Different social media platforms serve for a variety of reasons, but in my opinion, Twitter has become an absolute information warzone over these past few years.
Currently, Twitter is the only social media platform where people from all over the world can reach out and connect with just about anyone else, including: Celebrities, top politicians, educators, media outlets, corporations, relative nobodies, sociopaths (you know who you are), absolute strangers, and of course, cowardly trolls (yes, still you). It’s also a place that’s become increasingly overwhelmed by political propaganda, Orwellian censorship practices, unaccountable anonymity, and hilarious soul-saving parody.
Recently, the Liberal Party of Canada has been having a total meltdown over the creation of parody accounts that seek to expose the hypocrisy and deception of the Leftist moral outrage movement. It’s a mess. In fact, things have gotten so bad, that Liberal MPs have been working day and night, along with Twitter Support, to censor and eradicate opposing opinions, which are commonly presented through sarcasm, ridicule, satire, funny memes, and the most dangerous of them all, honesty.
The defiant backlash to this failed attempt at censorship has resulted in dozens of new parody accounts, which have now taken the Canadian Twitter community by storm. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with one of the more popular #ParodyCabinet accounts on Twitter – 222 Minutes, which is a direct parody of the CBC comedy failure, 22 Minutes. Enjoy.
James Ryan: How many parody accounts do you manage in the Parody Cabinet? Where did the idea come from?
222 Minutes: I only manage 222 Minutes. As far as where the idea came from, I think it was purely organic. After the first McKenna account was shut down, a lot of people did similar things independently of each other, at more or less the same time. None of us knew each other beforehand, and we’re from all across the country. I don’t know who coined the name, but it was more of a description of what happened, than a future goal. It was already a parody cabinet before anyone started calling it that. Sorry, I should probably be clear that I’m talking about the main core group. There’s been quite a few of them. I don’t know a lot of them, and I’m not claiming to speak for any of them, including the ones I’ve gotten to know lately.
JR: What made you decide to choose 22 Minutes as your parody account?
222: It was because I got tired of seeing really bad jokes from them. Most of their tweets are a dud with comments under them about how bad they are and how easy it would be to do a better job. I figured I would, and that it would also give me a bit more flexibility than tying myself down to a specific individual.
JR: What’s your take on #GroperGate?
222: #GroperGate to me, is something that I don’t personally feel that strongly about. I just want to see the Left follow through with their own demonizing precedent. I find there are a lot of beliefs that people on the Left feel very strongly about, but with an asterisk at the end. If they’re fine with staging worldwide protests about a world leader in a similar situation, and ruin dozens of careers over allegations – which to be clear, I am not speaking against – then the same process should apply to their own. I have no respect for inconsistent morals.
JR: I love your new logo. Was this done out of necessity? I know some of the parody accounts have been under attack. What sort of feedback have you been receiving?
222: Thanks! It was totally my call. I haven’t had communications of any kind from Twitter, CBC or anyone else. I just thought it would be good to distinguish the “brand” a little bit. The feedback has been awesome. It really seems 222 Minutes is resonating with a lot of people. I’ve had a few people ask if they can join up, but mostly it’s just been people telling me that it’s way better than the original, and at a much more reasonable cost. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I’d have almost as much funding as they do.
JR: I’ve heard it said, that if you can’t laugh at yourself, somebody else will gladly do it for you. Or something like that. What’s the secret to good parody?
222: Ha! I’m winging this whole thing and I have no idea. Lots of the jokes I think are going to kill, end up in obscurity, while random thoughts I put up, end up being wildly popular. As far as the Parody Cabinet goes, I think the best ones have been where they’re just barely past real life. I think a lot of their best material has been on things you could see the actual person saying if they went off script.
JR: I see that yet another parody account was shut down after a member of the Liberal party complained. Is this an issue of impersonation like the media implies? Or do some people just need to lighten up a little? Or is it something else that’s causing these accounts to strike such a nerve?
222: This is one of the arguments against us, and it’s a little bit disappointing that it’s the best people can come up with. It’s not impersonation because every single instance has people being explicitly clear that it’s parody. It’s not identity theft because to the best of my knowledge, no one is using a fake Twitter handle to attempt to access the real person’s Triangle Rewards points. Parody is something that has been well-established in all forms of media for a very long time. It’s literally why Twitter has the blue check mark. The problems are that this has traditionally been a Left-dominated area, and that out of nowhere, we are now doing a better job than they are. These #ParodyCabinet people are absolutely nailing it, and getting tonnes of traction. And of course, the Liberals are panicking. It’s unheard of for them to get mainstream criticism.
JR: Serious question… are you a Russian bot?
222: No, but ask yourself this: If Russia could make a bot that is capable of making poop jokes at the expense of world leaders, wouldn’t you want them in charge anyway?
JR: Haha good point. I have intentionally not asked you about your name, your gender, where you live, etc. because I respect your need for anonymity. What’s one thing that you’d want either your fans or your critics to know about you?
222: Thanks for that. Regarding who I am, I can tell you that I’m just a regular person. I’m not affiliated, associated, nor do I even support any political party. As far as anything I would want people to know – just that the #ParodyCabinet really appreciates the people supporting it, and aren’t going anywhere no matter how hard we get pushed on this.
JR: What is your interest in interviewing Karina Gould? I’ve noticed you asking her a few times now. Why her?
222: Most other MPs have grumbled a bit here or there about parody accounts, but she actually released a statement. We’ve reached out to her every day since and have not yet received a response. I think it would be fun to do some actual news activities, and it seems like a good place to start. Also, depending on the format that a potential interview would go, it may provide an opportunity for the pro-parody side of the argument to get exposure – something it hasn’t had as of yet. Either way, it would give her an opportunity to expand on things that seemed wanting as far as details.
JR: There’s a parody account called Sean Spicier out of the U.S. that is constantly retweeting hateful messages from people who think that he’s the real person. Have you ever had anyone mistake you for the real 22 Minutes?
222: It’s actually happened quite a bit. Invariably, it’s been people saying; we must have hired new writers, wonder when we got funny, or something along those lines.
JR: Interesting. Do you think that at all validates the notion that parody is in fact impersonation? Where does the responsibility lie? With the writer or the reader?
222: Well the easy answer about responsibility is that the precedent is well-established – that responsibility is with the consumer. In real life, they both have some responsibility. The creator has a responsibility to be forthright about it and correct people when possible. On the other hand however, the idea of laws or regulations protecting consumers from ever being required to think for themselves is ludicrous. This is the same argument since A Modest Proposal told the Irish to eliminate starvation by eating their children. If we want to have a serious discussion about unnoticed satire affecting public opinion or policy, then that’s an educational discussion, not one of censorship.
JR: Thanks for your time.
222: Thank you so much for this!
These are my interviews. If you don’t like them… I have others. Check them out at mrjamesryan.com
Mr. James Ryan (aka Iron Eye) has been writing, blogging and podcasting since 2009. He has written and self-published two non-fiction books (Desolate Warrior and Sociopatriot) and is currently working on his third. He’s a freelance book editor and former sportswriter (martial arts) who has been published on over 40 different websites and print publications. In total, James has written over 500 articles, which also includes more than 300 interviews.