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I Survived 12 Hours In Twitter Prison For Daring Iran To Attack America


There is a scene towards the beginning of “Goodfellas” in which the young protagonist Henry Hill is arrested for the first time. After spending a few hours in the slammer, he emerges to find his mafia family waiting for him to celebrate. This was a coming of age moment, a gangster bar mitzvah.

Thus did I feel this morning when I awoke to find my 12-hour ban from Twitter had been lifted. How had I gotten myself into this mess, you ask? Well, it was a combination of bellicosity and poor syntax. I tweeted this:

As to the bellicosity, I am of a firm mind that countries that attack American embassies should face military consequences. I am of an even firmer mind that countries that attack the American homeland should face abject devastation. What makes America the world’s only superpower is that everyone knows if they attack us they will be destroyed. That’s a good reputation to have.

As far as the syntax goes, some people, who were either morons or disingenuous, or disingenuous morons, seemed to think I meant it was New York that would be leveled. This is obviously an interpretation that makes less sense than a Fellini picture.

Others, whom I presume have never been to Brooklyn, took me to mean that I was earnestly hoping for an attack on New York by saying, “Bring it on.” Much like when Trump says he would love an impeachment trial in the Senate, the point is not that you really want it, but that if the other guy is stupid enough to do it, he’ll regret it. It’s a threat, not an invitation.

So, I was getting ratio’d and rather enjoying it when Molly Jong Fast, the most conservative writer at an outlet called The Bulwark, disapprovingly interacted with the tweet. I’d show you the tweet but she blocks me now. In any event, I suggested that she should, Jane Fonda-like, go to Iran and apologize for all of us. Some other user jumped in, and I reiterated my previous point with six words. “Bomb the f*** out of the them.”

Not much longer after that, I received word that I had been tried, convicted, and sentenced to a 12-hour ban from I’m still not sure what policy I violated. I mean, the Iranian ambassador had been all over cable news promising violent revenge on the United States. Plenty of people were tweeting about it. How is that any different than promising Iran will become the largest pothole in the Middle East if it attacks America?

The worst part of the ban was that I could still see Twitter. It’s freakin’ torture. Everyone else was dunking on the Patriots for losing at home in the playoffs and there I sat like Richard II staring at the fun through the flinty ribs of my ragged prison walls. I felt muzzled, completely out of touch with the world. This strange, distant whisper seemed to be saying, “You have friends, call one…” I’m still trying to figure out what this means.

I knew I had at least a few hours to suffer through my ban before I would go to bed. I was terrified, but then something magical happened. It turns out there are things in my apartment other than my phone, iPad, and computer. There were books and compact disks, a gaming system and jigsaw puzzles! I don’t actually own any jigsaw puzzles, but you get the point. For three precious hours, I was untethered from the Twitterverse, bathed in the holy light of uncompromised reality. It was thrilling. Then I went to bed.

As you may well imagine, it was a difficult sleep, filled with night terrors, tremors, and a drenching sweat. What tweets had I missed? What clever comments and GIFs of sad Tom Brady? Sadly, we will never know.

But as the good Charles Bukowski used to say, in the morning it was morning, and I was still alive. I grasped for my phone, and saw that my ban had been lifted. Just to be sure, I fired off a tweet. As if to pinch myself, I informed my followers, including the 300 new ones, that now I was back Iran could still go f*** itself. And there it appeared, chiseled in 21st-century stone, its image popping up on screens throughout the world! I was back, baby!

And I want you all to know that I am chastened. I am a wiser man. I see now that my tweeting had been far too tame. How did it take me this long to get banned? When I was a kid in Philly we used to say that if an elected official hadn’t been indicted he wasn’t working hard enough. That’s how I feel now. And I promise to do better.