John Gruber of Daring Fireball is the poster child for former smart people who suffer from permanent Trump-era induced brain damage. DF was my get up in the morning goto site but that changed in 2017 as Gruber obsessed about Trump at the expense of doing what he was great at. And John was always a hack ‘off with their heads’ political blowhard. The polar opposite of his Apple and tech writing.
I hoped those poles would stay in their opposite separate positions and Gruber could still post good tech stuff. Unfortunately the Elon Musk takeover of Twitter pushed him over the edge into a permanent political looney funhouse mirror worldview. The heady tangled mix of politics and big tech crashed, revealing his limits. Instead of looking at all sides of a complex issue and asking good questions for us to think about together, he stoops to the same level of shadow banning practiced by social media operators, presenting his one sided narrative that violently ignores all the other deadly stuff going on. All because it doesn’t feed his hate fix.
It was apparent to me in early 2019 that Twitter was deeply dysfunctional and shadow banning all the people they didn’t like, especially in Japan. In COVID zero year 2020 everything went insane, honest science and medical debate was tossed out the window and banned as “misinformation”. Even as things seemed to cool down in the post-Trump era, over time the deadly stuff slowly started to surface. Then Elon finally bought Twitter after a long drawn out buyout drama with Gruber covering it at his gloating childish ‘Elon’s gonna lose big time’ worst. As Elon started cleaning the Twitter house as promised, Gruber gloated more about the end of Twitter and moved on to the Mastodon ghetto, a safe haven for former cancel culture Twitter Statsi who can no longer cancel. People with poisoned minds who need their Trump-hate fix, but now that Trump is no longer in power get their fix with Elon hate. People who can dish it out but can’t take it. People like Gruber.
Maybe Twitter will die. It’s been on life support since at least 2019. At this point I don’t really care but hope Elon and company make a go of it. Gruber completely ignoring the Matt Taibbi Twitter Files exposé in his gleeful Twitter death dance DF posts speaks volumes about where he is. And there is Dave Rubin’s recent visit to Twitter HQ. I’m not a Rubin or Elon fan but Elon calling Twitter “a Fractal Rube Goldberg Machine,” succinctly captures what I’ve been feeling these past few years. Social networks aren’t about developers and programming skills, they’re about human nature which doesn’t change. If the Mastodon crowd thinks their chosen social ghetto platform won’t suffer from the same problems as Twitter over time, they are deluding themselves…again.
The Twitter machine was baling wire and bubble gum with the ghosts of Yoel Roth and bad company baked into every nook and cranny of the search and AI algorithms. It was bad design, by design, which is why all those people were needed to keep it running. You could also call it by design job security. You could also call it supposedly smart people doing stupid things…for politics. Get used to it, there’s a lot going around.