Twitter, hipsters and The Big Secret about coffee. And beer. And wine.
Twitter, hipsters and The Big Secret about coffee. And beer. And wine. OR: Social Media doesn't have to make you miserable. A story about actions, consequences, and the way we allow the internet to poison our minds.
Stories of queer life and even queer-er sex.
Always interesting, definitely amusing, Probably True - the repeatedly-award-winning, slightly filthy storytelling project tackling LGBTQ issues in a fun and engaging way.
Much like its creator, it is a smutty-but-charming collection of personal misadventures working to make the world a better place, one silly, sexy story at a time.
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There was a thing on Twitter the other day. It was only a small thing, but like a less-hairy version of Carrie Bradshaw, it got me to thinking.
So! There was a coffee shop in East London with a twitter account. Proper East London hipster wanker coffee shop. They think they’re edgy and cool with their black walls and stupid art and baristas who’re covered in tattoos and beards and who tend to feature heavily in my angry wanks. Y’know, when you fancy someone but you don’t like them, so the fantasy tends to be a little rougher than usual.
I went in there once and asked for a filter coffee, and the girl apologised saying “I’m sorry, but we’ve only got the Ethiopian blend at the moment”
Is that not filter coffee?
“Oh, yeah, it is, but the Kenyan is, like, . It’s a much deeper, more well-rounded flavour…” I asked which had more caffeine and she looked at me weird and said “Uh, they’re about the same”, so I said righto, that’ll do nicely then and she looked at me like I’d just pissed on her nan and said “Why do you even come here?” and my first response was very nearly “Because I’m surrounded by tosspots and need plenty of caffeine to deal with them.” but instead I said “Good point. Ta-ra!” and I went to the nearly-identical coffee shop directly next door, whose serving staff were the nearly-silent brand of hipster wankers, who gladly sold me a cup of brown liquid that tasted like coffee.
I can’t be doing with people who faff about with it like this “Oh, taste the earthy bass notes and the berry highlights” Shut up and put it into my face so I don’t have to kill again. There’s a lot of this wank around all sorts of stuff and the big secret that no-one wants to admit is that there’s no difference. Craft beer tastes like beer. Small-batch gin tastes of gin. Even wine is a con. There’s two flavours - red and white. That’s it. Champagne is just white wine that’s got a git over excited, and rose is just chucking them both in the same bucket and giving it a stir. It’s like claiming ‘Neopolitain’ is a flavour of ice cream. All you’re doing is mixing other flavours together. Anyone who says different is either trying to impress you or sell something.
Edgy coffee shop has an edgy Twitter account, because of course they fucking do. Except it’s entry-level edgy. The kind of stuff that even Family Guy wouldn’t bother with because it’s just a bit lame.
And one of the things that they decided to retweet was a stupid post about there being only two genders.
And, y’know, that’s not true. Just like sexuality is a big old sliding scale of possibilities, including pansexual and demi sexual and men who have sex with men but don’t identify as anything other than straight and a multitude of other possibilities, gender is similar. It gets quite complicated quite quickly, but the basics of it is that men don’t have to be masculine, and women don’t have to be femenine, especially when there are iffy definitions of what ‘masculine’ and ‘femenine’ actually mean. And what ‘men’ and ‘women’ means, topo, actually. Like I said, it’s complicated and messy, and we all get to decide for ourselves how we relate to all of those things. No-one else gets to dictate how you express yourself, whether or not that fits into any of those boxes. That’s up to you, and you alone.
Incidentally, if, after hearing me say that, your first thought was “No, he’s clearly wrong, there are definitely only two genders” firstly, hello 1953, I hope you’re well. Please read a website and catch up with the rest of the world, and secondly, let’s say someone you’ve never met and have little chance of ever encountering outside of the internet identifies as a pansexual demi-romantic, or whatever. What difference does that make to you? Absolutely none. As long as they’re not at it, whatever it is, in your back garden or on your sofa, it makes no difference whatsoever to your life, so… Y’know, have a biscuit, feed the dog. Get on with your own life and don’t give it another thought.
What you DON’T need to do, right, is go on the internet and start making random social media posts about how disgusting it is to piss other people off.
SO. When some dickhead posts a thing on the internet saying there’s only two genders, and there are only two ways of being and if you’re not conforming to someone else’s idea of what it means to be a person, then you’re doing it wrong, the best thing to do is to ignore them. Don’t engage at all. There’s no point trying to get into a discussion to change their minds, because that’s not what Twitter is for. People who post this kind of shit don’t want to engage in a discussion, they want to piss people off, because they’ve nothing else going on in their lives, I imagine. So, best to ignore, block, and move on. Life is short, after all.
When a business that enjoys my custom retweets that kind of shit, I will step in, if only to point out why it’s not good juju for them to do so, especially since during Pride season, they’re more than happy to fly a load of rainbow flags outside their shop to show ‘support’. You can’t wave a Pride flag with one hand and retweet harmful shit with the other and not expect to be called out on it. That’s what we call “the consequences of our actions” and it’s something that bites us all occasionally. You could ask “Why are you bothered, Scott, it’s nothing to do with you, because you’re not Non-binary. And first off, don’t assume anything, and second, there’s this thing called community, where people all look out for each other, instead of just their own interests. It’s a great idea, I’m really hoping it catches on.
So the consequences of sharing this harmful post for the coffee shop was a bit of stick online from people in the queer community who saw it and tweeted others who they knew drank there, letting them know they probably shouldn’t. Which led to the coffee shop taking the post down and mumbling some half-assed non-apology about how it was meant to ‘stimulate discussion’ and freedom of speech and all that sort of thing.
It’s important to note, of course, that freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from the consequences. That business is free to tweet whatever they want, just as I’m free to call them massive bellends and not buy coffee from there any more.
The thing that really bugged me about this, though, was that in all of this there was a gay guy who said “I shared this image too, doesn’t mean I agree with it” and, on the face of it, I can kind of see his point. Kind of.
Except, it doesn’t really work like that. Because if there’s something out there on the internet that’s doing harm to a group of people who may be vulnerable, or just sick of hearing time and again that their experience and life is not valid, then holding it up to all of your followers to see, even if you’re saying “look at how bad this is, this is awful” is still sharing it with a load more people than would otherwise have seen it. My favourites are the ones where people will retweet something awful or stupid or dickheaded or whatever, and then put a caption on it saying “We have to be better than this.” I love the thought that someone might see that tweet and go “Ooh. Andy from Milton Keynes says we need to be better. Time to pull our socks up, lads!”
Really, of course, nothing changes with that approach. But, then, that’s not the point. There’s that underlying thing that says “I have done all I can by retweeting this, now you, who are reading it, must carry the torch of my wisdom forth and do better.” Whenever I see shit like this, I’m always tempted to say “Ok then, smartarse, what are you going to do about it?” I can’t get on too much of a high horse about this, as I’ve definitely done it myself, too. But it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness. OR, to put it in sluttier terms: Sitting at home in your pants, complaining about how horny you are isn’t going to get you laid. You need to shower, put on a cute top and go flirt with some randoms.
So, rather than posting about miserable stuff and saying how it’s all miserable and bad, find uplifting stuff and post about that instead, pointing out how great it is. Focus on the positive.
There’s a simple way to do this, that I think a lot of people forget - you’re in charge of what you see on your social media streams. If you don’t like what they show you, start following people who do. Miserable fuckers? Unfollow ‘em. Breaking news? Gone. Hot guys who keep their clothes on? In the bin. If your socials are full of misery and it makes you sad or damages your mood to spend time on them, the only person who can change that is you.
A random hot mess I used to be really into about ten years ago popped up on my socials recently. We started chatting and after a bit he said “You’ve not followed me back? RUDE.” and I replied “All your tweets are about Love Island and the Kardashians. None of that interests me.” If you don’t want to be quite that harsh, or for some reason you care what other people think of you, ya weirdo, you can just mute people, as opposed to unfollow or unfriend them. You don’t NEED to know Darren from Basingstoke’s hot take on the latest thing a neo-nazi said on the radio. It will not improve your day.
There’s a saying that goes “Opinions are like arseholes. Please stop flapping yours around, you’re putting me off my tea.” Something like that, anyway.
Either way, if you hate finding turds in your hair, stop swimming next to the sewage pipes.
This week’s Patreon compliment goes to Adam Ostrovski. Ostrowski? Fukkit. This week’s Patreon compliment goes to Adam, who is the kind of guy who will lend you a jumper if you’re cold, and not be TOO pissed off if he never sees it again.
If you find value in these silly, sexy podcasts, please consider supporting them and me by pledging as much or as little as you can afford at patreon.com/probablytrue.