Earlier this month, the former Swans/Shearwater drummer Thor Harris was briefly suspended from Twitter. He’d posted a sort of tongue-in-cheek tutorial video on how to best punch a Nazi, should you encounter one. And once his Twitter account was suspended, the story — and the offending video — went viral. Harris’ account was quickly reinstated, and he’s now written an essay for the Talkhouse about the whole experience, and about the sort of responses he was getting from right-wingers on the internet. Harris writes that the original video “was meant to be a satirical, humorous comment on the guilty pleasure of seeing a generator of hate get primally shut down.” But here’s how he saw people taking it:
About seven hours into this social experiment, came a wave of right-wingers who found this video threatening and horrifying. They misperceived it as a call to arms. These were white men and a few women who wanted to put bullets in me. They also commented on what a messy slob I am in my ragged T-shirt. I guess that was their way of suggesting I was in a lower class than them. Many of their Twitter profiles were emblazoned with “MAGA,” pictures of Trump, proclamations of Christianity and Nationalism, and pictures of Pepe the Frog, who has become the mascot of the new white power movement. They also like to boast their love for guns in their profiles. They love guns like we love puppies.
I did have a few reasonable debates with Trump voters after assuring them that I had no real desire to punch them. But mostly the middle-aged and older white men just wanted to shoot me. They had found the anti-Trump and they could cure what ails America with a single bullet. I was finally face to face with the fine folks we all saw on the news at Trump rallies — and it felt horrible. I could really feel their hatred for me and all the Left. I wanted to take the opportunity to explain what a terrible mistake they had made backing this clown. It was futile. I quickly learned how to block users and gave up on healing America. After the fall of the Soviet Union the right wingers changed the focus of all that hate on their liberal neighbors: us.
Harris also writes that the video wasn’t the reason Twitter gave for shutting down his account:
The evening of February 8 they unsuspended my Twitter account and sent me an email saying that the “pornographic” background on my profile had gotten me suspended. The background was an ink drawing I had made of penises. It had been there for years. The Christian Right had busted me on a technicality.
You can, and should, read the whole essay here.