Twitter/Moldova Article Stirs the Stream

Like a grenade tossed into quiet waters, last week’s Twitter article definitely fired up a couple of folks up over on techPresident, Jon Pincus in particular. Check out the full thread at tPrez (thanks to Micah for jumping in while I was looking the other way!); the comment I left is below…

Sorry to miss the fun!

Hey guys, I’ve been off earning a living the last few days and dropped off the grid (had designs due this morning, which I’m fixin’ to pack off to the client). Jon, when someone doesn’t reply, they’re not always slapping you in the face — sometimes they’re just off taking care of their own business.

To the basic point — neither you nor I was in Moldova. I don’t know what happened there. You don’t know what happened there. All we know is what people tell us — and we don’t really know who they are and what their motives are (unless you have a web of known, close and trusted Moldovan sources that you haven’t told us about).

I don’t always agree with Ann Applebaum’s columns, but she IS an experienced journalist with contacts all through Eastern Europe, and I’m inclined to give some credence to her reporting. If she’s wrong, then I’m off base on the specifics of this case. Oh well; won’t be the first time — if I got worried every time I was wrong about something, I’d be cowering under the bed all day. As for the broader point about political actors on the internet stage not always being whom they appear to be, can that possibly NOT be true? Just think Wal-Mart and the trouble THEY got into for sock-puppetry.

And as for the title, guess what — writers pick titles that sing or that sell, and in this case it did both. I’m sorry if it offended anyone (though so far no one other than you seems to actually be offended, and I think it’s mighty kind of you pick up that cross for the Moldovan rebels), but if I were worried every time somebody got offended by something I said, I’d be right back under that bed. Last time I checked, the role of the writer (or the artist) WAS to upset the applecart…


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Colin Delany
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  • I left these comments in reply to Jon Pincus on the tPrez discussion thread; please check the whole conversation out if you’re interested in seeing what I’m answering.

    BTW, re: hate speech
    by Colin Delany on April 27, 2009 – 10:23am

    By the way, I missed the bit about Twitter and “hate speech” the first time I read the thread. Um, really? Critiquing a piece of technology and how it’s used is “hate speech?” So, if I don’t like, say, Maroon 5 and write a piece critical of their latest song, it’s “hate speech” about Maroon 5 fans? That’s essentially what you’re saying, and that’s bullshit, pure and simple.

    I went to college during the PC (as in, political correctness) age, and I got real tired real fast of people telling me what I could or could not say. You may want to live in cotton-coated world of “safe speech;” I’d rather call good good and bad bad as I see ’em. If somebody disagrees, so be it. If that’s hate, then I’m a Grade A Number One Hater…

    Colin Delany

    BTW, re: that POLC discussion Jon and I had
    by Colin Delany on April 27, 2009 – 11:58am New

    Dammit, now I’m the guy niggling away at the details of a blog comment. Carping, even! (Just went to, couldn’t you guess).

    About that POLC discussion we had: what I said was, “if someone MISREADS what I say and gets offended, that’s really not my problem.” I wondered if you’d heard me correctly at the time, so I was careful to make a mental note of what I’d said (I try to choose my words with extra precision at moments like those, the product no doubt of a youth mis-spent in the Texas Legislature). For an elaboration of why I said “misreads,” please check out Strategy or Tool? On the Metaphysics of Twitter (ah, shameless self-promotion — know you no bounds?).

    More broadly, it’s not that I don’t care what people think, and please know that I don’t beat puppies (i.e., I am not intentionally and knowingly cruel, unless I’m really missing something about myself, and in that case please refer me to a licensed mental health care professional immediately). But words only hurt if we let them, unless it’s secrets we’re telling.

    And with that I shall bid this conversation adieu, adjust my monocle and top hat, and harrumphantly return to my dogmatic slumbers.

    Colin Delany