The Good Twitter Does

Twitter gets a lot of criticism, and a lot of it is well-deserved. But Twitter’s also an amazing place, where strangers can become friends, and where we can learn much from people we’d never have encountered otherwise. It was a death that made me fully grasp the scope of that. My friend @MeadBadger died on […]

“Should Twitter Ban Donald Trump?” is Really a Question About Government Legitimacy

Donald Trump has, on more than one occasion, used his Twitter account to threaten violence on a scale the rest of us, not being presidents ourselves, can never hope to achieve. You and I don’t have a nuclear button on our desks — even a very small one. Even when he’s not telling North Korea how close […]

America’s Hyperbole Problem

Why our culture has become so exhausting. Ours has become a culture of hyperbole. Nothing characterizes American social interaction, mediated through politics and social media, more than our need to assure ourselves, and broadcast to others, that whatever is happening now — whatever currently grasps our unexamined attention — is the most, greatest, acutest of whatever has ever been. […]

How Aristotle Predicted Twitter and the Alt-Right

Moral development can’t begin until the passions are under control I’m rereading Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics for the umpteenth time for a book club with some of my colleagues, and a passage early on struck me as informative about much that’s going on in American culture today. It comes in Book 1 of the Ethics, and for […]

Social Media and Narratives of Fear

How social media makes us into horror movie protagonists. Nobody desires to live in actual fear. But we love the feeling of fear if absent a genuine threat to our safety. That’s why we enjoy horror movies and scary video games and ghost stories. The rush of fear without any real danger. It’s universal. But […]