CSotD: The Abyss Gazes Back

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become
a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back
into you. — Friedrich Nietzsche

Our top story today, at least judging from social media, is Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, and, as seen in this David Rowe cartoon, the prospect that he will reinstate Donald Trump’s account.

It’s a reasonable fear, though it may be part of an across-the-board mismanagement that will destroy Twitter anyway, given that Musk has already fired CEO Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust, and safety, as part of a pre-purchase pledge to eliminate 75% of the staff.

My experience of takeovers is that the new boss keeps the old crew around, usually with promises that nothing will change, until he has found replacements or figured out which of the experienced people are flexible cowards who can be bent to his will.

I’ve seen it from an uncomfortable distance and I’ve experienced it personally and my only shock is that Musk thinks he can hand out a few cardboard boxes and change the locks on the executive washroom and the whole operation will continue to function.

As for Trump, if I can block Jim Jordan and Don Jr., I can block the Orange King, and the bulk of his harm to the nation has already been done, though I appreciate Rowe’s implication, in the form of blue feathers, that there will be substantial damage beyond Trump himself.

Howsoever, while I’m disappointed the deal went through, I’m more disappointed by the people who have declared that they are going to stomp off in a dudgeon, as if that is some sign of character.

Which I guess it is, but it’s good the Ukrainians didn’t greet Putin in the same way and I hope voters aren’t planning to similarly signal their anger over the overturning of Roe v Wade in November.

If you don’t like that Neitzche quote, you might at least consider John Stuart Mills’ “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

Or consider Woody Allen’s remark that 90% of success is showing up.

Or consider not being a goddam wimp.


Speaking of Roe v Wade and November 8, I agree with Bob Gorrell (Creators) so rarely that it’s newsworthy when it happens, but he’s on the right track with this one, at least to the extent of distrusting polls and finding them annoying.

I wish I thought people ignored them, but, alas, a lot of people think voting is like betting, an exercise in saying not whose policies you favor but who you think is going to win, and they are less likely to vote if they fear they will be picking a loser.

Which attitude is not unlike dumping your Twitter account so that, if the platform falls apart, you can pride yourself on having bailed out early.

From a journalistic POV, reliance on polls is part of the media’s obsession with horserace coverage, in which they do less to analyze what candidates say than to predict how it will change their odds of victory.

That isn’t even a reasonable approach, given that there’s good reason to doubt the polls. As mentioned here before, the disappearance of landlines, of door-to-door pollsters and of one-income families in which someone is home to answer questions, has disrupted polling to the point where results are dubious at best.

How will the 18-34 group vote? Who knows? They don’t answer their cell phones unless they recognize the caller.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Clay Bennett — CTFP)


(Clay Jones)


(Ed Wexler)

There’s plenty to squabble over here, starting with the contention that Republicans are actively attempting to suppress the vote, though their refusal to concede the Big Lie does discourage voting, while their refusal to push back against groundless, disproven accusations of voter fraud has led to burdensome and unnecessary election rules that particularly discourage poor and disadvantaged voters.

And they’ve openly announced their intentions to place secretaries of state in position to either overturn election results or allow gerrymandered state legislatures to do so.

All, of course, to prevent the non-existent fraud they’ve spent millions of dollars fruitlessly attempting to verify.

Then there is the matter of armed vigilantes “monitoring” early voters.

Maricopa County officials denounced their intimidation. Sort of.

Kind of sounds like “Go home. We love you. You’re very special.”

What it doesn’t sound like is the conservative response a few years ago when a pair of “New Black Panthers” stood outside a polling place, and the most important difference is that nobody then had engaged in wild rhetoric that encouraged their presence.

Actual intentions are sometimes irrelevant. Henry II claimed that “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” was not a suggestion that anybody should, but, then again, the fact that he did penance and the four murderers were excommunicated didn’t bring Thomas Beckett back to life, did it?

We know how the road to Hell is paved.

As I write this, however, there is a reported record total in excess of 14 million early ballots, which is a more compelling indicator than any pollsters have come up with, and suggests that people are not being intimidated or discouraged, though there are complaints about mail-in ballots being rejected for seemingly minor flaws.


Tom the Dancing Bug expresses his fears over the Twitter takeover, but it falls under the “we’ll see” category.

Musk has promised potential advertisers that Twitter will be kept under control, though his firing of top officials does make one wonder how he plans to keep a lid on things, despite his stated intentions:

However naive and unrealistic his politics, he’s spent a lot of money on this venture and a collapse would not only cost him that but would cascade into his credit worthiness and into his other ventures.

Perhaps thoughtful curation will preserve the value of your feed. And, meanwhile, the idea that a handful of dissenters can destroy Twitter by running away is unrealistic to the point of being fatuous.

Stick around until Musk unveils the menu.


2 thoughts on “CSotD: The Abyss Gazes Back

  1. I stopped responding to polls years ago because most of them turned out to be political campaign messages.

    If you responded to a certain amount of questions, you would get on like: Would it change your mind about your favored candidate if you found out he was a pedafile? (Just asking questions)

    And nowadays, with caller ID on my landline, I don’t pick up 90+ percent of calls. They rarely leave a message.

  2. “ How will the 18-34 group vote? Who knows? They don’t answer their cell phones unless they recognize the caller.” I am 63 and don’t answer my cell phone if I don’t recognize the number. And I haven’t had a land line since 2009.

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