talked about opening up the libel laws on the campaign trail,” he smiled as he opened up his Twitter account. “No one’s laughing now! Sad!”
And somewhere, in an undisclosed location, Justine Sacco grumbled at the entire state of free speech in the United States. “It would’ve been nice if you’d sorted all this out before the online mobs came for me.”