A few years ago, I found out what the term “hotboxed” means. At the 2015 Eaux Claires Festival sometime between the Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver performances, a woman returned from the comfort area proclaiming that the guy ahead of her had “hotboxed” the Port-o-John.
This was a crushingly hot, humid Wisconsin heat-of-summer day — storms whipped through the area later that night. The Port-o-Johns — essentially plastic outhouses — were part of the relief station for a big sweaty crowd, and I won’t say we were a smelly crowd, but we were. And so I assumed “hot boxed” had something to do with sick and full of throwing up because that was what I felt like on entry into a very small blue plastic cubicle to relieve myself. But no.
That was the day Frood¹ informed me that a “hotbox” is an air-tight enclosure used to optimize the smoking of weed. One need not get high from smoking. One simply inhales to get high in a hotbox. So I’m glad we cleared that up. More or less.
And given this new information, I pause to consider with amazement and wonderment the concept of a hotbox Port-o-John — I understand taking a deep breath before entering a Port-o-John — if twas done, twas best done quickly — but to take a deep breath when IN a Port-O-John? A tiny sauna warehouse of bacteriological waste — pee and poop, virus and disease — drink it all in a big bold breath and … hold it? Both actions — deep and holding — are anathema to a Port-o-John visit. But a Port-o-John hotbox? At the confluence of sensimilla and effluence you find you’re in a place to lose one’s shit two ways. Wow. Just wow.
In the run-up to Joe Biden announcement that he is also a Democratic contender for the 2020 election, the Isle of Twitter went wild with ‘Joe should not even think of it’ theories — he’s a handsy man, Anita Hill, his storied history — there are good reasons he should not run. And I believe Joe should take a seat with Bernie and help lead from behind. Joe could do a stint as Secretary of State for a couple years. We need to mend some international relationships. Joe could help. He’d be good.
So this was the fog on Twitter. No Joe. No, no, no. Meanwhile, in the actual three-dimensional big, blue beautiful world outside, the biggest demographic behind Mr. Biden’s bid is … African Americans? Preconditioned by the fuming of other Twitter users, I did not see that coming, did not even imagine it a possibility. But then reality writes a different story. Unexpected news. Twitter folk all be breathing their own air.
Posted commentary, conversations are the cream of Twitter. As a political news junkie, I consider it lucky to have such immediate unfiltered access to the thoughts and reactions of politicians, speakers, thinkers, leaders, comedians, entertainers, musicians, scientists, writers all in an internet second. I can seek out marginalized voices. I expand my understanding of what I’m not and how what doesn’t affect me, affects others. It’s a beautiful thing.
But then Parker Molloy recently put out a reminder of that time Microsoft released an AI chatbot on Twitter and within a day, Tay the Chatbot, was Tweeting “racist, sexist, and generally awful things.” 2
And so the cream of Twitter — relationships built, information shared, alliances formed — are subject to the worst. Trolls, bots, keyboard warriors, bullies — it’s toxic.
2 I drop this link as evidence but I warn you — it includes excerpts from “the massive garbage fire of the worst parts of humanity”: Kleeman, Sophie, and Sofie Kleeman. “Here Are the Microsolft Twitter Bot’s Craziest Racist Rants”, Gizmodo. March 24, 2016. Accessed May 21, 2019.
Big chunks float.
Twitter is ‘Jack’-ed. As in Dorsey. Jack Dorsey the creator. Many users point out that at-Jack of Twitter fails to suspend users who actually violate Twitter terms of service while literally banning the harassed.
But big chunks float. Let’s call that big chunk ‘Don.’ Don can threaten countries, corporations, individuals all with tweets from his great golden Twitter toilet seat and at-Jack does shit. And by shit, we mean, no shit. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
Big chunks are given a big pass. Big chunks float.
As evidence of all of the above — even that bit about Joe needed as Secretary of State Biden and repair of our relationship with China — I offer this:
Twitter is a Port-o-John hotbox.
Breathe in, high on the air the body politic has left — the information, data, opinion, conversation, commentary — right or wrong, friend or foe, and you forget what you came for and it feels like you’re going to throw up.
Get out. Get some air.
¹Frood is my daughter. That’s not her real name but she knows of where her towel is at.