Carnival was this release where people could wear masks, take over the public square, and mock authority. Also indulge in violent stone-throwing, extortion, harrassment, and plain old trolling. The latter describes Twitter on a good day, but by opening up blue checks, Elon Musk has unleashed a full-on Carnival on authority. Including against himself.
For a sense of carnival, I skimmed Luca Landucci’s diaries from 1450 to 1516 diaries (just the February parts). They’re fascinating. Young men would erect barriers, collect payment from anyone who passed, and engage in violent stone-throwing on the streets. Basically usurping the state’s monopoly on violence and taxation, just for a day. They also seemed to die with some regularity. As Landucci wrote:
As the footnotes not, “the most sacred things were scoffed at, under a veil of delicate irony.” This again describes ordinary Twitter, but under the rule of the new Doge Elon Musk, the town square has gone full carnival, complete with masks and mockery. Even the Doge himself is scoffed at, as below:
Under the previous regime, Twitter blue checks were doled out by permission, and denoted some sort of authority. You could get them for wide celebrity, or just having bylines in a western propaganda outlet. Musk, however, immediately put them up for sale, and the unwashed masses have simply donned those icons of power like so many masks. And sometimes the masks tell the truth more than the usual lying we get to our face.
Take some heathen pretending to be warlord Lockheed Martin:
It is actually true that Lockheed Martin’s main customers are the worst human rights abusers on the planet. These countries wear the mask of propriety during the year, but on Carnival the tables are turned. People can pretend to be the powerful, and do what the powerful actually should be doing. Take, as another example, the druglords Eli Lilly:
Upon hearing the fake news that insulin would be free, the company lost billions in value on the open markets. As you can see, the rentier shareholder class likes misery, as long as it makes money. This goes denied on normal days, but in the capitalist carnival anyone can put on the mask of Eli Lilly and say ‘suck it’, like they really mean.
Hence you get Chiquita openly saying that they overthrew governments, like they did. Someone should do Unilever, and Shell, and everybody wearing a grinning mask of propriety on TV.
Even the political servants of capital get skewered, like warmongers Tony Blair and George W. Bush.
In the ‘real’ world these incompetent killers are hanging out on yachts and painting peacefully. George W. Bush is hosting a summit with the sock-puppet Zelensky, to justify the latest endless war in Ukraine. During the year we’re supposed to forget that this is the bloody song they sung in Iraq, and Vietnam, and wherever the White Empire has left its trail of misery. But on Carnival we can don the masks of these ghouls, and laugh rioutously.
Twitter is a shitshow, obviously, but it’s always been a shitshow. It’s always a carnival in terms of stone throwing and harassment, but with the opening up of blue ticks, Musk has made it an iconoclastic carnival, which is over now by the way. Hope you had your fun for $8. Now it’s back to your regular scheduled programming of killing diabetics for money and bombing poor countries for money and making the real money.