Elon Musk And Twitter Is Homer Simpson As Sanitation Commissioner
Now that the powerful billionaire who reacts to mild criticism with accusations of child molestation has bought Twitter in the name of "free speech," you're going to see a lot of dumb takes about what this represents. But they are all wrong, because there's only one correct take: Elon Musk buying Twitter is like Homer Simpson becoming Springfield Sanitation Commissioner in that old episode with U2 in it. The main difference is that when Homer accuses someone of "luring children into a gingerbread house," he's smart enough to admit he's lying right away instead of going to court over it.
The more we think about it, the more sense it makes. The episode is about Homer running for head of the sanitation department for blatantly petty reasons, despite being about as qualified for the job as Musk is at gauging the seriousness of pandemics. (Unless it did end on April 2020 like he assured us, and we just haven't noticed?)
Homer wins by promising stuff like making garbage collectors work around the clock and do your household chores ... which actually sounds like an improvement over the working conditions in some Tesla factories. Basically, he says he'll let people be as filthy as they want, which surely won't have any negative consequences down the line! This isn't that different from Musk's toddler-level conception of "free speech," which stops the moment someone calls him out on being terrible and he summons a million rabid fans to drown their Twitter mentions and effectively silence them. This about sums up the level of debate on Musk's Twitter feed:
Of course, Homer's more "relaxed" approach to dealing with trash only results in shady people and criminals taking advantage and the whole town of Springfield becoming buried in literal garbage and uninhabitable. You know, kind of like the "free speech" alternatives to Twitter that don't ban Nazis or dangerous conspiracy theorists and end up overrun by them.
In an ideal world, yes, no moderation should result in "the best ideas" prevailing over the garbage, but that's just not how our world works -- some particularly nasty ideologies, if left completely unchecked, have the advantage of appealing to the frustrated and vulnerable by giving them easy scapegoats for their or their community's problems (immigrants, anyone who is less than 100% straight, etc.). See: every time a political party reluctantly welcomes in the extremist faction just to get some extra votes and becomes the extremist faction.
If Twitter is indeed a "digital town square" like Musk and others like to say, the stench of the accumulated filth in that place might soon become unbearable and users will have no choice but to do what the inhabitants of Springfield did: move the entire town five miles down the road (or back to MySpace, hopefully).
Now, we're not saying we want Elon Musk to get beaten up backstage at a U2 concert, but we can't stop you from imagining that's him in the clip below if you wish.
Top image: 20th Century Television