I don't do Twitter fights. There's almost no bigger waste of time than arguing with someone in machine-gun bursts of 140 characters or less; nothing ever gets settled that way and it's rare that any significant points are even made that might convince someone who strongly disagrees with you to adjust his or her thinking in the slightest. Hence, nine times out of ten I don't see any reason to indulge somebody who squares off with me on Twitter and tries to pull me into a protracted back-and-forth.
Then again, not everyone is Adam Baldwin. Last week, you may remember, I wrote an extended piece here -- cross-posted over at the Huffington Post -- spelling out the dilemma I had when it came to Baldwin's work as an actor. I'm a big Firefly fan and made it clear that while I love Baldwin's character on the show, Jayne Cobb, I also think that he personally is a reactionary shithead. In addition to years of Twitter and Breitbart diarrhea that led me to this conclusion, there was his comment a couple of weeks back positing a hypothetical in which a father marrying his son achieved the same kind of tax breaks as those who engaged in same-sex marriage. His tweet read exactly, "What's wrong, now, with a father marrying his son for love & to avoid tax penalties?"
Now, was he directly comparing gay marriage to incest as some have claimed? No, he wasn't. But I never said he was in my piece, merely that it could be read as such and some were interpreting it that way. What's indisputable, though, is that in the wake of being criticized for the comment, he and Justified's Nick Searcy went on a furious rampage against LGBT activist Tim Peacock and comic book artist Kurtis Wiebe, viciously attacking them, mocking Peacock's weight over and over again and even calling the relatively fit Wiebe "tubby." The whole thing was so fucking weird that for a while there was a question whether Baldwin and Searcy's Twitter accounts had been hacked. This theory could easily be put to rest with a quick scan of some of the other crap they'd written, but it was admittedly batshit crazy even for them.
Which brings me to Saturday morning, when things got even weirder -- because that's when Adam Baldwin tweeted at me that I was a liar.
The link in the tweet went to this:
Taking his word for it for the moment, I asked him if he simply agreed with Frank's early stance on the inevitability of gay marriage or actually supported it himself. Here's what I got back:
Yeah, the video was kind of an insane touch. Also, he condescendingly derided someone who liked a show he was on as a "fanboy."
What followed that were a hell of a lot of iterations of the word "lie" from him directed at me (with one tweet wondering whether I was fired from CNN for lying). I'd put them up here, but as a follower of his told me as the Twitter feud broadened out, he has a habit of "cleaning" his feed every so often, which is certainly his right but it makes it difficult to actually track what he says. It's easy for somebody to say you're lying about him when there's no way to prove what he actually said and you're forced to just trust him or his followers on his intent. I kept pointing out that he can't simply call someone a liar -- he has to explain why that person is a liar -- and it got me pretty much nowhere. The whole thing eventually deteriorated into his firing silly memes my way then telling me to "get lost," to which I responded, "Hey, I wasn't the one who started this conversation and ended it with a bunch of dumb memes. Have a good one."
For the record, the follower of his I was talking to disputed my points but was more than reasonable, and we ended our conversation cordially.
Once it was all over, though, I took Baldwin's advice and "looked up" his appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher in August of 2003, the one in which he claims to have agreed with Barney Frank on the subject of gay marriage. Turns out he was never on that show. Alec Baldwin was. Now either Adam Baldwin is truly crazy or he's just fucking with people on Twitter, honestly being nothing more than a troll who has zero respect for anyone who thinks differently from him politically. (See Update Below.) I'm not sure which would be a more comforting thought. He's a Breitbart disciple and Breitbart was a big fan of being a provocateur simply for the juvenile enjoyment he got from watching his detractors twist in the wind. Believe it or not, I actually kind of respected him for that. (What I couldn't respect was his infusing of dishonesty and fraudulence into the political media bloodstream.)
In the end, unsurprisingly, nothing much came of my little back-and-forth with Adam Baldwin. It's not as if I changed his mind, although I guess he enjoyed spending his Saturday morning pelting some guy he's never heard of with accusations, demands, and lunatic video clips. And while I still love the hell out of his character on Firefly, it's not as if I get to brag that I had a good conversation with an actor I respect or can console myself with the belief that we even wrapped up our debate on reasonable terms. It was like any other fucking fight I've had on Twitter. Nothing at all was accomplished. Which is why I try to avoid them.
Hey, at least I didn't get called tubby.
Update: One of the problems with Twitter, and one of the reasons I try not to get into serious debates on it, is that it's such a limited platform. Because of this, it's incredibly easy to misunderstand someone. Thanks to a commenter below, I went back and took a closer look and it seems that Baldwin's point wasn't that he was actually on the August 1st, 2003 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher but that he simply agreed with the point Barney Frank made on the show. Frank stated at the time that he was open to the idea of civil unions as long as all the financial benefits of a married couple would be available to same-sex couples. I personally believe that there shouldn't be any difference, in name or otherwise, between a gay and a straight marriage because really the only thing preventing the former from being acceptable in the eyes of some is an adherence to religion. And you know how I feel about that. Regardless, I apologize for the mistake. It was a hell of a coincidence that Alec Baldwin happened to be on Real Time on that date, though.