Toxic Twitter

Toxic Twitter

Around 1982 I ran a BBS. For those who were not into computers (or alive), in 1982, it was an age when personal computers became affordable. They were still damned expensive. If you were to adjust for inflation, the cost of a PC back then would be equivalent to $15K today.

Bill Gates had just bought DOS from a fellow in Seattle for five thousand dollars, repackaged it, and leased it to IBM.

A BBS hosted at home meant a dedicated phone line, a UPS, and other hardware and software. A BBS was a hefty investment.

Water seeks the lowest level; if you sleep with the dogs, you wake up with fleas. Two cliches apply to my efforts to spend this kind of money and time.

The idea of the BBS was a place to exchange technical ideas with other like-minded folks.

It wasn’t long into the process when the first pornography was uploaded to my rather expensive hobby. I suppose Cheryl Tiegs disappearing one piece is mild in comparison, but it was pretty surprising. Someone bothered to take the time to photoshop her picture from SI, make it a GIF, and upload it. Of course, it went viral, and I imagine that even today, you can locate it floating around on the internet.

It must have made an impression; that was forty years ago.

The BBS came down when someone uploaded porn that was more graphic and certainly nauseating. The fleas were rampant. I wanted nothing to do with depravity which some people found amusing.

Fast forward forty-odd years.

I get these messages in the e-mail from Twitter that tells me they miss me.

As an author, social media is essential. Telling people about my latest book release and getting them interested is a perfect application of the media.

I am in the finishing stages of writing a novel called Earth’s Last Hope. As an adjunct to this process, I went back on Twitter last evening to see if my accounts still worked, and so on.

To my shock and horror, what I found in a matter of minutes made a nude Cheryl appear godly.

Without the gory detail, I saw a man hanging from a bridge. It was real. I witnessed animal cruelty which I find reprehensible, and then I saw a video of an execution. Yes, folks, Twitter suggested it “for you,” and there it was. A man was killed with a backhoe.

There were other less shocking things.

The point I am making is this. Those kinds of videos will screw some folks up. You cannot unsee an execution.

There was another execution by a cop. The cop shot the man several times. The video showed him drawing up into the fetal position before he expired.

You cannot unsee this stuff.

This post is about mental health. We wonder why kids of a young age shoot their teachers or parents and blame guns. It is easy to blame something that you can’t control. It is much more difficult to glance at the mirror and think that you might be part of the problem.

We see teenagers do violent things with each other and wonder why. Could we be the role models that they are following?

I know a company pays people to scrub the internet of such stuff. I know folks who work for this company. Could it be that they have an axe to grind against Musk, so they are allowing this kind of crap to stay visible?

Back in school, we were thrilled to see a projector in the classroom after lunch. That meant a movie. Hmmm, we were shown the film ‘The Execution of Private Slovak. Why?

What compelled the teacher to think this was an appropriate film for kids?

All these years later, I remember the film vividly. I remember them telling the soldiers who would be firing the bullets into this man, where the heart was, and so on.

Vietnam was still going on, thanks to LBJ. The draft was still in vogue, and I suspect that since we were close to that age to be ‘conscripted,’ the film might be shown to keep us from fleeing to Canada. That’s a guess.

My point is the film was disturbing. Much like the things we see in these Tik Tok videos, much of it is disturbing to the core.

Garbage in, Garbage out is something I believe strongly. I am all for free speech. I think that age-appropriate free speech, much like age-appropriate situations, is necessary. How are young minds supposed to interpret things like snuff films? Now, if you add to the mix actual executions not made in Hollywood, how do they process something so grotesque?

Twitter, in its current form, is not safe for minors. I don’t want that stuff in my head, and I know how to process it.

Twitter should have a safe filter, much like Google’s safe search.

-Best

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