OUT TO LUNCH
There’s a new fun game in town and it’s called Twitter Block Bingo. Rather like conventional bingo, the caller names a Twitter account (e.g @lunchout2) and players attempt to access the page. If they find they are blocked from following or seeing that person’s tweets then they note it down and score a point. The caller goes through 25 Twitter accounts and the winner at the end of the session is obviously the person blocked by the most people.
For those of you who have yet to discover the joys of Twitter I should explain what blocking is all about. It’s an extreme form of virtue signaling and allows the blockers to feel that they are creating a better world for all by not allowing “neo-Nazi” extremists access to their social media pearls of wisdom. It also means that any nasty comments these “neo-Nazis” make don’t appear on their “timeline”; which is the constantly updated stream of garbage coming from those they have chosen to follow.
In other words, in the bubbling cauldron of malice that is the Twitterverse, they believe they have created the equivalent of a safe space for themselves complete with fluffy kittens and Linus blankets. Except they haven’t. It’s all a delusion because if you do happen to be blocked by somebody on Twitter all you have to do is open a new account (if you really can be bothered) or use somebody else’s account. There are also a couple of programmes that can circumvent the blocking.
The pinnacle of Twitter narcissism is blocking somebody who doesn’t even follow you, presumably as a precautionary measure. The DA’s Phumzile van Damme favours this strategy which is rather ironic because she claims to be the DA’s Shadow Communications Minister on her web page. I can’t remember tweeting anything that Ms van Damme could possibly have taken offence to but who cares if I did? Just in case she ever tweets something of interest I have employed a pensioner on a small retainer to monitor her Twitter page (@zilevandamme) and let me know if anything earthshattering appears.
When it comes to competitive Twitter Block Bingo (TBB) I am pretty certain that I am the grand slam champion, the Roger Federer of TBB. Obviously I am blocked by Max du Preez because practically everybody is blocked by Max du Preez. I’m also blocked by Peter Bruce, Nic Dawes, Ranjeni Munusamy and Adriaan Basson which is a royal flush in my opinion with the position of queen up for grabs.
Whoever would think that these giants of South African journalism would run sobbing into the garden crying for their mommies just because of something I once said on Twitter? But my list goes on and I can even boast Jonathan Jansen who seems to have had a sense of humour failure because I call myself a Professor of Applied Histrionics in my Twitter profile. For heaven’s sake, it’s a joke Jonny and is it my fault that I get upgraded on flights?
Eusebius (have I mentioned that I’m gay in the last ten minutes) McKaiser is a serial blocker. He once described Jeremy Gordin and me in one of his not so best selling books as “witless, middle class homophobes”. Middle class? That really hurt. Anyway, Eusebius prefers to operate in an echo chamber and will cordially invite you to follow him just so that he can block you.
My list of blockers is hugely impressive but I often wonder which of my odious world views prompted the blocking in the first place. Is it my long held belief that the ANC are a bunch of thieving rogues who shouldn’t be trusted to run a spaza shop? I know it must be tough for commie sympathisers like Bruce and du Preez to admit that I was right all along but does that really warrant a blocking on Twitter?
Maybe it was my opinion that government should merely facilitate economic growth and not use social engineering like BBBEE in an attempt to fake it. Or my unfashionable opinion that, speaking as a serial victim, the benefits of colonialism should be celebrated. Admittedly I wouldn’t have wanted to be around when the Romans invaded but I’m quite happy that they left a few mementoes at the end of their Empire to make life a little more bearable for we Anglo-Saxons. Or maybe it was my comment that a troubled woman should not threaten to “out” her alleged rapist on Twitter but should rather observe the rule of law and report the matter to the police.
Perhaps the explanation is much simpler and that is that the blockers are suffering from a mental condition known as Allodoxaphobia (the fear of hearing opinions). Now obviously there would be no phobia if you happened to be hearing opinions which accorded with yours so the condition only presents when there is a reaction to opinions with which you do not agree. In extreme cases the symptoms can result in panic attacks, nausea, excessive sweating and sometimes an inability to articulate complete sentences. The allodoxaphobic will also invent imaginary demons (such as the alt-right) that are trying to poison his mind with these unpalatable opinions.
Hypnotherapy can help as can a course of Neuro-Linguistic Programming but it seems that the patient can only heal if they have the will to do so. Being told to “grow some” or to “suck it up” isn’t helpful and will only drive the sufferer into further torment as their agitated brains try to cope with ideas that seem totally alien. Blocking on Twitter simply applies a Band-Aid to the problem because, despite the temporary preventative measures, the allodoxaphobic knows that the opinions are out there somewhere and are out to get him.
Some people do recover from allodoxaphobia as F W de Klerk demonstrated back in February 1990. Others may never recover but they do at least take some comfort from the fact that they enjoy the most coveted of 21st century social status….that of a victim.
_ _ _ _ _
If you like what Politicsweb does, and would like to continue to read this sort of feature in the future, please consider becoming a supporter through our membership programme, run through Steady, here.