Let’s check in on the platform formerly known as Twitter shall we? Let’s have a gander at how it’s doing since Elon Musk, the world’s cleverest man, decided to set its extremely valuable brand equity on fire and rename it “X”.

Huh, what do you know, it looks like it’s doing X-tremely poorly. Usage in the US has dropped by more than a fifth since Musk took the platform over in late 2022, a recent analysis found. This week Musk, who once named himself “Chief Twit”, also chaotically reversed his policy of making people pay for “verified status” and started forcing blue ticks on the site’s most-followed accounts – to the dismay of many users.

X might not be at the top of its game right now but, to be fair, Musk has plenty of other companies. So how’s Tesla doing? Not so great either, apparently. Inventory is piling up and the company is resorting to big discounts in order to shift cars. Meanwhile the Biden administration recently criticized SpaceX (another Musk company) for how heavily its operations are subsidized by the public.

While some of his biggest businesses are plagued with problems, Musk’s attention seems to be elsewhere. Half the time he seems to be tweeting about how he’ll never go to therapy or dramatically unfollowing his ex on X. The rest of the time the billionaire appears to be consumed by his favourite hobby: funding ridiculous lawsuits.

Last year Musk, who likes to refer to himself as a “free speech absolutist”, grandly announced that he would help pay the legal bills for people who felt they were “unfairly treated” for posting on Twitter. Musk was inundated with people asking for help and, last week, X officially announced that it was funding a lawsuit filed by Chloe Happe against her former employer Block – the financial technology company set up by Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter. While it’s not clear why Block terminated Happe, the lawsuit alleges it was because of her behaviour on Twitter.

“Block fired Chloe because of the political opinions she expressed on X,” the official X News account tweeted. “Chloe had two pseudonymous accounts on X, @bronzeageshawty and the now-deprecated @samsarashawty … because some of the opinions she expressed in her X accounts did not conform to the prevailing political orthodoxy, Block fired her, in violation of the law.”

So what were those brave views that X is defending? Well, there are two key tweets (both of which Happe subsequently deleted) that are at the center of the lawsuit. One, described in the court filing as the “Restroom Post” said: “Looking fear in the eyes today as I’m using the ADA gender neutral restroom in the office and a retarded tranny in a wheelchair knocks on the door.”

The other tweet is described as the “Refugee Post”. In this one, posted soon after 7 October 2023, Happe pretended to be a “citizen” of Kurdistan (which is a region, not a country) and joked about refugees from Gaza coming to the area. Happe regularly uses this particular pseudonymous account to pretend to be a woman in Kurdistan with a sheep-herding husband and tweet “witticisms” like: “beautiful big tittie kurdish women just don’t fall out of the sky you know.”

Regardless of what you think about Happe’s comments, this seems like a bizarre case to throw your weight behind. I mean, let’s be very clear here: one of the richest and most influential men in the world has decided to invest his considerable resources in fighting for a woman’s right to say “tranny” and “retarded” online.

A cynic might say the motivation behind this lawsuit is not so much free speech as it is childish trolling. Musk, after all, has routinely demonstrated that he has the maturity of a 12-year-old. This is a man, let us not forget, who whited out the “w” on the Twitter office sign because he thought it would be funny for people to work at “titter”.

Despite the fact that he styles himself as a free speech warrior, Musk has also made it very clear that he’s not keen on certain forms of free speech. He will defend someone’s right to use transphobic and ableist language online to the very end but God forbid anyone should exercise their freedom of speech to say anything bad about him! The thin-skinned billionaire has forced employees to sign restrictive non-disparagement agreements and Twitter has been accused of suspending the accounts of journalists who have covered the platform. There are also claims that the platform has censored Palestinian public figures and suspended accounts which have been critical of Israel’s war on Gaza.

Musk has also weaponized the law to try and shut down his critics. Last month, for example, a judge dismissed a case X had filed against the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a non-profit that has published reports detailing a rise in hate speech and racist content on X since the Musk takeover.

“Sometimes it is unclear what is driving a litigation …” wrote Charles Breyer, the US district judge, in the ruling. “Other times, a complaint is so unabashedly and vociferously about one thing that there can be no mistaking that purpose … This case is about punishing the defendants … X Corp has brought this case in order to punish CCDH for CCDH publications that criticized X Corp – and perhaps in order to dissuade others who might wish to engage in such criticism.”

Musk actively trying to suppress criticism while posturing as a free speech warrior? Gosh, it’s almost like the man is a raging hypocrite.

Once upon time the guitar was seen as a “women’s instrument”. Why? Because women could keep their bodies in “feminine” poses while playing it and because, in Europe during the late 1700s to the mid-1800s, it was generally perceived as a “lesser” instrument. Now the bass guitar is considered more of a “woman’s” instrument. Ashwanta Jackson takes a look at gender and music in JSTOR.

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A significant number of women working in Antarctica have experienced sexual harassment and assault for years now. A congressional investigation is finally under way.

“It’s very fair to say that there’s a real problem with sexism and misogyny within schools,” the leader of the UK’s largest education union said. “It’s not just influencers such as Andrew Tate, but aggressive hardcore pornography which is really easily accessible to young people. This stuff is having a real impact, particularly on young boys and young men and their views of women and relationships.”

If that headline sounds confusing it’s because the situation in Florida right now is very confusing. Florida was one of the last states in the south-east where abortions were still somewhat accessible; now, however, a six-week ban is imminent. The good news, however, is that Florida residents will get the chance to vote on a ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.

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The Week in Patriarchy What a surprise! Free speech absolutist Elon Musk doesn’t really love free speech

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06.04.2024

Let’s check in on the platform formerly known as Twitter shall we? Let’s have a gander at how it’s doing since Elon Musk, the world’s cleverest man, decided to set its extremely valuable brand equity on fire and rename it “X”.

Huh, what do you know, it looks like it’s doing X-tremely poorly. Usage in the US has dropped by more than a fifth since Musk took the platform over in late 2022, a recent analysis found. This week Musk, who once named himself “Chief Twit”, also chaotically reversed his policy of making people pay for “verified status” and started forcing blue ticks on the site’s most-followed accounts – to the dismay of many users.

X might not be at the top of its game right now but, to be fair, Musk has plenty of other companies. So how’s Tesla doing? Not so great either, apparently. Inventory is piling up and the company is resorting to big discounts in order to shift cars. Meanwhile the Biden administration recently criticized SpaceX (another Musk company) for how heavily its operations are subsidized by the public.

While some of his biggest businesses are plagued with problems, Musk’s attention seems to be elsewhere. Half the time he seems to be tweeting about how he’ll never go to therapy or dramatically unfollowing his ex on X. The rest of the time the billionaire appears to be consumed by his favourite hobby: funding ridiculous lawsuits.

Last year Musk, who likes to refer to himself as a “free speech absolutist”, grandly announced that he would help pay the legal bills for people who felt they were “unfairly treated” for posting on Twitter. Musk was inundated with people asking for help and, last week, X officially announced that it was funding a lawsuit filed by Chloe Happe against her former employer Block – the financial technology company set up by Jack Dorsey, the........

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