American Samizdat

Tuesday, June 16, 2009. *
My introduction to the power of Twitter was the Israeli rape of Gaza a few months ago. I was asked by a long-time blogger friend (who has risen to lofty heights on most of the Twitter rating charts) to help retweet on-the-ground news coming from the war zone. The adrenaline rush was incredible. Addiction. Yes. Physical, emotional, mental. It took me a couple of days (or in Twitter parlance, "daze") to see and accept it for what it was. But for this, like all addictions, recognition of the sickness is not resolution. I know that total abstinence is the only solution to addiction of any sort, and I'm still not ready for that. The negative consequences do not yet outpace the goodies, if you understand that.

One reason I got immediately hooked was that it seemed like a cut and dried fight between good and evil. Palestinian good; Isreali bad. On the third day of the Gaza genocide, I was lucky that some clear thinking broke through enough that I could see that Hamas was far from squeaky clean in the conflict. Yes, Zionist Israel sucks big time, but Hamas continued to provoke and, I steadfastly maintain, was at least partially responsible for many of the civilian deaths in the Strip. You can delete me from your ideological blogroll for that, but there it is. I just can't support any violence perpetrated for political tactics and strategies.

At any rate, I learned some lessons about flash mobs and disinfo from the experience. Toward the end of the Gaza invasion, I concentrated on verifiable news and the plight of civilians, rather than taking sides. It didn't seem there were a lot of good guys balancing the bad guys. And a lot of the tweets from the ground were, in a word, shit.

Although I wish it wasn't true, I can't really shake the fact that I'm a white American male. I'm subject to schadenfreude just like the next guy, especially if there's blood, and running crowds, and tear gas flying, and riot sticks. Brings back memories of the Boston and Cambridge Commons in the sixties, I guess. At the very base, riots are a spectator sport, whether you're part of the melée or reporting the blow-by-blow from the grandstand. Sad, but true ...

[More at P! ...]
posted by Unknown at 3:03 PM
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