Discursive Containment(?)

The Prudentialist

The Prudentialist

Observing the world from a dissident and realist perspective. Musings on culture, politics, and international relations.

Earlier today, the essayist and political commentator Morgoth had put out an excellent short essay on the nature of Twitter and the Right. The essay in question, Beyond the Twitter Dome is worth the subscription along with the rest of his great volume of work. Morgoth took to the time to highlight the impact and otherworldliness of being on the platform as viewed by someone who is not on it and hasn’t been for some time.

While it is behind the paywall, he had hit the nail on the head with this one short passage that had somewhat summarized my thoughts on the platform for some time.

It is becoming increasingly the case that to consume Dissident Right content is simply to consume the latest spats and internecine squabbling that happens on Twitter. What’s more, an entire lexicon is emerging which, if you’re not on Twitter, may as well be Chinese.

I will here pre-empt a criticism I can foresee, mainly that I’m ‘‘cope posting’’ or that I’m in some way annoyed that I’m blocked from the fun and games of Twitter. I have no doubt that my reach is reduced through not being on Twitter, but the fact that I skipped the Great Femcel vs Trad-Bro war or the Ortho vs Pagangang smackdown doesn’t keep me awake at night. It doesn’t keep anybody awake because nobody cares except people on Twitter.

If you were to ask me, as someone with a 10k+ following on Twitter how to get a following on Twitter, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. It encourages you to play into the spectacle, moving frenetically as new groups and dramas play a role to generate “the discourse” for new political topics or discussion. I still don’t know how or what I’m really doing on Twitter. However much of what I’ve talked about or referenced as of late on streams or discussions with other writers and political commentators has been stuff directly pulled from Twitter, and not the literature or ancient tomes.

For instance, the discussion of “No Enemies to the Right” a conversation spearheaded by The Worthy House writer Charles Haywood, started on Twitter as a response to politically impotent Rod Dreher. Since then it has gone on in articles both in response and to flesh out his position on IM-1776. However I think the most dreaded example, one that I will admit I subscribe to on the occasion my tweets get mentioned, is the New Right Poast, a weekly Substack informing you what that latest voices are saying and dramatic goings on were that week on Twitter. In fact, their most recent one featured everything from Academic Agent’s take on childrearing to the usual tweets calling trans activists demons. Everything you need and more in a convenient email newsletter.

I am often out of the loop on the “lore” or the history of certain personalities, twitter accounts, and factions. The latter has gotten me in trouble with a few people I could have once potentially called friends, simply because I am mutuals with individuals they don’t get along with. I mean, for the love of all that’s decent you’d think one person is being capable of having a friend group or even acquaintances where not everyone gets along but you don’t bring them both to the same party or conversation. I often have to rely on my very-much-online co-host of The Digital Archipelago, Gio, for what backstory or ongoing drama that’s going on that I simply don’t have the time for because I don’t want to invest my time in it.

A causal glance at BreadTube will see the usual menagerie of spiteful mutants replying to the latest trend on Twitter, struggle sessions from problematic tweets, and replying to Matt Walsh or Jordan Peterson videos. Don’t take my word for it, Ubersoy did the work for us.

However, I worry that the online/dissident right will fall, or has fallen into that same trap. Replying and dunking on leftists in quote tweets, and having entire streams and episodes of regular content being what was sifted out of the discursive sewage treatment plant worthy of discussion. Even Academic Agent managed to turn his ratio on twitter into a subject of discussion on his weekly show Unpopular Opinions while Gio and myself have certainly had our fair share of discussion of what he calls “the heavensite” being that wretched birdapp.

This is my concern when I spent 2022 talking about Digital Deracination, or what Frodi has said about “Nationalist Narnia” that concretize the Dickensian style telescopic sympathy for issues that may not affect you directly but your clout and following is now all of a sudden depending on it. In a social ecosystem riddled with over-socialization and a million voices screaming into a void of screams hoping to be heard, and if it means getting heard you have to start drama and knife fight a fellow traveler also screaming then so be it.

As someone on that wretched app, Morgoth’s short essay is on point. If you aren’t on Twitter, you’re missing the “discourse” or the internet inside jokes of various factions and movements wherein you have to further give yourself up to group chat culture where it’s all trying to puff up your chest and have the best thread or take to share with the chat. It takes the culture of a group of guys with their own inside jokes and ways to show up and show off to their buddies and cranks it up to 11, all while expecting you hold on tight as information hits you at superluminal speeds as the schizophrenia (in the most Deleuzian sense of the word) slowly works its way on your psyche.

It’s exhausting, and by that nature, can be and is probably already weaponized into very effective containment. With the current state of how reach has been throttled on twitter, most right wing and dissident accounts I see have either gone private to boost their engagement or just accept their reduced reach.

Twitter sucks, but it also gives you access to impact the real world and the powerful. Colleague and cohort Ryan Turnipseed for example, used his Twitter Thread on the new LCMS Catechism book to have it rescinded due the massive amount of pushback he spearheaded. After all, today’s threads on Twitter can be this evening’s news chyrons. Numerous friends have had their threads and tweets read out or seen by Tucker Carlson and his staff (myself included) but it requires you to be “in” and disincentivizes you from striking a balance between Twitter and the rest of your life. As I’ve written previously, some kind of Technological Ascesis is necessary.

Some might call this a cope, or me not realizing that there is genuine things happening on the timelines of Twitter, to which I would say that I am aware of it, I participate in it, but I do wonder how much productive I might be in my reading and writing if I didn’t have it. However, because we make commodifiable spectacles of ourselves while we scream in that void for an audience and some income, Twitter becomes essential for the marketing model of the online dissident personality for many.

Then again, plenty are successful without it or have been since being banned, just look at Morgoth.

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