The Emperor’s New Clothes Are Awfully Revealing

Not since the days when I helped plan satirical plays for a gravel pit in West Athens, Maine have I laughed so hard. The simultaneous meltdown of Twitter’s ability to verify its high profile users and the resulting outburst of creative fun have been a welcome relief from the relentless bad news of the day: bait-and-switch on a few crumbs of student loan forgiveness, simultaneous CIA regime change operations aimed at Russia, China, and Iran, and cold weather approaching while hundreds of thousands in the U.S. are without homes.

The closest thing the U.S. empire has to an emperor is the SpaceX CEO, a man who inexplicably bought a highly successful social media platform in order to .. run it into the ground? It’s likely he thought it would bend to his will because, hey, he’s a billionaire and that’s how things work. But it turns out that’s not how free or even partially free speech works. 

In a shocking revelation that legitimacy cannot be purchased (who would have guessed?) the sale of the blue check mark quickly turned into a free for all where, as one wag put it, kids spent their lunch money to impersonate Fortune 500 companies. And this tanked their stocks!

Another thrilling example of an evil, bloodsucking corporation lampooned financially with humor:

Verification on sale for $7.99 a month quickly led to a hall of mirrors as accounts scrambled to claim to be who they said they were (or weren’t, as the case may be).


Needless to say, the emperor himself came in for a lot of impersonation as did his once valuable platform.

Social media is a newish phenomenon, unlike building cars or even rocket ships. But one of its most well-established tenets is: if you’re getting a service for free, then YOU are the product. Because the owners of the platform can sell access to you to their advertisers. Charging you to be the product exhibits the confusion of those who think anything can be monetized to their advantage.

Did I mention that while taking an ax to the free-content-from-famous-people model that built Twitter, the new owner also decided to fire 50% of the workers? The speed with which this was done violated labor laws in several states. 

And the new normal at Twitter may entail generating income by selling users’ personal data in ways that are prohibited by law. But not to worry — the emperor’s personal lawyers assured his remaining employees that they would be safe from legal repercussions if they followed his orders.  I doubt that many of Twitter’s remaining workers were dumb enough to fall for that. 

It takes a special kind of wealth and worldly success to engender the hubris to make these kinds of blunders. 

Did I mention that the emperor also tweeted the day before the midterms to vote Republican? But, like many of his tweets as supreme leader of the bird, he took that one back down.

Pessimists are predicting that, without the terminated software engineers to keep the bird aloft, it will lose more feathers each day until it eventually sinks to Earth. Notwithstanding the fact that many who were fired were offered their jobs back almost immediately, you won’t be surprised to hear that many considered themselves well out of the chaos and declined. (A slew of  top executives were either fired or resigned, too.)

Free speech used to mean oration and publishing in the press. Then social media came along offering a ton of freedom and reach until the tech bros got cozy with government and began restricting the flow of information quietly, behind the scenes. The emperor’s need to brag went against this tacit agreement about how things are done. He was supposedly good at making money but his new attire reveals his butt hanging out there, slowly twisting in the wind.

I’m old enough to know that most things come to an end no matter how much you love them. The In Spite of Life Players retired from the gravel pit to be seen no more. I still miss them, and I will miss Twitter. 

But, it was fun while it lasted.

One last joke before we go:

Peasants WILL Support The Wars Of Their Overlords — Or Else

There’s no point trying to write something better about so-called progressives in Congress publishing and then quickly disavowing a letter to Biden suggesting negotiations to end the bloodshed in Ukraine. In “The Brutal Comedy of the Withdrawn Letter,” Matt Taibbi has already aptly described the clownish collapse of anything resembling opposition to shoveling billions into arming Ukraine. Jayapal, AOC, Liz Warren, and even Bernie are millionaires controlled by billionaires, and the fear that they had angered the billionaires who own them was palpable.

The project of weakening Russia in order to take on China without their big ally is one underwritten by every billionaire-owned media outlet in the West. “Step out of line, the man comes and takes you away.”

Scott Ritter provided an immediate test case for the claim that “the bird is freed” i.e. Elon Musk’s Twitter would no longer see speech stifled to please the rich and powerful. 

Musk flunked. Is there anyone who really believed he’d pass? 

In “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” Ritter details how he was suspended from Twitter back in April for the a tweet like this one:

He went on to explain:

I based this conclusion on three primary sources, which included a videotape of a Ukrainian official warning the citizens of Bucha that a “cleansing operation” was going to be conducted in Bucha, and that the citizens should remain indoors and not to panic, an article which appeared in an official Ukrainian government website, LB.ua, entitled “Special forces regiment ‘SAFARI’ began to clear Bucha of saboteurs and accomplices of Russia,” which declared that “Special forces began clearing the liberated, by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, city of Bucha of the Kiev region from saboteurs and accomplices of Russian troops,” and video which purported to show members of the Safari Regiment shooting civilians who were not wearing the blue distinguishing armbands signifying loyalty to the Ukrainian cause.

But never mind about evidence. Controlling information about the NATO’s war in Ukraine has been job #1 from the get-go, and I’ve written about it several times already (e.g. here and here).

Truth tellers are still out here but their reach is much curtailed. 

Various pretexts have been offered for why too much truth could endanger the peasantry.

First, they said Russia was meddling in U.S. elections. And anyone questioning or denying this should be silenced. (Meanwhile, The Intercept among others news outlets silenced news of the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop until after the 2020 election.)

Source: “During COVID-19 Pandemic It Isn’t Just Fake News But Seriously Bad Misinformation That Is Spreading On Social Media”, Forbes

Then, they said so-called disinformation on the pandemic was dangerous to our health. And the restrictions put in place to suppress beliefs that eventually became mainstream e.g. lab origin, ineffectiveness of vaccines in stopping transmission, remained.

Next, they said Ukraine was a democracy and an innocent victim of Russia’s unprovoked aggression. Journalists with large followings who pointed out the Maidan coup happened all the way back in 2014 were shadow banned or suspended from social media. And an army of bots attacked anyone who expressed doubt about the righteousness of NATO’s cause.

Finally, they said any questioning of the many false flags in this war — massacred civilians in Bucha, shelling of the nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhia, sabotage of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany– was grounds for being silenced.

Silencing of dissent is dangerous as we face open confrontation between nuclear powers.

I took some comfort yesterday from war-watcher Big Serge on why neither the U.S. nor Russia is likely to use nukes in Ukraine.

I wanted to include a photo of the massive French austerity protests here, but Google only wants me to know about the CIA-sponsored uprisings in Iran — despite my using the search terms “france protests today.” Search engines are an important part of the information control matrix. 

Meanwhile, more austerity for the peasants rolls on. After Ukraine sent drones to attack ships at port in Sevastopol, Russia suspended grain shipments via ship. (That the grain was supposed to go to hungry people in Africa but was actually ending up in Europe may have had something to do with it.) 

Those with the patience and a stomach for truth may want to listen to the 3 1/2 hour speech plus Q & A session with Putin at the Valdai Discussion Club last week. If you need a chuckle today, imagine either Biden or Kamala Harris pulling off something like what Putin did at Valdai.

Why am I laughing in the face of millions freezing and starving this winter as we face the real possibility that our corporate overlords crave nuclear war?

Because if I start crying I might not be able to stop.


* Actually, I was wrong. AOC is only half a millionaire. Thanks to reader Edward F. for the correction.