Pax Dickinson, one of many interviewed in “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech” is the latest Twitter banhammer casualty. It’s not a surprise, given Pax embodies everything the “free speech wing of the free speech party” hates. This wasn’t about silencing conservative voices. Pax’s Twitter ban is the tone police telling the world what jokes are funny and which are unacceptable.
I doubt Pax will cry himself to sleep over a Twitter ban. When you make the cover of international newspapers a social media platform becomes a touch irrelevant. The only possible hit Pax takes from this is an inability to retweet material from his business venture with Got News’ Chuck Johnson, WeSearchr. He will still maintain a platform on other avenues, like Gab, and have the ability to broadcast his message through his own blog if he so chooses.
Twitter’s rationale for banning Pax is unknown at the time of this post. It could be any number of his bad jokes someone at the Trust and Safety Council found “offensive” or “hate speech.” Pax won’t apologize for any of it, most likely. From the day he lost his job as CTO of Business Insider due to his “mildly trolly” Twitter account, Pax has been unapologetic for anything he says in the real or digital worlds.
What troubles me most about the ban on Pax is that it’s not political. It’s not about “hate.” It’s about someone finding a few tasteless remarks offensive and using cyber shears to cut his speech from a digital platform. And before people start chiming in about “social consequences” and how Twitter is a private company, free to ban who they choose, I get all that. The squeaking sound you’re hearing is the dead horse you keep beating.
When social media begins censoring humor, it begins censoring that which keeps us sane in a very dark world. There’s enough political discussion floating around Twitter and Facebook right now and fears of “America’s First Dictator” that voices like Pax Dickinson who, to paraphrase Marshall Mathers “says shit just to be saying it,” are welcome changes of tone. I didn’t necessarily find all of Pax’s jokes funny, but humor is different for every person. What some find hilarious I don’t get. That’s the beauty of a world where Lena Dunham and Carlos Valencia are both considered funny.
Strangely, Twitter continues its clueless ban/suspension policy without realizing people like Pax don’t need Twitter. Rather, Twitter needs people like Pax Dickinson. When you take out a voice on a social media platform known for making a few rude remarks, you’ve made it clear to the rest of your user base the platform’s digital punishment isn’t about politics, harassment, or anything else others might claim it to be.
You’re making it clear you want to remove any semblance of thought you don’t like. You’re cutting off the crude joke or two. You’re putting the rest of your users on notice the moment the Trust and Safety Council takes offense with a statement, they’re gone from your platform.
Maybe this is why we’re seeing more ads for Twitter on television these days.
UPDATE: It appears the Twitter ban was part of the latest Twitter purge to eliminate “radical thought,” according to USA Today. This is disconcerting. While the “alt-right,” whatever this term may mean, does contain elements that are truly despicable, it is a political body the world must accept. Whether Dickinson is truly “alt-right” is anyone’s guess, but silencing voices on social media for political motives is disheartening.