In defence of Twitter

Maggie Haberman, the terrific New York Times reporter who is the bane of Donald Trump’s existence, is quitting Twitter. She writes about it in today’s Times, here.

“Twitter has stopped being a place where I could learn things I didn’t know, glean information that was free from errors about a breaking news story or engage in a discussion and be reasonably confident that people’s criticisms were in good faith.

The viciousness, toxic partisan anger, intellectual dishonesty, motive-questioning and sexism are at all-time highs, with no end in sight. It is a place where people who are understandably upset about any number of things go to feed their anger, where the underbelly of free speech is at its most bilious.

Twitter is now an anger video game for many users. It is the only platform on which people feel free to say things they’d never say to someone’s face. For me, it had become an enormous and pointless drain on my time and mental energy.”

All of that is true. But it also isn’t.

Years ago, I was urged by readers to join Twitter. I asked them what it was. “It’s a micro-blogging site,” one said.

I didn’t think I needed that. I had been writing on my non-blog diary-cum-web site since 2000, and I was getting two million visitors annually (I now get double that). What good is Twitter?

“You can interact with readers,” I was told. But I did that already – in comments on the web site, in emails, over on Facebook.

“It’s fast,” someone said. So is my web site, I responded. I can get stuff up on my web site in seconds – and even play a small role in breaking big stories.

“It’s anarchic and democratic all at the same time,” someone who knows me well said – and I didn’t have a response to that. I was intrigued. That appealed to my inner punk rocker.

I signed up. Someone who didn’t like Twitter asked me why. “It’s the Internet’s mosh pit,” I said. “Everyone is on the same level, which a lot of journalists like Paul Wells hate. You can get hurt, and others can get hurt. But it can also be awesome, even if only for an instant.”

Since joining, I’ve (deservedly) gotten in big trouble on Twitter – such as when I asked a stupid question about the 2014 mayoral campaign of John Tory. (We’ve since made up – but I don’t have anything to do with his 2018 campaign.)

Since joining, I’ve also felt like Twitter has helped me achieve things that my web site never could – such as helping me and others to shine a light on critically-important important #MeToo stories, like the ones involving Justin Trudeau, Patrick Brown and Kent Hehr and other powerful men who abuse said power.

Since joining, I’ve also met some amazing people (like Kristin Raworth or Laura Jane Grace), discovered things I didn’t know (usually grammar-related, at which I suck), blocked countless bots and trolls (life’s too short, etc.), and cheered, laughed and cried.

Does it suck, sometimes – or even a lot of the times? Sure. But there’s ways to deal with the haters and the trolls – and I even put together a tip sheet. Clip and save.

But, mostly, I still like Twitter for the reasons I joined it years ago – it’s anarchic, it’s democratic and it’s never static. It’s online punk rock.

And, if you remain unconvinced – and you still don’t like it?

Do what Ms. Haberman did. You’ll be missed, but you’ll be happier.

Maximum Rock’n’Roll calls new Hot Nasties EP poppy, not abrasive and like Joe Strummer!

Maximum Rock’n’Roll is the premier punk rock magazine, and has been for decades. It is the punk rock non plus ultra.

And MRR has reviewed the first Hot Nasties record in decades – calling it “less abrasive” and “poppier” and even says it recalls Joe Strummer’s 101ers! Wow!

Here’s their take:

And here’s the video for the lead tune – now available on Ugly Pop Records!

Nooooobody should tax-evade and then claim to be a law-and-order guy

From a few years back, but interesting.  And a watch worth $14,000! That’s keeping expensive time, Bad Boy!

‘Bad Boy’ Lastman son faces legal woes; Charged Jan. 10 at Pearson airport $14,000 in goods alleged undeclared
Bob Mitchell
Toronto Star

Bad Boy furniture czar Blayne Lastman, known for wearing jailbird garb in his television commercials, is facing his own legal troubles.

Lastman, 44, has been charged with three Canada Customs violations, including allegedly smuggling goods worth more than $14,000 into Canada at Pearson airport.

According to public court information, Lastman is alleged to have failed to tell Canada Customs inspectors that he was bringing clothing, accessories and a watch worth a total of $14,152.29 back with him into Canada after arriving on a late flight Jan. 9.

“It’s being straightened out,” said Lastman yesterday when asked about the charges. “It’s really nothing.”

Lastman said he expects the case to be settled when he appears in a Brampton court April 1.

The youngest son of former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman was charged Jan. 10 at 1: 40 a.m. by Canada Customs inspectors working Terminal 2, according to the public information filed at the Grenville & William Davis Courthouse in Brampton.

Lastman was charged with making false or deceptive statements, evading or attempting to evade paying federal duties and taxes for the goods, as well as smuggling or attempting to smuggle goods in Canada, whether clandestinely or not, that are subject to duties and taxes into the country.

The showy businessman re-launched the Bad Boy name and outlandish commercials in 1991, 16 years after his father had gotten out of the furniture and appliance business.

When everyone is a neo-Nazi, no one is a neo-Nazi

Gerald used to get that. He apparently doesn’t anymore.

Cabinet quickie roundup

It’s a not-bad shuffle, as shuffles go.

Quickie hot Kinsellatakes™:

  • Melanie Joly to Tourism: A big demotion, although she probably doesn’t even know it.  She was a disaster at Heritage. Unfit for any ministry, let alone Parliament.
  • Jonathan Wilkinson to Fisheries: Big promotion. Trudeau needed more B.C. bench strength, and this probably helps.
  • Amarjeet Sohi to Natural Resources: I’m a big fan of this guy.  Love the bus driver back story.  An Albertan was needed on this file – so, smart.
  • François-Philippe Champagne to Infrastructure: A few of my colleagues have dealt with this fellow, and they rave about him.  Smart, professional, maybe a future leadership prospect.  Has friends in every party.
  • Bill Blair to something called “Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction”: Given the fact that Blair was responsible for Harper’s G20, which an outside review accurately called “the most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history,” it sounds like the feds plan to take a bit of a harder rhetorical line on border issues – or, more than Ahmed Hussen did, at least.  We shall see.  The Ford folks, at least, are relieved.
  • Dominic LeBlanc to Intergovernmental: Surprising. No Prime Minister relinquishes their hold on intergovernmental files – ever.  But maybe Trudeau knows he needs someone to calm the churning provincial waters.  Dom can do that – but the Fisheries Dom, not the House Leader Dom.
  • Pablo Rodriguez to Heritage: Pablo is amazing.  Liked on all sides of the House, trilingual, affable, smart. He once said to me how smart and respected Lisa is, so that means he has excellent judgment, too.  (And, in a coma he’ll do better than Joly did.)

The groping scandal suggested to me Trudeau would dial up the number of women in cabinet, but he really didn’t.  It’s about the same. Maybe he doesn’t think he has any exposure in that regard.

Not sure he’s right about that.