thread

Nothing is stupider than using Twitter to write anything longer than, you know, a tweet. This we know.

It’s a terrible experience first for the writer and then for the reader. Thread Reader is meant to make things less miserable for readers, and to some degree it accomplishes that, but whenever someone sends me a thread — I would never choose to look at one — you know what I inevitably think? Lordy, this is badly written. See, Thread Reader can’t do anything to reverse the damage the 280-character limit inflicts on a person’s writing: such writing is invariably choppy, imprecise, abstract, syntactically naïve or incompetent, lacking in appropriate transitions — a total mess in every respect. (Some of this happens because the writers get distracted by comments that start coming in before they’ve finished the thread, but an undistracted threader is still a poor writer.)

When you write a Twitter thread, what you are telling me is that you don’t care about your own ideas enough to articulate and display them in a proper venue. And if you don’t have respect for your own ideas, you certainly can’t expect me to.

You don’t have to create a blog of your own to post something to the web. You can use a free service like Rentry — I used to recommend also txt.fyi but I think it’s dead. You can even do what the celebs do and write something in Apple Notes, screenshot it, and tweet it as an image. There are a hundred ways to post longer-than–280-characters writing to Twitter, and when you write threads you are choosing the very worst one.

a case of simple theft

I subscribed to the digital edition of the late, lamented Weekly Standard before its owner killed it and decided to throw his resources into a replacement, the Washington Examiner. Today I got an email thanking me for subscribing to the digital edition of the Examiner, which I did not do. 

Now that’s chutzpah: kill a magazine someone subscribes to and then, without even asking, take their money to support a wholly different magazine. It’s also fraud and theft. I have of course demanded that they cancel the subscription I never signed up for and delete my information. I wonder whether they will. 

I hope the Examiner gets its pants sued off for this. 

American Airlines rejects my reality and substitutes its own

Yes, this is a kind of rant, but it’s also something more: an account of how transcendentally weird air travel can be these days.

A few days ago my wife and I were scheduled to fly on American Airlines from Dallas to Charleston. But our flight, which was to leave just after 11am, was delayed and delayed and delayed, and when we were told that our plan couldn’t be repaired and a new plane had to be found, Teri and I decided to see if we could be rebooked on another flight, the AA rep at the gate said that neither she nor anyone else at the airport could help us (!?) — we would have to call AA’s toll-free number. So, around 1pm, we did, and here’s what the customer service rep told us: “I can’t help you because your flight is already in the air.” I said, “I’m sitting here at the gate with maybe a hundred other people waiting for a new plane.” “I’m sorry, your flight is already in the air. It departed at 12:53pm.” And then she hung up. That’s when I took this screenshot of my just-updated AA app:

At this point we were at a loss, but as more time went by and there was no sign of a plane, we decided to give up and go home. Then each of us got busy seeking a refund (Teri’s return flight was different than mine, and her fare was purchased separately.)

Today I got an email from AA reading thus: “In fact flight AA2646 was only delay for 14 minutes before taking off on October 19, 2018. I would not be able to offer a refund for the ticket or waive the change fee.” Wait, 14 minutes??? Even the person who insisted that the flight was already in the air at 1pm thought it had just taken off, nearly two hours late.

Apparently no one in customer service at American Airlines has even remotely accurate data about the status of their flights. Moreover, that data seems to be in constant flux.

Well, maybe someone does, because about an hour before I got that email here’s what Teri got:

So, though we were booked on the same flight, hers was either cancelled or delayed so long that she got a refund, while mine was only 14 minutes late. Proof of the multiverse hypothesis, I guess?

But I’ll tell you this: I ain’t flying American Airlines again.