It happens over and over.
First: the offensive statement, the easily misunderstood opinion, the flattened phrase.
A victim is created and shouts. They claim space, a part of the territory. Here I am. They say. Look, I’m bleeding. You hit me. You meant to hit me. In cyberspace, within the pixels, there is blood.
Someone says the rules. One rule is this: they are always right. I do not know who made these rules, but someone says it, so it must be so. The sensitive and righteous tweet support and tell their own stories. They demand an apology. Twitter has spoken. They determine what will be a satisfactory penance. There are other rules, and there are hashtags.
In 140 characters we will sort through all the mixed motivations of human desire. We will make it clear; we will judge, and correct, and make right with our succinct and brief tweets.
I will feel good if I can make you feel bad. Or if you do not feel bad, if you at least retweet what I tweeted, unless it makes me look bad, then I will delete it.
I have dishes to do and a living room to clean up and I should probably return some phone calls, but I must send this tweet because it will change someone’s mind, and it’s the perfect phrase that someone will notice especially if they have an amusing hashtag to add or maybe they will have a million followers and I’ll be noticed.
Twitter shall not be for the nuanced, the thoughtful, or the reconciling.
Those do not get retweeted.
Then backlash against the hurt. There is a retort and a riposte. Who wins? The most clever, or the most retweeted? We love the attention, and then the attention is too much. Hugo Schwyzer needs meds and a little love; no, he needs to go away because the man is a trigger, and he triggers everything, and nobody controls over their emotions anymore, I will tweet everything, because patriarchy and feelings oppress us all.
And so the outrage machine will make its little idols, through its perpetual series of distractions, puffery and self-indulgence.
Twitter allows us to be like Gods, worshiped by our followers with retweets and personal messages. And then we do battle with other Gods.
We need not seek healing, for we have these weapons in 140 characters. If there is the hope of winning, we will continue to place hashtags.
What would Jesus do?
He would look up from the screen.