Grace & Steel Podcast: King of the Trolls Ricky Vaughn on His Twitter Ban, Gab and Trump
Episode 56 of my podcast is now posted here (with copious links) and on YouTube. My guest is King of the Trolls Ricky Vaughn, the pseudoanonymous agitator who was banned from Twitter October 5. In response, the hashtag #FreeRicky became a top trender, not that this has made any difference. Previous campaigns to unban Robert Stacy McCain, Chuck Johnson and Milo Yiannopoulous were similarly unavailing.
Other Twitter users, such as our friend Ryan Landry, have found themselves locked out of their accounts and forced to start again from zero. It is widely believed that Twitter management is determined to purge Alt-Right and other dissidents in order to expedite a sale. If that was the intent, it seems to have backfired, as Twitter stock fell 17% after Ricky was banned. Of course that may have had more to do with Walt Disney making it known it was not interested in being the buyer.
The latest news is that Twitter is no longer up for sale, with all the suitors fleeing before reaching the altar. This seems only fitting as Twitter would have a hard time explaining its present purpose to buyers. Five years ago, during the time of the so-called Arab Spring, Twitter lauded itself as the free-speech platform and even as a “public utility.” Of course the Arab Spring resulted in a Muslim Brotherhood Fall, but these things happen. This year Twitter has backed Black Lives Matter as a kind of American Arab Spring, and of course that has resulted in exploding crime rates across the country.
As Twitter sees it, however, Jihadi governments and dead cops are one thing, but Alt-Righters flocking to its platform are quite another. Ricky Vaughn has moved to Facebook (which is ascloseasthis to Angela Merkel and rather sensitive to any criticism of Muslims) and to a new micro-messaging platform located at gab.ai. Gab adorns its homepage with a quotation from Salman Rushdie:
What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.
Ricky tells me that Gab intends to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. You can find his Gab account here. I signed up for Gab Thursday and was informed there were 80,000 or so people ahead of me in the queue. So the interest is there, and we can wait on the execution.
I interviewed Ricky one day before #OMGTrumpSaidABadWordTenYearsAgo!!!, but a great deal of our conversation concerned the perfidy of the allegedly free press. Regardless of whether Donald Trump wins or loses (Ricky and I still predict victory), one result seems certain. The MSM’s stranglehold on information dissemination and its ability to manufacture consent has been broken. And a great deal of the credit for that goes to Ricky Vaughn and his brothers in trolling.
This interview was a close-run thing. First, I hadn’t understood that when Twitter bans you, all the direct messages you’ve exchanged with the unperson disappear immediately. So I lost Ricky’s Skype handle and would not have been able to contact him had I not saved my voluminous email notifications. Second, constant readers will remember I whinged about computer problems recently. Well, after I got my fourth computer this year up and running, I was informed that Pamela, the excellent program we use to record our shows, had reached its limit for installations from my address. Foolishly, I hadn’t considered that when I relied on the 30-day free trial to record, so all my carefully calibrated settings were gone, resulting in a useless recording. Thankfully, Ricky followed the step-by-step instructions for interviewees posted on the 2Kevins website. Even so, Internet recording is always dodgy, and it is only because of the painstaking post-production work of my partner Kevin Steel that this week’s podcast was salvaged and made pleasing to the ear. Mr. Steel doesn’t get enough credit for the many hours he puts into our show every week, so I have taken this opportunity to remind our listeners of his contribution.