A Rock ‘n’ Roll Twitter Intervention

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So I’ve got this friend and coworker with a problem. (Out of respect for his privacy, let’s just call him Adam Weinstein.) Adam is prolific. In addition to his regular job, the guy writes and blogs like a madman. He provokes the trolls on purpose, debates his blog commenters, and tweets like there’s no tomorrow. So that’s his baseline state.

But then he discovered the hashtag #rockretractions, and that’s when things went south.

Adam dismissed it as blowing off steam during Mother Jones‘ busy production cycle—the two weeks of late nights when we ship pages off to the printer. But I knew better. Adam was hooked. #Rockretractions was a cheap, quick high. It started with the classics as a kind of gateway drug:

  • It has come to our attention that, in fact, Mother Superior acted quite prudently. #rockretractions
  • You know what? I got some satisfaction. Didn’t even try, really. #rockretractions
  • She knows damn well that stairway she’s building doesn’t actually go anywhere. #rockretractions
  • In retrospect, that silhouette might not have been of a man. It was awfully little. #rockretractions
  • @daudig OK, she was a hound dog. But she was also a great deal more. #rockretractions
  • You can check out anytime you like, but please mind our other guests and leave only between 9 AM and 5 PM. #rockretractions
  • Dude totally looks like a dude, dude. #rockretractions

Adam was getting in deep, clearly. I knew the only way I’d be able to reach him was to try a few of these myself. That way he’d know I understood what he was experiencing. Then maybe I could convince him that he needed to, you know, eat a meal, wash up, groom a bit.

  • It’s not that the bitch is back. It’s that she never left in the first place. #rockretractions

(What can I say, Elton was the first thing came to mind.)

  • All we are is carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. Not dust. #rockretractions

(Followed by Kansas. WTF?)

  • She’s like methadone to me. #rockretractions #rockstarsinrehab

(Ah, punk rock. Now we’re flowing.)

Adam, meanwhile, is off on a ’60s tear:

  • You don’t actually believe you can play a song for me with just that tambourine, do you, man? #rockretractions
  • I don’t really know if Jesus loves you all that much, Mrs. Robinson. #rockretractions
  • By the time we got to Woodstock, we realized the concert was in Bethel and we turned around. #rockretractions

His zigs to 1980:

  • Oh, wait. That IS my beautiful wife. #rockretractions

He zags to 1973:

  • Oh, shit, that WAS a deputy? He sure looked like the sheriff to me. #rockretractions

No telling where he’ll go next…

  • Welcome to the jungle. We’ve got Parcheesi and Farmville. #rockretractions
  • If we’re gonna get technical about it, I’m hot for teacher’s assistant. #rockretractions

At this point, one @emalik25 intercedes: “For your younger followers it’d be helpful if you included the song you’re alluring to.”

Listen, punk, this is all about what we oldsters used to call riddles. You’ve gotta figure them out for yourself. Maybe you can decipher Adam’s next few entries…

  • When we all originally moved into it, it was a white submarine. #rockretractions
  • Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the mountain-snow runoff had the whole damn place flooded out. #rockretractions

Which inspires this couplet from me:

  • Damn octopus keeps telling me what to do. #rockretractions
  • I get by with a little help from my therapist. #rockretractions

Adam changes the subject:

  • To rock a rhyme that’s right on time? It’s actually not that tricky. #rockretractions

Nice! Brings me back to being one of about five white people at the Krush Groove Christmas show at Madison Square Garden circa 1981: Run had collapsed a lung, so he and DMC couldn’t perform. But there were Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Kurtis Blow, Whodini (“Friends”!), the standouts Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick, and of course LL Cool J, prompting my response:

  • Mama said, “Use your words!” #rockretractions

Adam parries:

  • I was born in an unnamed tropical depression. #rockretractions

I thrust:

  • Two hours of pushing broom buys an 8 x 12 cardboard room. #rockretractions

Adam whips out Bono:

I whip out Cliff:

  • I really want certain things that there’s no way I can get. #rockretractions

Then Adam ups the ante with a stream of quick hitters:

  • Dude, I totally bagged Billie Jean. That kid looks just like me. #rockretractions
  • The love shack is a little ol’ place where we can get chlamydia. #rockretractions
  • No, dammit, a PAIR OF DICE by the dashboard lights. #rockretractions    
  • I’ve got a lot of rhymes, but not more than the Bible’s got Psalms. There’s a lot of Psalms. #rockretractions
  • I couldn’t make it to Brooklyn; really had to stop first for a nap in Secaucus. #rockretractions
  • If you never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table, how the hell do you know how much to bet? #rockretractions
  • With or without you, I’ll probably survive. #rockretractions
  • Actually Saturday night doesn’t work for me. Is post-Sunday brunch alright for fighting? #rockretractions

Uncle, Adam! You win! Uncle! Uncle! Uncle!

  • RT @annapulley: I’ve got 99 problems because that’s as high as I can count #rapretractions

Uh-oh. Could our communications fellow be getting hooked, too? Make haste to her tweetstream…

  • I get high with a little help from meth, actually #rockretractions
  • You down wit OPP? Oh. No you’re right, it’s not a very clever acronym #rapretractions
  • Is this burning an eternal flame? Actually, it’s crabs #rockretractions

Now what? Our editorial fellow, @TitaniaUSA? Not you, too, Titania? …

  • DNA tests prove billy jean is not only his lover, but the kid is his son. #denial #rockretractions
  • The lady who that guy walked 1000 miles for is pissed and wonders why he didn’t just bus it. #rockretractions
  • Dude who paid for dirty deeds done dirt cheap angry at inflated rates. #rockretractions
  • Leaving on a jet plane..should be back by 8PM PST. #rockretractions

And @daudig, my trusted fellow senior editor? …

  • Roxanne…you don’t have to put that ad on Craigslist #rockretractions

And @ClaraJeffery…my boss!?…

  • I put the dogs out. #rockretractions

Ohhhh, shit. That one could be read in several ways. Maybe it’s time to get back to work.

Oh, but not for Adam. Blissful, addicted, Adam…

  • Oh, man, there are no trains that run to Clarksville. Can you take a bus? #rockretractions
  • If I’m not back again this time tomorrow, don’t just carry on, call the fucking cops. #rockretractions
  • Per my court-ordered community service, let me say that 911 is not a joke. They can trace your crank call. #rockretractions
  • It wasn’t a rock lobster. It was just a rock. #rockretractions    
  • If I had a million dollars, I’d be upper middle class for like a year or two. #rockretractions
  • Did I say hash pipe? I meant to say I’ve got my totally legal asthma inhaler. #rockretractions
  • Sure, I can drive 55. It’s just that the cruise control only works, like, half the time. #rockretractions
  • No, you put the lime JUICE in the coconut, dummy. #rockretractions
  • Word! RT @TheAtlanticWire: Best Tweets: Rock Retractions Edition http://ow.ly/2FrMe #rockretractions

(No! Please don’t enable him when what he needs is our love and support!)

  • Lay, lady, lay. Lay across my black-brown twin Ikea Malm. #rockretractions
  • I look nothing like Buddy Holly. You do look a lot like Mary Tyler Moore, only fat. #rockretractions
  • Judy is a punk rocker, if by punk rocker you mean a Valley chick with a Green Day shirt. #rockretractions
  • I wanna be anarchy, but maybe we could ease into this thing with some semblance of a gameplan. #rockretractions
  • The baby’s in the cradle, silly. I don’t know WHERE the cat is. #rockretractions    

In the end, I had to throw in the towel. There would be no getting to Adam; he was too far gone.

Maybe, just maybe, I could help keep this rock-and-roll plague from spreading throughout the organization, grinding our productivity to a halt. Yes, that’s what I’ll do. But first just let me tweet one more. Just one more. One my buddy and I used to sing while fishing at age 12…

  • Last cast…last cast…for bass. #rockretractions #rnbretractions

And the tweet goes on.

Click here for more Music Monday features from Mother Jones.

You can follow Michael Mechanic, Anna Pulley, Titania Kumeh, Dave Gilson, Clara Jeffrey, and—yes—Adam Weinstein, on Twitter.


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