About a week ago Wil Wheaton had deactivated his twitter account because Alex Jones still hasn’t been banned. Very Woke. You’ve also probably seen a bit about him using his Mastodon account. It’s basically an open source social media platform with a heavily progressive base susceptible to the usual mob like action something Wheaton thought could be avoided by leaving Twitter.
Predictably the pitchfork mobs made up of zealot progressives looking to virtue signal their wokeness by burning heretics was in full force at Mastodon. Wheaton ended up getting mass reported by its users and banned by staff for apparently being some sort of transphobe who doesn’t listen enough to the people slandering and bashing him by blocking one of them.
Honestly, I thought he would get #MeToo’ed, but it ended up being something like this. Wheaton made a kind of I’m-done-with-social-media-post on his site detailing a bit of this insane hillarity on his leaving twitter for the kinder and safer waters.
Of course we can all take pleasure in this because of Wil Wheaton’s past. He after all was a constant perpetrator of call-out culture and the resulting clashes and fights with anyone right of Bernie Sanders for their sins. That’s easy. Let’s however think about it for a moment.
One thing that really stands out here is the volatility of this righteous Mastodon mob and what they deemed was enough of a spark to pour gasoline on the fire. His original sin of this particular moment was blocking some “trans” user on there for giving him crap – because blocking your abuser has now become abuse. Funny how that works. Regardless you wouldn’t think it’s that big of a deal right?
Well this initial blocking of that one user would prompt the unearthing of an earlier sin by other gravediggers pointing to an unlikely sinful action from years back; using Randi Harper’s blocklist to avoid all interactions with #GamerGate supporters. Basically using that blocklist for righteous and acceptable reasons of creating safe spaces for targets of “harassment” to avoid any engagements with vile misogynists and other ists and isms. How noble.
Now that’s apparently a problem years later because (1) the mob needs new oppressors for it’s crusade and (2) Randi Harper is a TERF – basically lesbians who don’t think you should be let into women only spaces because you cut off your penis. Yea, that’s a taboo conclusion to make these days. It was also a problem because some of trans proud crowd who harass “TERF” or doesn’t denounce them loudly enough ended up on that blocklist.
Wheaton of course is flabbergasted by this newfound mob action on a supposedly safer platform free of the usual ist and ism ilk that haven’t been banned from twitter.
“I found a harsh reality that I’m still trying to process: thousands of people who don’t know me, who have never interacted with me, who internalized a series of lies about me, who were never willing to give me a chance. I was harassed from the minute I made my account, and though I expected the “shut up wesley”s and “go fuck yourself”s to taper off after a day or so, it never did.”
And even though I never broke any rules on the server I joined (Mastodon is individual “instances” which is like a server, which connects to the “federated timeline”, which is what all the other servers are), one of its admins told me they were suspending my account, because they got 60 (!) reports overnight about my account, and they didn’t want to deal with the drama.”
Wheaton then shares a copy of his explanation and a goodbye post on Mastodon about what happened.
“I have been notified by an Admin here that they are getting 60 reports a day about my account. As far as I can tell, I’m not breaking any rules, and I’ve done my best to be a good person here. But this admin is going to suspend my account.”
It’s the Admin’s instance, so I fully support their choice to eliminate a source of frustration, but something to consider: a person who is doing nothing wrong can be run off one instance by a mob from another instance. That seems … not cool. 1/x”
“But it’s been made very, very clear to me that I am not welcome in the Fediverse, and I hear you. I hoped to find an alternative to the birdsite where I could find the same fun community that existed over there in the beginning, and it’s clear to me that I won’t be finding that. Before I leave, I want to just make something very clear, because I’ve spent most of my life being yelled at by people who don’t know me at all, and I want the record to be clear. 2/x”
“During GamerGate, I was dogpiled and mobbed and brigaded and attacked by thousands of accounts. I started using a blocklist that was supposed to help stop that. I did not know that the blocklist I signed up for also had a lot of trans women on it. When I found out, I did everything I could to remove those women from the list I shared. When there were still innocents on the list, I stopped sharing the list entirely. Despite this, a mob has decided that I’m anti-trans. 3/x”
“This lie that I am anti-trans, or anti-LGBQ, is deeply hurtful to me (I know it’s nothing like the pain LGBTQ people deal with every day, as they simply try to *exist* in a world that treats them so badly, but it is still hurtful in its own way to me). I just want to make it extremely clear: that is a lie, and the people spreading it are misinformed.”
“So I’m leaving the Fediverse, which has treated me with more cruelty, vitriol, hatred, and contempt than than anyone on the birdsite ever did. 4/x”
“I know that I’m well-off, well-known, and as a CIS white hetro dude in America, I live life on the lowest difficulty setting. I know that I have very little to complain about. But I still have feelings, and I really do care about the world and the people in it. What I see is a lot of anger and cruelty directed at the IDEA of me, from people who I just hope don’t realize that it really does hurt me, in my heart, to be accused of being someone I am not, and to be the target of a hateful mob. 5/x”
Right there is where Wheaton caves. He’s had enough. Now he knows to cater to the more oppressed folks on the Pyramid, but even he has feelings!
“Anyway, take your victory lap and collect your prizes. You’ve made it clear that I’m not welcome here, and even though I disagree with the action this Admin is taking (banning me when I didn’t break any rules doesn’t seem right), I respect and support the Admin’s decision to run their instance the way they see fit.
Please do your very best to be kind to each other. The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it. Bye.”
Now that’s a pretty tame way of expressing how bad his treatment actually was. For this to happen to someone like Wheaton is 12,000 volts straight to his nipples, but he can’t hike it to that level.
Wheaton here is stuck continuing to admit his sins of birth and biology and most certainly deferring to all the more oppressed folks trashing him because of his creed. However what lurks between his lines of prose is those seeds of doubt. He knows’s somethings wrong, just that he won’t articulate it and he has some serious self-contemplating in his future.
Just imagine if the people in this mob got real power besides what they already have in cultural and academic places. The rules these people abide by seem to be as fluid as they claim one’s gender is. Arguably we are already seeing this call-out culture in the mainstream – especially in the corporate world where it’s being used to consistently get people fired from their jobs. Wheaton found this out the hard way.
What truly indeed scary is that the rules seem unwritten and subject to change at any moment. You don’t know who will be called out next. The terms of service are bound to the will of a mob and whoever wields it and there’s no real way to anticipate what might ignite it – especially if you have any public image, profile or following.
Something inconsequential, normal, and even laudable from 20 years ago can suddenly be verboten and unacceptable. Suddenly there’s a call-out directed your way. Anything or anyone can later become a target for heresy and the usual stake burning.
It’s a deliberate chaos that can yet somehow be molded, shaped, controlled, and directed by whoever is pulling the mob’s strings. That makes call-out culture a perfect recipe for ruling a group – and anyone else nearby via an iron vice grip of fear as long as you hold the means of power to control the ever changing terms of service.
For this particular mob and its’ controllers it was that block list – which likely hurt Mastodon members aspirations for internet fame and false flag begging donations of supposed harassment. Wheaton of course has fame and money and is immune to both using the blocklist and the consequences for those on it. Can’t have that of course.
In Wheaton’s case simply it was so transgressive they wouldn’t even hear him out despite all his attempted groveling. He of course never saw this coming because he thought could have some controlling hand in his tribe’s mob. What he failed to realize was that the most “oppressed” have plenty within their ranks that are vicious and vile
Many of the swamp monsters that ate him were simply trying to scale higher up that oppression pyramid with each level holding better berks. That and making sure they didn’t get eaten themselves – at least for now.
So if someone like Wheaton who whips themselves daily for privilege transgressions can’t apologize to the mob, placate them, or even beg for mercy, what hope is there for the rest of us?