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I Sold My Soul on Twitter. Now I’m Trying to Win It Back

I didn’t like John McCain’s politics. He supported wars of aggression, and wasn’t nearly as “moderate” in his politics as many claimed. I also thought it was ridiculous that he was called a hero for telling a crazy woman that Barack Obama wasn’t an undercover Arab. If McCain were alive today, I’d still be complaining about him. But he’s not. This week, he died of brain cancer. His family lost a son, father and husband. And ordinary Americans lost a real war hero who refused early release from a North Vietnamese prison unless every man taken in before his capture was released with him.

But you wouldn’t know any of this from my left-wing Twitter feed, which looks like normal-human Twitter did the day U.S. soldiers killed Osama Bin Laden: Macabre celebration, and attacks on anyone who has anything nice to say about McCain. Dear lord, social media has turned us into terrible people.

It wasn’t that long ago that I would have done the same thing. Twitter allows us all to rush to bad decisions and type them out for the world to see. You tweet something about a dead man that you wouldn’t have had the guts to say to his face. It’s like the rush you get when, as a kid, you’d say a bad word out loud in public.

Back in the day when I was (what grandly might be called) a Twitter activist, my life was falling apart. I never thought about the consequences of my Tweets. I never thought that my targets’ families might see what I’d written, or that they may lose their jobs, or that even though we had massive disagreements politically, that these people were still human beings with feelings. All I cared about was getting validation. All I cared about was getting to bask in the negative energy of someone else’s crappy life, so that I didn’t have to confront my own. My marriage is falling apart, but at least I’m not Justine Sacco! I haven’t called my Dad back in weeks, but John McCain’s a dead asshole! Ninety percent of social media is projection.

And if someone died—for real Twitter addicts, that’s Asshole Christmas. If you could make a facile point that reinforced your team’s political stance on the day someone collapsed in front of his wife and kids—you were a true hero, the Twitter version of a captured pilot resisting torture in a POW camp. Except your prison was your mother’s basement, or your half of a Brooklyn apartment covered with Cheetos.

Jamie Kilstein

I’m only 36 years old, and so my memories of the pre-Internet world are dim. But it strikes me that when a public figure died 20 years ago, we didn’t run to the rooftops to scream stupid jokes about the guy. If, on the day of Nixon’s death, I’d have posted a note on a middle-school bulletin board declaring “#RememberWatergate Rot in Hell!” my classmates and teachers would have thought I was insane.

Fortunately, Troll Twitter doesn’t rule my life anymore: I largely gave it up in 2017, after my crowd turned on me in the aftermath of a public fight centred on my personal life. It ended up being a great decision. I now follow liberals, conservatives, independents, UFC fighters and drunk comedians. I’m exposed to people outside of my bubble, some of whom follow me back—so I take a second to think before writing some mean bullshit just to fit in.

On Sunday, I saw Megan McCain’s tribute to her dad. The words “I love you forever my beloved father” made me break down in tears—this was for a father and a daughter whom I spent much of my career as a stand-up comedian and podcaster attacking.

I keep reminding myself that John McCain was a Republican who supported wars that led to thousands of innocent people losing their lives. But I also keep reminding myself that Democrats supported those same wars. Barack Obama called in countless drone strikes in the Middle East and Central Asia, and Bernie Sanders supports the NRA—the very same bullet points you see on the anti-McCain hate manifestos that have gone viral this week in my old circles. But then, these hate spasms aren’t about policy or any actual analysis of McCain’s legacy. They’re about playing Twitter tough guy by spitting on a bogeyman’s casket.

The lessons I’ve learned since my divorce from left-wing Twitter go beyond social media. I’m now skeptical of any ideology whose organizing principle is based on the practice of dividing the world between angels and villains.

When I started to get invited on TV shows in 2012, I vowed I’d never do a right-wing station. “If FOX ever invites me on, you’ll see it on YouTube,” I’d say, “because I’ll be flipping over tables and smashing shit.” (For the record FOX, never invited me on.)

You don’t compromise with Nazis, I’d say. And I still believe that. Except that in those days, I’d declare—with a straight face—that Republicans such as John McCain weren’t much different from real historical Nazis. And you can still find plenty of people who think and Tweet this way on social media. Just as hardcore Sean Hannity viewers assume that every liberal is a masked Antifa activist with a backpack full of Molotov cocktails, my original Twitter tribe was composed of liberals who assume all Republican voters to be racist rednecks who pawn food stamps to buy guns, and decorate their trailer home with tacky Christian gift-shop kitsch.

I helped perpetuate that. I didn’t care about learning what the other side had to say. And if I did, by chance, come across something thought provoking from a forbidden source, I wouldn’t bring it up in public for fear of getting called out. (Last month, film director Mark Duplass made the mistake of Tweeting out: “I don’t agree with [Ben Shapiro] on much, but he’s a genuine person who once helped me for no other reason than to be nice.” This single Tweet actually became a trending story on Twitter for a whole day, and Duplass was forced to apologize.) The left takes joy in eating its own. And when someone suggests adding a conservative source to the communal reading list, things quickly become hysterical.

When I did finally bite the bullet and appear on a right-wing talk show last month, I didn’t flip over tables or smash things. Instead, I ended up making friends. The show was The Daily Wire with Michael Knowles, which broadcasts on Ben Shapiro’s network.

Turns out their offices are in Los Angeles—not in the Idaho hinterlands, surrounded by barbed wire and armed militiamen. And it says a lot about how brainwashed I was by stereotypes that I found myself surprised to see so many women and visible minorities casually strolling the hallways. In my ignorance, I’d once imagined these places to be a white-collar version of Triumph Of The Will.

I met Knowles while I was getting makeup done. He was warm and hilarious. In my former life, I’d never have pictured a Republican laughing at anything except the plight of the poor. Then his producer came in. His Latino female producer. I made direct eye contact in case she wanted to blink out some S.O.S kidnap code. But nothing. Just another goddamn nice, and funny, conservative.

At one point, someone brought in a gift from a fan to present to Knowles. Was it a hat emblazoned with the words “Grab ‘em by the pussy?” The gun used in the Parkland massacre? Nope. It was a tasteful painting of him and his wife on their wedding day. Then the producer walked out from behind a curtain, where she’d been pumping milk for their newborn baby. Turns out the party of family values occasionally attracts people who actually embrace family values.

I know what many readers are thinking about me at this point: another liberal who gets mugged by reality and suddenly goes full-on conservative. Trust me, I wish I could do that: I’d have a nice book deal and daily hits with Tucker Carlson. But that’s not me. I’m still a liberal—someone from the left reaching out to people on both sides.

Just the other day, Knowles himself was tweeting something crazy about abortion—the very opposite of what I believe on the subject. Old Me would have thought—or at least Tweeted—that Knowles wants millions of women to die in alleys. New Me realizes that we are two adults who have a disagreement on the question of when human life begins—just as I’m hoping that a conservative who sees me Tweeting against military adventurism won’t conclude that I “hate freedom,” but rather will realize that we simply disagree on the extent to which military intervention can help make the world a safer (and freer) place.

After Knowles’ show, which was a blast, the host invited me to church, and his producer sent me an email (again, free of any discernible coded rescue plea) thanking me for my appearance, and linking me up with a friend who she thought would be a useful professional contact. As for the show’s (largely conservative) audience, they didn’t send me the expected barrage of emails calling me a cucktard, but rather thanked me for coming on air and representing the other side. I replied in like manner. It felt good.

None of this changes my belief that many prevailing views on the right are dangerous, the same word that many conservatives would apply to my own opinions. But guess what happens if you don’t automatically assume the person who disagrees with you is an incipient genocidaire? You find common ground, or at least make friends in the effort. At the very least, you hold your tongue in respectful silence as an 81-year-old man is laid to rest after a lifetime of service to his country.

 

Jamie Kilstein is a comedian and host of the Jamie Kilstein Podcast. He has been seen on Conan, Showtime, FX, and crying over Twitter comments. He will be touring Sydney from Oct 24th till Nov 11th. Follow him on Twitter @jamiekilstein.

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62 Comments

  1. Lydia says

    There are tons of similar testimonials on #walkaway by nobodies who aren’t public personalities. It’s inspiring. People who want civil discourse concerning issues. Frankly, as a small Government Classic Liberal, I miss liberals. They at least believed in free speech.

    • Presumably you miss conservatives, too. We’ve had both points of view taken over by extremes, one that landed Trump as the head of conservatives without zero experience, a history of bad behavior, a liar who wants to divide America for personal gain.
      But I blame much of this on public schools. The idea of teaching kids is smart and correct, but the implementation clearly creates far too many who cannot enjoy the basic goods of liberty and equal protection, and now all sides are fighting to see who can reduce these the most to match their preferred tyrannies.

      • Trump isn’t a conservative. He was a pro-abortion Democrat for decades. He’s a centrist. The only ones dividing America are the tribalist Left who want us fighting with one another because we have different color skin. Whether or not they realize it, they’re doing Putin’s work for him.

        • vladdy says

          And may I add for the “no experience” theme: the job description is not “politician” (neither is it “community organizer,” but in the spirit of this column, I will merely state it once and shut up.)

          The job is for CEO of the United States — literally, head of the executive branch. There are few that meet those qualifications as well as our current president, and that certainly includes people who have spent their lives on the government dole.

          As a bonus, we also got an expert in real estate — he is managing to live rent-free in the heads of millions without even really trying (just a reminder that this was an essay about NOT gratuitously slamming the other side. Perhaps we could consider discussing ideas rather than 24/7 Trump, just for a while.)

          Started off eagerly looking forward to reading comments following this sensible article only to have it ruined by the all-too-common “no Trump supporters” exclusiveness that is the root of our extreme divisiveness today. Think I’ll skip it and go elsewhere.

        • mark olson says

          That is precisely the kind of language and attitude that the writer was talking about. What does that help? Who benefits from such accusations and provocations? As the writer observed of himself – are you here just to find someone to fight with to make yourself feel better about your own unhappy life, or what?

        • That is, literally, nonsense. The right constantly pushes things that divide America. And that does include racism and all it’s poisonous fruits.

  2. ga gamba says

    A fine essay. The more appropriate audience is at Slate, HuffPost, or where those like Mr/Ms Couch vent their spleen.

    A couple things caught my eye: And it says a lot about how brainwashed I was by stereotypes that I found myself surprised to see so many women and visible minorities casually strolling the hallways. . . . Then his producer came in. His Latino female producer. I made direct eye contact in case she wanted to blink out some S.O.S kidnap code. But nothing. Just another goddamn nice, and funny, conservative.

    Let’s not forget: Turns out their offices are in Los Angeles—not in the Idaho hinterlands, surrounded by barbed wire and armed militiamen. . . . In my ignorance, I’d once imagined these places to be a white-collar version of Triumph Of The Will.

    More like stereotypes, wrapped in clichés, inside caricatures. It appears Mr Kilstein was running a mental tally of women and visible minorities. One black fella. A brown lady. Another black. Two! And on it went. Evidence of whitey’s goodness by allowing them to casually stroll hallways.

    Something had caused him to run this count, and this ought to be explored. I suspect many other progressives wander through their day keeping count too – he’s not the first I’ve read who’s confessed being surprised. Does their presence, namely the colour of their skin and the shape of their genitals, mitigate the ‘deficiencies’ of conservatives’ character? Seems that way. If so, then progressives are discounting and accepting ideas based chiefly on superficialities. Who knows? Maybe that Latina make up artist spends her weekends hanging out at Cliven Bundy’s bunker. Yet, we should understand that his ignorance (of conservatism) was unravelled by other ignorance; the one that has the presence of blacks, browns, and women making once disliked ideas and their thinkers palatable. Ultimately, it’s still viewing people through the progressive racialised and sexualised lenses. Blacks, browns, and women, who are innately good, make others good. Without their presence, then goodness isn’t present.

    Many progressives have a racial and gender fixation, perhaps an obsessive compulsive disorder, but that’s an armchair diagnosis on my part, so take it with a large pinch of salt. I wonder what Kilstein’s take away would have been if the studio had been entirely white and male – conforming to his embraced stereotype – and everyone behaved as civilly as he experienced in the office of superficial diversity. Would this essay been written? And seeing how rattled white progressives get when blacks, browns, and women don’t conform to their presuppositions, this tells me their beliefs are on shaky ground. They exist is a world of ideology and not reality. ‘Construct’ is meaningful to them because they’ve fabricated a flimsy house at risk of being blown apart by the huff and the puff of the big bad wolf.

    I’m happy to read Kilstein now understands the faultiness of this prior world view, and I encourage him to analyse other progressive shibboleths still held. He may just find that they too were formed by the same brainwashing that caused him to have such a distorted view of people.

    Best wishes for his tour of Australia.

    • Matthew B says

      Absolutely. Their world view is not based in reality.

      • ga gamba says

        Not entirely, and I should have been a bit more careful to state it’s the identitarian progressives. We can’t deny there are people who are genuinely in need, who have been abused, and injustice happens. A compassionate left is needed to make sure their needs are addressed. One group who’s constantly overlooked is the profoundly disabled – I’m not talking about those who over ate themselves to need a mobility scooter. Today the vengeful progressives, the ones who poison most anything they touch, appear to hog the limelight. I don’t know whether that’s due to their numbers, their noisy and outrageous behaviour, or the media’s willingness to amplify their voices.

        • Daniel says

          ga gamba,
          That’s a good distinction you added there. Agreed.

          It seemed that Kilstein was enjoying telling a self-deprecating story, and was not only fully aware of the absurdities, but emphasizing them. You’re right that racial & sexual identities have become the only important measure of humanity for progressives.
          It’s morbidly fascinating to me because I almost get it. It’s natural to want other people to understand you, and understand what’s important to you. You feel accepted, heard, taken seriously, and valued. It’s a point of instant connection, but pedantically shallow. By putting people into these race-boxes, progressives can simplify all the complexities of life, boiling them down to: “Brown skin = not Republican = I like!” (Basically, the only three things that matter to them.)

          But what an impoverished way of viewing humanity! Someone’s welcome to explain otherwise to me, but it seems much more impoverished than seeing someone with different colored skin and not caring about their skin color…

        • Martha says

          “A compassionate left is needed to make sure their needs are addressed.”

          There is something deeply twisted in this phrase. Can you spot it around your blind side? Might it be where the “compassionate right” is to be found? Perhaps the word “compassionate” is just being thrown about too carelessly…

          Your first comment was interesting, however. Thanks

      • JB71 says

        The funny thing I remember from a decade or two back were the progressive left attempting to paint themselves as the ‘Reality Based’ party.

        Reality doesn’t care about political leanings. It’s not progressive, it’s not conservative. It doesn’t care about labels. It doesn’t care about feelings.

        It just is. And if there’s one thing Reality isn’t – it’s consensus based.

      • Let’s not go there and start talking about who’s world is or is not based in reality. That’s the whole point of what Jaime is trying to do here and I commend him for it. It takes a lot of balls to admit you were wrong and at the level of which he was participating in it. A lot of people could learn a thing or two from his example. 😉

    • 100% nailed-on correct. But it’s encouraging nonetheless, baby steps. In time, perhaps Kilstein will come to reflect more broadly on the foundations of his former worldview.

      • Baby steps for this one person. If you look around the world, you’ll see that division is the new norm, where globalism (the idea that we’re all human across Earth is not good?), free trade, liberty, equal protection under the law, hatred of fellow citizens, hatred of foreigners, etc. are instead taking big strides and stomping on any babies in the way.

    • David B. says

      What the author hilariously describes as “the aftermath of a public fight centred on my personal life” could be more accurately described as “allegations of abusive and sexually predatory behavior by several women that cost him his career, marriage, and all credibility as a liberal pundit”.

      But I’m so glad he’s been given a platform on a libertarian website to tell the rest of us mean old liberals about our character flaws.

      Fuck him and fuck John McCain.

      • ga gamba says

        Good grief! Allegations!??!?! We pronounce him guilty then. Send him to the gallows.

        Honestly, I’d never heard of this fella, but that’s probably due to my not running in male (ex) feminist circles. Seems I’ve missed out on all the fun. Shucks!

        Anyway, I love me a good scandal. This one may actually funnier than his comedy. Here’s a highlight: Another woman, a 22-year-old college student from Ohio, struck an online friendship with Kilstein after he liked one of her tweets in November 2015. He then sent her a direct message via Twitter. “I was star struck, because he’s a pretty famous podcaster,

        Dismal pickings in Ohio, presumably.

        You can get the low down on Jezebel. And yes, it’s as stupid as one expects. How it gets amped up to catastrophe level ought to serve as a warning: Avoid these people.

      • yandoodan says

        I like the way you side with Trump. You could strike up a bromance!

        Yeah, that’s pretty low. Oops!

      • “Abusive and sexually predatory behavior” means that Jamie Kilstein screwed a couple of his fans while he was on road trips. That’s it. Sounds like rape, but it was just good old fashioned highly satisfying sex between consenting adults.

        Until the day that one of those fans heard his podcast and Jamie used the phrase “road fucks” in a sentence. She immediately felt horrible, had to get rid of the feeling, and went to Twitter to accuse him of rape. His whole world collapsed as the SJW mob he led so many times turned on him.

      • Alistair says

        “Fuck him and fuck John McCain.”

        If I knew nothing else about you, this would be enough for everything I need to know about you….

        • aaron says

          Yeah, John Mccain was great — he helped in Operation Rolling Thunder. I’m curious if you know what that is, and still like him. If you support operation rolling thunder, and support Mccain dropping bombs on civilians in vietnam, by conservative estimation roughly half of the people killed were non-combatant, so you must support that too. Are you kidding me? If you fetishize John Mccain for mass-murdering peasants and farmers then THAT’S really all I need to know about you.

        • aaron says

          and that’s regardless of the fact that this person jamie used his “progressive and liberal” tokens to assist in his gaslighting and clearly mistreating women

    • X. Citoyen says

      Perceptive comment, ga gamba, but maybe we should give him this much: The identarians have ad hoc explanations they can draw on two account for cognitive dissonance like black conservatives, namely, false consciousness and the (downright nasty) Uncle Tom. To his credit, the author didn’t turn to these ugly worldview preservers, even though they had to be known to him. If he has this much humanity, i predict the rest will soon fall.

    • Jamie’s stereotypes… He’s lying to us about his past beliefs because he is a snake 🐍

      The ugly beast turned on itself and now the Snakes are gunna come a crawlin

      This fool is being treated to graciously BUT also essentially getting pimped out for being a “liberal that woke up”. He’s prostituting himself out y’all like his selfie?

      The dialogue needs to happen, but don’t bs me all these “funny” “stereotypical” “cliches” to come off as more innocent. Yeah Jamie really thought the studio was in Idaho, he’s bullshitting. These liberals are guilty off treason and encouraging political insurrections. They know damn well we’re good people, they’re at war with us for another reason…

      https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/part-I/chapter-115

      Read the Law (U.S. Code) regarding:
      Treason
      Misprision of Treason
      Rebellion or Insurrection
      Seditious Conspiracy
      Advocating Overthrow of Government

      Read it and you’ll start to see a lot of guilty people.
      This is a problemo we need to handle.

  3. Matthew B says

    My intuition tells me that the vengeful progressives are really about narcissism and revenge/power/control than any sort of justice or progress.

    More specifically to my above comment, when anyone slides toward an ideology, they are forced to reduce others – friend and foe, to caricatures to satisfy the ideology. To see and understand people as they are on an individual level, one is forced to abandon any set theories about their ‘collective’ natures, identities and behaviors. Reality vs Construct.

    Another telling factor is Kilstein’s confession that he attacked others more when his own life was in turmoil. When you place the identarians into a context where they are struggling more with their own identities and emotional and mental health, it may further explain their behaviors.

    I did not intend to convey that all left leaning people are delusional.

    • No, that’s just a lame ideology they have if you have to lie about others to make your belief more valid. Rigidity is the failure of the far right. Anything goes is the failure of the far left. Both hate otherism. Both prefer authoritarianism to implement their tyrannies.
      I’ll stick with my ideology of liberty and equal protection under the law, and understand that 7.5 billion people are all similar while very different individuals. No person is a state, a group, a community. There is no one correct idea. That’s why free markets work: they change over time to meet new needs and interests and discoveries. Liberty and equal protection assume we don’t know the right answer for everyone (hint: there’s no such thing as that right answer); it promotes cooperations, kindness and adaptation to deal with the present and future reality over any notions of faith-based coercion.

  4. Anthony says

    I never joined a faction on the left or the right, but it still felt like Twitter was an exercise in sipping a little bit of poison every day. I lost respect to a lot of people that I really wanted to look up to. Life is better without social media.

  5. OMRP says

    I only use Twitter (or any other social media) to share good music / cultural links or read what interesting people have to say. Glad I found one more. Cheers!

  6. Ocean Creature says

    Dear Jamie, thank you. What a delicious article! I am so glad you have decided to be an adult. And I don’t mean that facetiously! Adults have this amazing quality to curb their brat impulses. It’s what used to be called maturity! And we need more of it.

    As for the left, you commented that the left takes joy in eating its own. Too true… Mother’s who eat their young. And what was that about women saving the world and righting all its wrongs? Never going to happen. Men are brutal and women are vicious. But we can both mature to be adults, who bow their heads in silence and respect when an elder goes the way of all of us.

    Thank you again.

  7. Grandma says

    Good luck Jamie. You might grow up to be a responsible adult one day.

  8. Jinsing says

    I think it is a bit sad it took being attacked yourself to stop engaging in mob assault tactics on Twitter. You probably also think you are a good person because to you, leftist = good and tolerant. Maybe the part of you that is attracted to moral superiority also defines your political views.

    And John McCain is a warmonger. It’s pathetic how he’s being mourned like MLK

  9. Farris says

    Jamie I suspect you and I would agree on little but thank you for this…”You tweet something about a dead man that you wouldn’t have had the guts to say to his face.”
    Most of what I see on Twitter barely rises to the level of graffiti.
    Furthermore I think one of the greatest acts of cowardice is to say something publicly about someone you wouldn’t dare say to their face.

  10. donald j. tingle says

    Or, dude, you could just educate yourself on economics and politics, which wouldn’t necessarily make you a conservatives, but would change the beliefs that conservatives think (with good reason) are dangerous.

    I can’t help you with the tats or your other problems.

  11. Innominata says

    Thanks for a self-aware exploration.

    Speaking for myself, I find Twitter to be mostly the backed up toilet of the internet, a place where small minds go to get smaller and those off their meds find relief from their pain in whataboutism, sarcasm, baiting, and other deliberate anti-communication.

    Twitter feels like a virtual square full of the most pitiable homeless people yelling at strangers or the thin air, and sometimes spontaneously combusting, as some unfortunate declares a thoughtlessness and destroys his life.

    Maybe Yehoshua Ben Nazareth could communicate something truly profound in 140 characters, but I can’t find anyone comparable. About the best one can hope for is a good joke from comedians. But even they can’t resist becoming Knowers of Everything (How DID we make decisions before people who pretend to be other people or sing two-minute songs for a living proffer us their learned opinions?).

    If I were on Twitter, I’d spend my time reminding people that books exist. But then I’d be the guy passing out AA pamphlets at the bar, and it’s not the drinkers who are dumb in that scenario.

  12. It’s telling that Jamie only felt the need to discover conservatives were human AFTER he was shamed and had his life destroyed by the SJW mob he led so many times. Just imagine how many of them are still on the hate train and believe that anyone who disagrees with them must be a monster.

    Johnathan Haidt has done good work on the psychology of political persuasion. He’s a self-described liberal who discovered some of the personality traits that correlate with political belief. One of the most telling discoveries was that conservatives tend to be curious about what liberals think and why, while liberals see conservatives as inferior “other,” inherently incapable of thought. The slur as substitute for argument is glaring on these comments.

    Jonathan Haidt’s experiments ask liberals and conservatives to fill out questionnaires about their values, then to predict how someone from the opposite tribe would fill out the questionnaire. He finds that conservatives are able to predict liberals’ answers just fine and seem to have a pretty good understanding of their worldviews, but that liberals have *no idea* how conservatives think or what they value.

    http://www.aei.org/publication/liberals-or-conservatives-whos-really-close-minded/

    When faced with questions such as “One of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenseless animal” or “Justice is the most important requirement for a society,” liberals assumed that conservatives would disagree.

    http://theindependentwhig.com/haidt-passages/haidt/conservatives-understand-liberals-better-than-liberals-understand-conservatives/

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  15. papayapulp says

    Bernie Sanders supports the NRA? The NRA once endorsed Sanders (no the other way round as alleged in the article), in 1990, largely out of spite because they found the Vermont GOP candidate insufficiently obsequious to their demands. And in 2005, Sanders voted for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects gun manufacturers from tort actions for harms “resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse” of their products – which is entirely reasonable. If I make a hammer, I shouldn’t be liable for some nutjob bashing their neighbor’s head in with one. If the gun lobby is to be brought down, then it should be done through actual legislation against guns, not by means of underhanded tricks that saddle manufacturers with liability for actions that they have literally no control over whatsoever.

    Clinton the Wife tried to milk Sander’s 2005 vote for points in a primary debate in 2016 by framing it as protecting gun manufacturers from any liability whatsoever, a claim that, in today’s parlance, can justifiably be filed under alternative facts.

    Aside from that, Sanders holds D+ rating for his lifetime vote record from the NRA.

    Like the essay otherwise. Also, for the record, I’m not much of a Sanders fan, but I’m not a fan of perpetuating HRC’s smears of him either.

    • papayapulp says

      (sorry about the typos. what you get from commenting on your phone.)

  16. First:
    I think the world found the “sweet spot” for mass communication at the telephone and the email. Having gone well beyond those ways of communicating, I think we’ve gone too far, with evidence being the problems noted in the article above. Multiple means of communication fracture our voices… text, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. It’s too much!

    Second:
    Twitter will be the end of civilization as we know it. And no Tweet from ANYbody should be a “news item.”

  17. I offer this seriously and not in a bitchy, smug tone, because I respect and agree with your point about saying things to peoples’ faces. So think of this as a friend telling you something you may not want to hear:

    When are you going to be finished with the self-confessions? This still looks like wormy begging for approval. Look how bad I was, look how good I am now, just please look.

    Will there be a time when I just know of you as a comedian, and not as an endlessly confessing, sharing-every-detail-of-you ex-whatever going on apology tours?

    I’m not buying this change-of-heart. I think it was your only logical move to stay in the game and in public view. Is this the real Jamie now, or was the one before? In the end, I still see a black-hole of need for approval, no matter the cost. How many articles on here come with a prominent photo of the author, displaying his tatts? (No offense to those with tattoos, just saying in this case it seems to go along with the exhibitionistic tendencies…)

    If you want to win back your soul, stop with the Me Me Me, turn off the computer, and just focus on the comedy. You’ll never get what you need from boobs like me on the internet. We all suck on here. ALL OF US.

  18. Steve says

    I miss liberals too.

    I was one back in the early 90s when I reached adulthood. I still hold most of the same beliefs I did back then, but now those same beliefs place me firmly on the conservative end of the spectrum. I don’t even recognize what passes for liberalism today. As Rosanne Barr said, I didn’t leave the democratic party, the democratic party left me.

  19. I have read recently read accounts by several erstwhile Twitter lions who have had the pack turn on on them, following which the erstwhile lion becomes a lamb and announces his regret for his formerly carnivorous behavior. Also, I regularly read comments posted by readers of various magazines wherein they vent their personal hatreds. In supposedly conservative magazines I often see references to “libtards” and the like, whereas in purportedly progressive magazines I often see references to “cuckservatives.” What does such invective mean, other than that the writer of the comment is ignorant.

    I would wager that most of such commenters could not describe what the philosophy of conservatism or liberalism is. All they know is what they are “supposed” to scream at. It never occurs to them that they are being manipulated into an emotional stance. This phenomenon was quite well illustrated by George Orwell in his famous book “1984”, wherein the populace began each day with a mandatory “Two Minute Hate” of whomever their rulers wanted them to see as enemies.

    Shouting down people whose views differ from one’s own does not persuade anyone to change.

  20. Melanie says

    Wow. Thanks for writing this. I’d never heard of you (sorry!) until a few months ago, and your story is fascinating. I appreciate your honesty in telling it. Please do continue (if you want). I disagree that it’s a “me me me” thing. It lets other people see themselves and the paths may be on, and perhaps would like to re-think. It’s helpful! Please don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Thanks again.

  21. Nicolas Martin says

    In terms of sentiment Twitter hasn’t made much difference. I think it likely that popular culture (.e.g., rap) have vulgarized life more than the Internet has, and the drug war has been devastating in this respect. You aren’t old enough to remember the furious Vietnam War years.

  22. Itzik Basman says

    Good refreshing piece. The shame of things is that it has come to this: so much “high tech lynching” in the estimable Clarence Thomas’s phrase. A quote by G.K. Chesterton comes to mind:

    ……..We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening a mob with the news that grass is green….

    The man was prescient.

  23. JD Williams says

    Yes. I think you hit the right keys on this. My daughter who is a default lefty because of her milieu called me today to ask if I was watching the McCain eulogies on TV (I wasn’t). She and friends were being emotional and crying about him. I am pretty sure she barely knew who he was before he died and the media clique decided to confer sainthood on him (probably as a way to tweak Trump).

    I decided to be diplomatic. I told her I had watched some and when she asked how I felt, I said that since I was in the Army I had always like him because he cared about the military. This was once true before I had decided sometime after Iraq that there was no war that he would avoid and that he didn’t really care about the troops except as a sharp sword to waive.

    I said he was a hero when he endured 5 1/2 years in a hell hole and worked to keep up morale of those around him. He lived a good and consequential life as a Senator.

    My reservations I kept to myself. They have no real need to be aired this week or even next.

  24. I had to unfollow Matt Taibbi on twitter because of his horrible comments on McCain just hours after his death. Taibbi is an inspired writer but he was unable to contain his poisonous hatred of another human being. McCain was a warmonger but he came of age during wartime and understood how you could best use military power to national advantage. Taibbi came of age playing basketball in Mongolia. He came home from Mongolia due to illness – Mcain came home from a harsh prison. Who would you have more respect for ?

  25. Wilson says

    It’s sloppy to say that McCain “supported wars of aggression.”

    A war of aggression is a war that is not intended as self-defense but for some kind of material gain.

    None of the interventions that McCain supported were of this nature.

    Iraqi oil, for example, was put on the free market, and China purchased most of it.

    Like the other interventions McCain supported, it was a preemptive war, not a war of aggression.

    You can argue that they were unnecessary preemptive wars, and perhaps I would agree with you on some of them.

    But they weren’t wars of aggression.

    • Deafening Tone says

      @Wilson

      I happened to be reading Mein Kampf today, since I am researching totalitarianism. Under your definition of wars of aggression, Hitler’s invasion of Poland would not count. He considered it self-defense.

      • Wilson says

        I don’t agree, Deafening Tone. Hitler was lying. It was a war of aggression, and Nazi propaganda doesn’t change that.

  26. Photos have surfaced of McCain boozing it up on Oleg Deripaska’s yacht.

    That would be the same Deripaska from whom the pee story in the “Dossier” was sourced. You know, the Russian oligarch who’s a good pal of Putin.

    Nice acquaintances John. You dirty, dirty, man.

    Thank you, President Trump. You SAID you were going to drain the Swamp.

    One down. Promises kept.

  27. Nick Ender says

    It’s funny that liberals think they’re anti-war again.

  28. Aleph says

    Mc Cain was a RINO. Rest in peace, though.

    The author of the article is a bloody leftist and lost his soul to the left to begin with. rejoicing that Bin Ladel is dead? Bad. Strikes against war-monging terrorists building a Bomb while chanting death to america and Israel? Un-moderate wars of aggression. Etc.

  29. Pingback: The left really think that the right live in a Handmaid’s Tale world – for real – Hector Drummond

  30. Circuses and Bread says

    I find it interesting that after this confessional of an article and 50 plus comments, it seems that few really want to look at the underlying evil: that of politics. Discourse that used to be polite and illuminating 30 years ago is now a never ending discussion of what political tribe you claim membership in. As if it mattered worth a damn.

  31. So hard to tell with this repellant clown where the stupid ends and the opportunism begins. He’s like Zelig with extra narcissism. Right wing people are really quite nice, he learns, after he starts reading from the leftists are crazy, feminists destroyed my life script. This phase is actually worse than his SJW phase, because, incredibly, he seems even dumber. This is a toxic, unprincipled little prick.

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