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Updated: Joyce Carol Oates is Way Funnier than the Ageist Internet

The Internet is a funny place. Humor is one the things it does best, which is why I was shocked, and ultimately disappointed, at the collective reaction to Joyce Carol Oates’ recent tweet.

Updated June 12, 2015 @ 11:10 a.m.

A beguiling tweet from Oates in response to her own Jurassic kerfuffle:

Just because you are a postmodernist….

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) June 11, 2015

Her tweet is a response to this remark on her posting of the 'Jurassic Park' image:

Been offline for weeks but those who thought @JoyceCarolOates's hilarious post re dinosaur kill was "serious" are Jurrasic themselves, duh!

— Bradford Morrow (@BradfordMorrow) June 11, 2015


The Internet is a funny place. Humor is one of the things it does best. It's also a very politically correct place, which is why I was shocked, and ultimately disappointed, at the collective reaction to Joyce Carol Oates' recent tweet (referring to the photo above):

So barbaric that this should still be allowed... No conservation laws in effect wherever this is?

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) June 9, 2015

Besides being a funny, politically correct space, the Internet is also great, if you want to call it that, at totally burning people for their innocent mistakes. This is the same vein in which people poked fun at Oates' tweet. As Salon put it, there was a 5 percent chance Oates was joking and an 80 percent chance that she mistook the triceratops for a slaughtered elephant (apparently she thought a man in some white tennis shoes and blue jeans, who looks an awful lot like Steven Spielberg, brought it down).

Were this a trial by jury (which is also what the Web can feel like, except with pitchforks and burning torches), I would offer Oates my services as a confident defense attorney. The evidence from Oates' own Twitter account is overwhelming, if circumstantial. Lets have a look:

Exhibit A. Oates is a popular author of much acclaim and has tweeted over 13,000 times. Let's assume she has a certain amount of cultural awareness. Let's assume she knew about the original release of Jurassic Park and the impending franchise installment of Jurassic World. This makes the photo apropos of our cultural moment. 

Exhibit B. Oates is funny. She's a smart brand of funny, capable of delivering subtle, deadpan humor (despite weirdly angry posts calling her to shut her Twitter account down):

We are all looking for those custom-made "silencer" power tools used for Clinton prison escape. "Silencer" leaf blowers, lawn mowers, also.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) June 10, 2015

Or this one:

Cat Nap-in for World Peace extended for extra 24 hrs.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) June 10, 2015

Exhibit C. Oates is practically a student of comedy and she likes jokes. She retweeted:

Research suggests that chimpanzees have the ability to cook, but the really advanced ones prefer take out.

— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) June 9, 2015

Or here's an Oates original:

Where once poets were the voices of moral indignation, insight, prophecy, judgment--now it is stand-up comedians. But only just a few.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) June 10, 2015

Here's my closing argument: Joyce Carol Oates looks like a frail old woman (maybe she is; I don't know her) so we all assumed she doesn't know about technology (despite her robust Twitter account) and we assumed that the photo's relevance to the current cultural moment was a complete mistake. Oates has since had to clarify that it was all a joke, which immediately ruined the joke. But this is the Internet, after all, so I'll close with an appropriately outrageous comment. 

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We cannot stand injustice against America's novelists any longer. Internet, it's time for you to shut down your Internet!!

Thank you, the defense rests.


Speaking of internet miscreants, you might find the following video interesting if you've ever dealt with a troll. So basically: you might the following video interesting. Jonathan Zittrain on internet troll psychosis:


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