Bette Still Barking On Twitter

I used to be amused, perhaps even flattered, when people told me I looked like Bette Midler. They would hasten to add, “And she’s so pretty.” Pretty is not a word I would ever use to describe myself – and I’m not being modest, just a realist. And, certainly, there is nothing attractive about the mouthy Ms. Midler these days.

She came to mind recently as an example of why Elon Musk – or someone – had to take control of Twitter. Not because he will shut down her outrageous comments. But because no one better typifies the hypocrisy that has been Twitter than the aging singer and actress.

If we all thought former President Trump was Twitter cringeworthy, he hardly held a candle to the caustic Ms. Midler. Despite a plethora of outrageous comments, she remains on the platform to this day with two million followers.

Meanwhile, people like my mild-mannered housecleaner have been kicked off social media by the hundreds of thousands. I don’t know about the others – I’m sure there were plenty of outrageous things said – but she posted something that shouldn’t have caused a ripple of consternation in the scope of things.

Let’s take a minute to recall highlights of some of Ms. Midler’s previous performances in the Twitter theater.

When Melania Trump was a speaker at the Republican National Convention in 2020, Midler tweeted: “Oh, God. She still can’t speak English.”

That same year, she called on authorities to arrest former President Donald Trump for trying to infect Joe Biden with Covid. She tweeted: “He tried to infect & kill #Joe Biden at the debate; by turning up too late to be tested, knowing full well he was positive; then screeched, sputtered, spit and foamed at the mouth, hoping to infect Joe. He IS the devil.”

Against Senator Rand Paul, who was attacked by his neighbor while working in his yard in Kentucky, Ms. Midler tweeted: “I DO NOT promote violence … but Rand Paul says that the Kurds are being ‘ingrates’ for taking their frustrations out on US troops. Which is a good reminder for all of us to be more grateful for the neighbor who beat the shit out of Rand Paul.”

She also took on Senator Joe Manchin after he nixed President Biden’s Build Back Better bill. Manchin, she tweeted, “wants us all to be just like his state, West Virginia. Poor, illiterate and strung out.”

On April 24, she called Florida governor Ron DeSantis “a jackass.”

She and her ilk have gotten away with this kind of thing on Twitter for years, while parents attending school board meetings to exercise their right to petition for redress got surrounded by policeman and, in some cases, arrested. If, in the past, Twitter hasn’t silenced her mean-spirited, crass and xenophobic remarks that praise violence against a sitting senator, then how can it justify removing others?

Obviously not too happy about the Musk purchase of Twitter she re-tweeted a recent New York Times editorial that said that Elon Musk is a problem masquerading as a solution and added her commentary: SAD SAD SAD SAD SAD.

A friend of mine sent me an email today commenting on how a Twitter lawyer cried in an internal meeting when talking about the sale of her company.

My friend wrote that “it couldn’t happen to a more truly dangerous bunch.” He said these people “have regarded themselves as our self-appointed overlords…unaccountable and not to be questioned…For example, while getting a haircut yesterday, my barber (of all people) told me he got banned from Twitter for re-tweeting a tweet from Ron DeSantis. So as is demonstrated by that example alone, they have been aggressively suppressing political free speech.”

Maybe Ms. Midler should be grateful that Musk claims he will continue to support free speech. With some older folks, complaining and criticizing others is all they have left.

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