2 Live Crew were raucous and loud and edgy in their time. But at least one of their messages was correct: fuck censorship. Their time in the spotlight has come and gone, but that message remains.
Apparently, though, some people never got the memo. Apparently some social media sites have replaced thinking humans who could reason and stretch their minds around and over prickly concepts, with computer-produced metrics created by using flawed data in flawed rules to create a “hit list” that mindless (YES, ONCE MORE, LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK: MINDLESS) drooling mental cripples use to restrict permissions on accounts of people who don’t act in accordance with whatever insane rules that platform chooses to enact (and worse, enforce) on any given day.
“But it’s all free!,” you say, kowtowing to the notion that not paying a monthly fee gives a company the right to treat its clients any way they please? No. Look up the phrase “social contract.” Then get back to me, I’m not waiting for your dullard ass to catch up. And by the way, it is most assuredly NOT free if they do any of the following: present advertisements to you; collect individually-personal data (as opposed onto to aggregated data) on your use of their site; SELL any information they collect about you; claim ownership of any material you choose to post on their site; and the list goes on — I’m no lawyer, but I know right and wrong.
Any organization which purports to provide a consumer good, which advertises to attract customers, should be run by individuals (i.e. humans, not hive-minded metrics-slaves) in an adult fashion, where appropriate grievances are heard and discussed and addressed fairly. Not where grievances are ignored, stonewalled, explained away by specious logic, or worst of all, blandly rebuffed by the oh-so-memorable 4-point EULA (End User User Agreement) (or whatever they choose to call it) which says they can fuck you over for any or no reason at all. Doing that is like being proud to live in a “right to work” state. You simpering moron, it’s a “right to FIRE” state! God! We really have to be having these discussions this far along in humanity’s evolution from the first fish who shambled on the sand?
Let me be completely transparent: I was given a lifetime ban on Twitter (after numerous shorter bans) for riding up on Tommy MacKaren’s site, and blasting her an additional anus, every time she made derogatory remarks about Democrats. Yes, I should have been the bigger person, and ignored her blather. But something about her — I just had to react. So I would launch into her, “parroting” some of her own language back at her (“stop repeating what I said!” — remember that children’s game?), poking holes the lame attempts at logic she would try to use, and so forth. I figured since she was being rude, and calling Democrats all sorts of ugly names, that I was quite justified, her being a PUBLIC FIGURE and HER STARTING THE NAME-CALLING, to call her a few ugly names. Well, there must be some very non-British and/or milquetoast men and/or angry women who are Twitter’s Gestapo force (or else their metrics focuses on the term I used). I called her a c*nt (with the asterisk replaced by a vowel). BAM! That got me the lifetime boot. But you know what? Twitter was never my favorite platform, as I viewed it for people that have way fucking too much free time — recall OrangeBaby’s use of it, compared to our current President’s non-use of it.
How is this self-serving story relevant? Because you save giving the boot, dropping the nuclear bomb, or even pigeonholing people (more on which later) for the most heinous of the heinous folks, who are committing the most heinous of heinous deeds. Let’s take another one of my examples: Facebook. I enjoy being able to follow other poets of Facebook. That (more or less) means I see their posts. Seeing their posts pleases me. When I am pleased, I am happier. It doesn’t apparently matter to Facebook that I only have 200ish friends, but I may follow more people than that to read what other people are thinking, what they are feeling, what they wish to SHARE with people just like me — their fans. And yes I get all the ads that have encroached on FB’s real estate, and yes I hate the way the User Interface now looks like it was designed by eighth-graders for use by fifth-graders. But that’s the “social contract” that FB and I have made. I know they sell my data and send me ads and have their own “naughty words list” and no, you can’t badmouth white-supremacist mouth-breathing trailer-park trash pieces of human garbage there, because they are supposedly keeping things fair for everyone. Right. But all in all, they have not proven themselves reprehensible to me. So we coexist. And that is a good thing. A few people have liked a few of my poems, it made their day happier, and so much vice versa back the other way, and no one was hurt by it. Thank you, Facebook.
Now what would you think, no, how would you FEEL if one of your friends, who works several jobs, who promotes and encourages young writers and poets, who has won awards for her editing work, who connects with and nurtures each new contact (in no small part because of her primary line of work), has multiple college degrees, who has lived in wildly disparate parts of the world, who puts in long and unpaid hours at one of the hottest indie presses of today, who has an unbreakable spirit … but that spirit is at the verge of shattering. You would ask, “Why? What would anyone do to intentionally cause harm to such a nice person?”
Let me interject, to foreshadow. What if Twitter had told me I could READ Twitter posts, but never again comment on one, never again follow a new person? Hey on Facebook, “way leads upon way,” and I have discovered many new poets by following some of the people that my “original” followed poet follows? that’s a happy thing.
Contrast to: a company who has drawn in other clients who follow a friend writer to the platform to read their work, thus demonstrably increasing the power or worth of that platform, that platform decides that one of their oh-so-important and oh-there-can-be-no-exceptions and oh-we-don’t-really-DO-complaints “metrics” (using that term loosely) was violated, when the well-meaning and well-liked member simply followed too many people in a single session. She found some people that she wanted to read more of, thus boosting interaction for the platform. She wasn’t soliciting anyone, she wasn’t spamming anyone, she was organically (not randomly) growing her network, as she had done in previous sessions. And her punishment? She can no longer follow anyone ever again on that platform. They pigeonholed her, put her in a tiny box. All her many- well-reasoned appeals fell on stone-deaf ears.
You know what this is an example of? Censorship. And as Luthor and the boys taught us (those of us who listened), CENSORSHIP SUCKS!