Parody twitter account makes fool of public intellectual


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Huh? Am I alone in not getting this? Like most Twitter “conversations” I can’t parse out what’s going on here - it just looks like a string of completely disconnected, semi-incoherent statements unrelated to anything else.


I was afraid I was the only one. Can we have some context? I have no idea what is going on here. Are these people? Bots? Parody-bots? Should I have some idea about which is the intellectual, or know why their opinion is insightful?

Nevermind. I answered my own question. If you don’t know who they are, you shouldn’t worry what they think.

But thanks, Rob, for the confusion!
I’ll see myself out.

Nassim Taleb wrote the Black Swan-- a book about how we can not predict major events because they are random (which in full disclosure, I didn’t like because A) he not a very good writer IMHO and B) it seemed to give cover to much of the financial industry for the meltdown when in fact many people did predict and even betted on the it.) Taleb apparently has a high opinion of his opinions and tends to get into these types of battles with real life people. The fact that he couldn’t pick up on the ample clues that this was a parody account is also somewhat telling.


Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Twitter the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the INTERNET.

Exodus 35:2
Then Moses assembled all the congregation of the blogetariat, and said to them, “These are the things that the INTERNET has commanded you: thou shalt not reply with heat to a comment on the interwebs without reading upon its source, lest thee beclown thyself in violation of POE’S LAW.”

Exodus 36:7
And Moses concluded, “Make me not climb Mount Twitter a third time, to bring unto you the law of the INTERNET, because my fucking feet hurt.”


I think he really meant that the trigger events ie the lightning strike that ignites the dense unburned for generations forest during a drought and beetle kill can’t be nailed down, 9-11 type events not the obvious problems that were hanging before 2007 and still hang waiting for another black swan now.
I couldn’t swallow the book for leisure but I studied the field and have heard several hours of him in interviews which he does pretty well in.

Best as I can figure, it’s below, but WARNING! Pedantry incoming! You will not get this time in your life back!

  1. Parody account mocks some intellectuals, including Taleb, claiming they get paid on controversy and clicks. Taleb most famously wrote The Black Swan, a book “explaining” the unexpected in history by saying, essentially, “lol idk ¯/(ツ)/¯ shit happens gais” (it’s one of those books that business-types like to use when their models fail to account for frickin’ reality).

  2. Taleb defends himself by saying that controversy and clicks are a natural byproduct of telling the truth, not the goal (thus ably demonstrating that he has no working knowledge of marketing).

  3. Parody account points out (rather brilliantly) that SOMEONE still pays the bills for people to go find the truth. Maybe it’s a paywall, then. Taleb is being trolled hard.

  4. Taleb punches himself in the face by claiming that the parody account clearly must engage in the type of behavior it’s accusing Taleb of engaging in, and that only “BS Vendors” worry about that stuff. He says this to a parody account, and uses pedantic hashtags like #logic and #mathematics as if it should be self-evident.

  5. The parody account points out that the line between BS and truth is kind of an arbitrary one these days, which is pretty funny, coming from a parody account that trawls that line constantly and is also trawling that line in this conversation.

  6. Taleb pouts and calls the parody account a doody-head.

  7. The parody account doubles-down. Perhaps Taleb is off fiercely shrugging his shoulders somewhere, or perhaps obvious troll is obvious at this point, but Taleb doesn’t respond, and the parody account closes out by inviting him to a fake conference.



This is where the concept of Twitter implodes on itself, at least for me. When the character limit requires such sparse language that it takes you longer to figure it out than if they had just explained everything explicitly, then what’s the point again?

Although “You’re a fucking charlatan polluting intellectual life.” is a pretty sweet line. Makes the whole confusing mess worthwhile to me.

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Man, that’s great. Thank you!
Now, can you explain the New Aesthetic to me, or decipher Bruce Sterling’s essays in general?

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I don’t think there was anything wrong with how Taleb responded. I would much rather operate on a plane above Twitter trolls, even if it makes me susceptible to Twitter trolling, than to operate at their level. His final statement to the Twitter troll was absolutely true, taken literally.

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I think we can all agree that Twitter is beyond stupid. And it’s just this kind of beyond stupid exchange that makes it so wonderful, for people who are into things that are beyond stupid. Me, I just like stupid, so I only mildly appreciate this.

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Well explained - serious kudos from me! It’s just a shame Taleb couldn’t make the party.

The parody account sounds a lot like “real” positions people are taking, although in Twitter, all subtlety, context, depth, etc. are lost. I’m not surprised he didn’t detect parody.

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Thank you for that. I suppose that makes sense, though it seems like something was missing from the “conversation,” and the responses don’t seem entirely related to the tweets of the other. I suppose that’s just the nature of Twitter - no one really says much of anything…

I too am a public intellectual. Where shall I collect my pay?

From those who buy the books you write to defend their terrible life choices, obviously.


That sounds suspiciously like work.

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If it’s the clickers, they mostly haven’t bothered to read the books. They’ve just read the reviews online. :wink:

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