How *dare* this man watch one of the most influential satirical programs of the past quarter century!
On Monday, Twitter’s bearded, racism-enabling founder Jack Dorsey announced plans to step down from his role leading one of the most powerful social media platforms in human history. In a company-wide email shared on his personal Twitter account, Dorsey named now-former CTO Parag Agrawal as his successor, writing that Agrawal “leads with heart and soul” as someone who has been “behind every critical decision” at Twitter in recent years.
Given Twitter’s sheer size and undeniable influence in just about every realm of public discourse, Dorsey’s exit a hugely important one. And while there is more than a hint of larger political machinations afoot — particularly conservative billionaire and Twitter stakeholder Paul Singer’s longstanding effort to oust Dorsey — this whole changing of the guard feels a little staid. For as significant as it is, the truth of the matter is that companies go through these periods of mitosis and meiosis all the time. If you prefer your corporate shuffles to be full of attractive people, drenched with drama, and reeking of gallows humor, have I got a prestige drama for you.
Still, because we live in a techno-hell of our own — and Jack’s! — making, the same reactionary conservative shitposters who have earned fame and fortune by running roughshod over Twitter for years have chosen now as the perfect time to gnaw on the new hand that feeds them. They spent hours after Dorsey’s announcement attacking Agrawal for ... quoting a decade-old comedy sketch. (Whoaaaaa! Heads explode! Total pandemonium!)
First, the tweet in question:
Wow, spicy stuff! Pointing out an obviously offensive fallacy with an equally absurd comparison! Truly, this man is the devil himself!! At least, that’s what GOP Senate candidate and moon-faced poverty humper J.D. Vance hopes people think:
Donald Trump’s former chief diplomat in Germany, onetime acting director of national intelligence, and current “envoy ambassador” (not a real thing) Richard Grenell took it even further:
Even the Republicans of the House Judiciary Committee joined in:
... You get the extremely stupid picture.
As CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski quickly pointed out, however, Agrawal wasn’t even making an extremely “Rhetoric 101” point himself. He was quoting a joke about racial stereotyping from a 2010 episode of The Daily Show — which, had any of the the bad faith tweeters sniping at him bothered to scroll down just a few inches, they would have seen he explained shortly after tweeting it.
In a truly “heartbreaking, the worst person you know” moment, even committed racist ghoul Ann Coulter could see how stupid this whole “scandal” is:
Don’t worry, she quickly returned to her usual, extremely terrible form:
For some conservative commentators, like phrenology enthusiast Andrew Sullivan, even pointing out that Agrawal was quoting a decades-old comedy program wasn’t enough to penetrate their ossified layer of smug self-righteous temper-tantruming:
Look. Twitter has problems. It’s a platform that is responsible for miseries large and small around the world. It has sat back as disinformation and violence and racism and hatred have exploded at exponential speeds across its servers. And whether as new CEO or former CTO, Agrawal deserves as much scrutiny as possible about his role in allowing that to happen, and about how he plans to fix it. His feet should be held just as close to the fire as any other tech mogul whose product has permeated and mutated our daily lives. But conservatives’ eagerness to dovetail their Trump-fueled vendetta against an assortment of social media platforms with their broader inability to understand even the slightest whiff of humor if it was literally typed out in front of their eyes ... that ain’t it.
In any case, all this nonsense only serves to obfuscate the real question the Twitter turnover raises, which is: Edit button when?