A quiet suburban community is reeling from the horrific tragedy of two men leaving a home dinner mutually agreeing to disagree with each other over certain controversial subjects.
“Look, I like Jim,” said John Anderson, “We meet every week or two with our spouses for dinner, and we’ll try occasionally to find common ground on stuff, but I just think he’s wrong about a few things. He’s got great taste in scotch, though!”
“I’ve known John ever since he and his husband moved to the neighborhood,” quipped Jim Stone. “He’s an incredibly smart guy and very generous with his time to anyone who asks. I just fundamentally disagree with him on a few issues and have since we first met.”
Reactions to this nightmarish scenario varied, but most believed at least one of the men should’ve been punched in the face.
“I think it’s really telling about the state of civil discourse in our country,” mused high school debate coach Chip Hall, “when two people can have a reasoned argument using facts, evidence and logic while never once accusing the other party of being a racist bigot. Who in their right mind would ever want to skip such an easy shortcut!”
“OMG I can’t even right now,” Stone’s daughter Cassandra posted to social media the night of the tragedy. “Dad and Mr. Anderson had an entire dinner where they talked about important stuff and neither one called the other Literally Hitler! What kind of adults do that?”
“It was really a sight to behold,” remarked Agnes, Mr. Anderson’s mother. “I was there that night and neither my Johnny nor Mr. Stone once raised their voices at each other. They were laughing and smiling the whole time they talked about politics and football, and offered to do it again next week!”
Ms. Anderson collapsed from the excitement of it all. She is currently in stable condition at Tall Cedars Hospital.
Rumors are circulating that this is no isolated incident in the community. We’ve heard similar stories of individuals and even groups getting together in private spaces holding discussions about big ideas or serious topics in a civilized fashion, but such nonsense has already been discredited by the Poynter Institute as “unreliable news.”
Meanwhile, in Silicon Valley, a group of tech executives met to discuss how to stop events like this from happening again.
“Did no one remember to up the dopamine/screentime ratios on smartphones this week?” asked the confidential source from Apple.
Upon the revelation that Anderson and Stone both owned Samsung Galaxys, the Apple exec roared, “CALL THE DAMN CHINESE AND GET THEM ON OUR LEVEL!”
“We’re doing our part,” a Facebook strategist piped in. “We’ve tweaked our algorithms so Stone and Anderson are getting notifications every day they’re not keeping followers updated on when they last used the restroom by writing a post, but neither seems to take the bait.”
“We’ve got this,” a Twitter Trust and Safety executive sneered. “Anderson tweets regularly about potato salad recipes. We’ll make “potato salad” code for “white supremacy,” add references to it as against our Community Guidelines, and both will be off our platform in a matter of hours.
No one in the neighborhood seemed to notice or care when Anderson and Stone privately disappeared from social media the following week. The Silicon Valley tech giants patted themselves on the back, thrilled at their success in using technology to further divide humanity through a false sense of connection.
As for the Andersons and Stones, it’s only rumor right now, but apparently dinner is at the Stone house next week, with Mr. and Mr. Anderson bringing over a bottle of Hibiki 17.