A lot of my friends don't understand Twitter. And I've heard from more than one guy I've met "You use facebook a lot, don't you?" Yes, yes I do.
But every time there's something big happening, I appreciate Twitter more and more. When the earthquake and tsunami happened in Japan, I knew immediately because of Twitter, and got to watch it live on tv at 3am here. I would have never known otherwise, because I don't sit around late at night with CNN on. I generally have better things to do at 3am, like peeling off my nail polish or memorizing the lyrics to Uptown Girl. I don't however have anything better to do than watch oil refineries explode and cargo ships overturn. None of you do. Except maybe anyone living in Japan at that time.
Sunday night I got the heads up from Twitter at 10 that the President was going to make a big announcement, and no one knew what it was. I dutifully turned on MSNBC at 10:30, and was subjected to half an hour of two anchors sitting there going "I don't know what to talk about, so I'll just talk about how nice the White House Correspondence Dinner was. Haha, wasn't that stuff about Trump funny?" No one at that point honestly knew what the announcement was going to be, and that's always scary, to have the entire nation waiting for something unknown and awful. Simultaneously boring and terrifying. It could have been anything! Hillary Clinton is Dead! Alien Ship Found! Putin Nuking China! Asteroid Headed for Earth! Intelligent Life Discovered at the Bottom of the Ocean! Antarctica Falls Completely in the Sea - South America Wiped Out!
Oh but it was none of those things. No, instead it was the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Yawn. I don't care. I turned the tv to the saved episode of Dr. Who from last night. If there was a negative space of caring, that's where I would be. The Care Vacuum. The Black Hole of Care.
That's not entirely accurate. Like, I'm into the rest of the story, especially the part where people act crazy and weird and relieved, and then tweet like a million things about it, and all go out to Times Square and party a lot and scream things in costume. And then all the comedians I follow on Twitter spent the next two hours coming up with every funny thing they could think of about this weird symbolic victory. And the other 40% of people got all "this doesn't change anything assholes", and everyone else was like "stop being party poopers!" and that's pretty much the same pattern Twitter falls into anytime anything happens. Royal Weddings. Lady Gaga shows. Libya.
Here are some of my favorite tweets from Sunday night:
@BridgetCallahan Deep down in the seat of my soul, I resent David Gregory for taking away my hope Obama was going to announce he found an alien ship.
@SmartBitches That sound you hear is a million Tea Partiers taking their suicide pills because they don't know what to believe anymore.
@rilaws HOLY SHIT: http://twitpic.com/4s6wcl
@alwysabridesmd: "Does this mean we can stop bombing the shit out of people now?"
@mollylambert Obama's presidency just became Blazing Saddles
@jumonsmapes I'm ready for you to TURN ON THE FUCKING NEWS. RT @ladygaga Are monsters ready for me to announce the premiere of The Judas Video?
@billytwitty 2011: US allows gays into the army. Later in 2011: US army kills bin laden. WELL DONE GAY PEOPLE!
@iamcaroline I fucking WISH they would blast party in the usa and throw miley cyrus bong hits videos up on every screen in times square right now
@simonpegg There's a slight sense in the more sensationalist media that the world just completed a particularly tricky video game.
@kellyoxford Tom Clancy has been jerking off all morning
@SethMacFarlane Never celebrate after destroying a small enemy spaceship, ‘cause someone’s about to point off-screen and say “Oh. My. God.”
@BridgetCallahan I just got spam for a prepaid credit card called BillMyParentsLater. I'm so in love with the Internet right now it hurts.
So yup, that's what I did that night, that's my experience of this national moment, glib lines the like of which you could hear at any amateur stand up comedy open mic night. Other people I follow kept complaining about super patriotic crazy people being super patriotic crazy and how awful Twitter and Facebook were. I only have a few people in my feed who bothered with the "America! Fuck yeah!" shit. So I went searching for it. Because you know what I love about the Internet? I love how horrible and beautiful and all inclusively immediate it is. It's not just stupid crazy people. It's not just smart reasonable people. It's EVERYTHING. ALL AT ONCE and ALL THE TIME. Social media has shown me the Great Horror, the gigantic black squid squeezing the juice out of the world, and I can't stop looking at it and being constantly entertained all the time by it's straight up what the fuckness. It's like Stockholm Syndrome, only like, more awesome.
Example: This tweet of mine
"@BridgetCallahan Nobody ever gives me credit for all the times I'm not a drunk slut."
got as many retweets as this tweet:
"@BridgetCallahan Dear US: Now that you're hungover, let me run this by you: Affordable alternative energy, free health care, let my friends get married."
Noticeable different in quality and intent, but the Internet doesn't care. It just wants to eat it all and spit it up in everyone's mouth equally.
Maybe this is all a reaction to the fact I can't take anything the real world does seriously anymore.
A lot of my friends and family, their reaction was "it's awful to be so jubilant about death, it's unchristian, it's barbaric." Oh, I get that. If I had any sort of reaction to this besides entertained observer, I would probably agree. But I forgive everyone living in NYC, and everyone who lost someone. I'm happy for them. I don't think the rest of the country ought to give as much of a fuck, they are just like me, buying into bread and circuses, but the people who lived there? No, go for it. That happened to your city. I see the bloodthirsty glee on their faces and I understand that, and I don't want to take that away from them. You can understand without condoning. You can watch without judging. You want to get into a moral argument with me, fine. I'll probably shut right up. Just keep in mind that whole "It's not Christian or Buddhist or Bible approved" thing isn't going to fly with me. If someone killed my brother, I'd feel pretty good about them being shot after evading capture for 10 years and that whole time trying to kill more people. Something being wrong doesn't stop you from feeling it, and don't press me on the difference between that guy and lots of other *ahem* world leaders, cause I know it ain't much.
All of you in the rest of the country need to calm the fuck down though. And the next person who compares Osama to Hitler will get punched in the face.
May 1st was also my sister's birthday, one of my best friend's birthday, International Workers Day, Beltane. As Carrie put it at dinner last night "And May 1st continues to be this weird nexus of historical significance for no apparent reason."