UPDATE: As of 4:00pm EST, Titania McGrath has been reinstated by Twitter. The author of this piece would like to take full credit for the reinstatement. There have been so many deplatformings, unpersonings, and mobbings on social media over the last couple of weeks that it’s been hard to keep up. From Kevin Hart having to step down as Oscars host because of old problematic jokes, to Heisman winner Kyler Murray getting mobbed for childish tweets he made when he was, well, a child, to Meghan Murphy getting banned for the crime of “misgendering,” it just keeps happening. I assume that by the time I finish writing this column there will be a new batch of people whose lives have been ruined by the online mob. But there is one Twitter ban that I can’t stop thinking about. No one knows who this person even is, yet somehow this one hurts more than most. I’m speaking of Titania McGrath, perhaps the best satirist to ever grace the platform. Every day, I would delight in McGrath’s sardonic, blistering takes. She is the best at skewering the excesses of the social justice movement. Her persona is a fake activist whose indignant protestations serve to highlight just how incoherent our safety and identity-obsessed culture has become. Since her work has been scrubbed from the internet, I thought I would offer up a few of my favourite classic McGrath gems:
“Hey white people. If you really want to understand your privilege, try identifying as black for a month. You wouldn’t believe the disapproving looks I get when I tell people I’m an ethnic minority.”
“We should give all newborn babies numbers rather than names until they are ready to determine their own gender identity.”
On international politics
“My 6-month niece just said her first words. They were simply: ‘Why Brexit?’”Her fake poetry was exquisite too. In “Toxic Masculinity” she writes: “Every baby boy is an abomination, / A savage nugget of pus scooped from an open womb.”
The power of satire
Titania’s satire is brilliant because it straddles the line between believability and absurdity. Upon first glance, one might mistake one of her tweets or poems as a legitimate offering from one of the hyper-woke baizuo who boast and bully their way all over the internet. But upon further inspection, the beautiful inanity takes hold. Of course, Titania’s fatal flaw was that she was too good. When you are that powerful of a satirist, it's going to lead to a ton of grievances. And today's internet is fuelled by grievances. While Jack from Twitter was busy culturally appropriating Myanmar culture on a feel-good meditation jag, he apparently had the revelation that he should kick off entertaining, hilarious and heterodox writers and thinkers because it’s 2018 and hurting someone’s feelings is a hate crime.I miss Titania with all of my heart. And I’m not alone. The best and brightest on the internet have major feelings about her absence. Quillette Editor Claire Lehmann sarcastically called Titania’s deplatforming an “act of violence.”
Jordan Peterson wondered who was next.
Depressingly, the way Twitter is trending, it could be any of us.
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Remind me in September