In case you didn’t know NYC, the city I work in, the city which dominates the area I live in, was in a hurricane. So was the city I actually live in. I wasn’t there. The airports were closed early, and we were out of town; so I’m still in Ohio. Our house is fine. Friends were willing to swing by and make sure the plants were all in, family swung by and checked to see about damage. We got off lightly.
But last night was hard. Twitter was a bit of a godsend, actually, because it allowed me/us to keep up with what was going on. The level of granularity was great, and people I’d not be able to get ahold of for days, or perhaps weeks, have been in touch. None of my friends are missing. No one, I know seems to be more than disrupted; no loss of home or real damage to property. A lot of them were keeping me apprised of things which the news (had I had it on) would not.
I “live” in New York, in the same way I “lived” in SF. Not in the City Proper, but close enough that it’s pains and problems touched me. The moreso in New York, because I work in the city (though at the moment we aren’t open).
Which is why a shit-for-brains named Shashank Tripathi, going by the name @comfortablysmug on twitter is the object of my ire. He took advantage of being well connected to play the ass. He made shit up. His level of connection (he’s a hedge fund analyst and was, before this blew up, the campaign manager for a Republican running for the House) meant people retweeted him. He was also, probably because of his job as campaign manager, being followed by some reporters; who may have assumed his campaign managing meant he was tapped into official sources of information.
So some of his malicious lies made it out of twitter, and into the wider world. CNN picked on up. I’ve seen reports of his evil-nonsense being in newspapers in Tuscon. Why did he do it? I don’t think it was driven by politics. I think it was that Shashank Tripathi is an asshole.
He was doing it for lulz. Millions of people suffering, and he is bored. He’s got the money to have been someplace where his safety wasn’t an issue, and a (one hopes) once in a lifetime storm wasn’t being enthralling enough do he decided to troll twitter. It was more than in keeping with the other things on his stream (racist politics, sexist comments, etc.) than not.
He’s offered an apology. I don’t accept it. He’s mouthed the words, but he did real harms, and I suspect his real problem is that he got caught. If it he hadn’t been outed, he just be pleased as punch at how many people he hoodwinked with his fun and games. Unless he makes some amends of more than words, asshole is the kindest thing I can say about him. I doubt his hedge fund boss will fire him, but at least the politician who was paying him saw him as more liability than as benefit, and has fired him.
I’d like to think others, in circles he cares about would do the same, but I’m not holding my breath.
Because he isn’t new at being an asshole, just a having people who care see it.