September 21, 2011

Open Letter To People Who Unfollowed Me On Twitter

To Whom It Mayn’t Concern,

That you have not arrived here through the tweet below merely subdues me. Did you think you could get me out of your life? This is called the internet.

You may be wondering how a screenshot of a tweet accompanying, immediately following, the publication of this article may be already contained within it. My fair dissenters, the above tweet was composed in photoshop “by hand,” with such realism that the languid gray thought-matter inside your head may have been stirred up in similar fashion as the making of guacamole inside a bowl. Your cranium here is the bowl, your brain the avocado. Please try to keep up. The more astute of you folk will notice that the (generically known as a “tiny url”) is not the actual one by which you came. In short, this is being composed with its constituent images already devised, with rhetorical agenda. A roommate once said I was passive-aggressive when I asked him why he enjoyed making vegetable soup from “scratch,” conveying, casually leaning against the kitchen entry, that save the [+]sodium and [-]nutrients, canned vegetable soup was easier to prepare. I said something about not acting like a farmer or something. He said I was passive-aggressive, so I added “retarded” in front of farmer.

The idea to write this letter started a week or so ago, when I tweeted (actually) the evocative assertion you see above you. I did it from my iPhone, at a bar drinking unhappy during happy hour. I sat in a corner alone, my ear drums prickled by the high-pitch emphatic squalls of corporate-type blonde junior execs in high-heels and mid-IQs. The tweet was pretty cool. Notice the repetitive ‘t’ syntactically operating as exclamations; notice the poetic e.e. cummings-esque restraint of any capital letters; notice how I dared you to unfollow me, employing the grand expletive. Some of you may have already unfollowed me by this point, so this is all news to you. Another thing you may have not noticed — as a subtle man often fails to charm even the sharpest tool in the daft shed — is that my icon honoring my surname is rendered from the band Slayer’s logo. I took parts of their letters and made my own, which points to the extra time I have in this stage my life, some of which is spent not just tweeting, but laboriously going over in my head the exact linguistic formation of a tweet, all for you, for which you clearly lacked any appreciation. The idea was to hear Slayer in your head whenever you saw a tweet from me, either in the live feed, or the more loyal perusal of my profile. And as time went on, you were to think of Slayer simply when you thought of me. This is because my entire disposition is embodied in one of their riffs.

So this tweet here I just made up. It was never really a tweet, but it matters less and less now, as you have decided to go on with your mild life without the perennially evocative minor epiphanies of my tweets. I personally think “ice pube’s afro isn’t what you think” (14 Sep via txt) is one of my best, but alas, no retweets. If anything, I recall two unfollows soon afterwards. “totes know where sex attics do it” (26 Aug via txt) was also quite clever, which again, incurred some unfollows. So here we are #bitches. You can take @chen_village out of your twitter, but you can’t take @chen_village out of your life, and for those of you who have just followed me, thank you, welcome to my pain. Chen Village, incidentally, is an area in Chenjiagou (Henan, China) between three deep ravines, where humble practitioners engage in 9th generation Chen-style (c. 1580–1660) Tai Chi, the art of moving around in slow motion like you’re god damn special. I myself am more into yoga and the missionary, but we can’t all change the world now can we.

I’m just being defensive here, and perhaps a little hurt. I’ve worked hard for my following to followers ratio (51:318 as of 20 Sep, or ~1:6), which is barely impressive. The internet seems to take a bunch of vapid and competitive people, and throw them into a whirlpool. I will say, my calm dissenters, the unfollow actually displays more conviction and integrity than that ingratiating follow. It is a rather profound gesture, filled with such derision and/ or dismissal that one must respect it. You probably go to grad school or are “in a relationship,” and you simply can’t spare the time for another narcissistic stranger who thinks their personality disorder is somehow legitimate news. You’re one of those fully-formed people who doesn’t require the internet to complete you. Good job, go for that palpable stroll with your real-life dog. So, you went out of your way to block me from your cognizance, as someone preoccupied by their Mimosa during a Sunday brunch outside might half-consciously swat away a fly whose curtailed lifespan was its creator’s only mercy towards it. And to your hand that barely misses me, I can see those prophetic lines on your palm. Your future looks just fine without me. TC mark

Jimmy Chen

Jimmy Chen writes essays, criticism, and satire. He also contributes at HTMLGIANT, among other places, and …