AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: A MONTH ON CLUBHOUSE

And now for some lighter fare. You can easily guess how this story ends, I was banned and canceled from Clubhouse, but let’s regale the reader with the full picaresque tale.

What is Clubhouse? It is the “it” social application of the moment. One that like Studio 54, allows entry only by a special invitation. Somehow your humble servant had gotten such an invitation about a month ago. Unlike Twitter or Facebook where one mostly displays his wares then awaiting responses, Clubhouse is solely based on interactive engagement. It encourages users to create “rooms” where voice discussions are carried. Meaning, you talk in real-time and engage with the other room dwellers. You do not type or “like” or post or submit, you talk and engage. At least in theory.

Room topics vary greatly! Several of my favorites, especially while working out and in need of distraction, were the mostly black dating rooms. Members whose pictures feature scantily clad bodies, some of them indeed in great shape, debated topics such as “Would you date a prostitute?” or “Show respect to your king.” The former quickly evolved into a rather philosophical discussion of what makes one a prostitute. Sending a few naked pictures for money when times are tough? Going on a date with a sugar daddy? Or does only being a full-time streetwalker count?

Some rooms are abstract and quirky by nature: I joined a room where only monotonous unemotional speech was allowed. Naturally, that one posed no challenge to me, so I quickly left. Other rooms only played music or offered illumination by this or that new-age guru.

A few interesting rooms are dedicated to philosophy, where questions such as free will vs. determinism are debated. I have to say though that such rooms, alas, tend to quickly betray their Socratic inquisitive tranquility in favor of a heated and emotional debate. In one such case, somebody who clearly was very invested in the question of volition accused everybody angrily of babbling nonsense and making silly claims. I should point out that if mild discussions over philosophy disturb one’s inner peace so much, then one is surely in for a rough ride in the real world.

And then you have the rooms dedicated to politics, where yours truly had spent most of his time. The days were the tempestuous times of the Israeli operation in Gaza, and camps of pro-Israel chatters and pro-Gaza were arrayed in shouting and debate against one another. To me, the shouting exercises were less enriching, but here and there one could find a room obeying the old Roman rule, between the Graces and the Muses (meaning, keeping the number of attendees between 3 and 9) where one could have a decent discussion.

However, neither the Muses nor the Graces were able to save me from the judgment of the Fates. Using that unique skill assigned to me at birth, I was able to very quickly make everybody dislike me: American Jews for pointing out their frenzied leftism; blacks for pointing out their crime rates; Palestinians for pointing out their lunacy; Softy conservatives for their support of too much immigration; Libertarians for their being nutty overall; Women for being emotionally unstable; and probably a few other groups. How to make friends and influence people? Ask somebody else.

I share some of the blame, of course, due to my inability to avoid a good joke. For instance, I entered a room called “Jewish Women Support Group,” became a speaker, then posed a question: “Why are she-Jews so rabidly leftist and emotionally unstable?” Within a few seconds, I was kicked out.

I am not sure how the Clubhouse algorithm works, but I assume it has an element of accumulating complaints up to a certain threshold of elimination. Given my tendency to politely offend almost everybody, I assume I have crossed that threshold. And so, five seconds into creating a room named “All Jews Should Join the Proud Boys” I was finally notified of my suspension and dismissal.

And so we see, the same general rule applies to all social media platforms: If you are not a Marxist, then to survive you have to limit yourself to cupcakes and cats.

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