Explainer: Top 10 Twitter meltdowns, tirades and tantrums
Don’t let the brevity of microblogging fool you. Twitter provides plenty of room for public displays of bad blood and righteous indignation. After all, character limits can be circumvented and contempt can be condensed.
By Ree Hines, msnbc.com contributor
It’s a point perfectly illustrated by sometimes-actor and frequent rage-tweeter Scott Baio.
Even when Baio isn’t working his anti-charm on illegal immigrants, televised talent shows, and the First Lady of the United States, the Twitterverse salutes his legend at least once a day with a round of #scottbaioruinseverything.
It’s a sentiment the “Charles in Charge” star earned during a variety of no holds barred outburts.
But don’t get Baio wrong. If his any of his tactless tweets ever offend, ever cross the line, ever give the impression of racial insensitivity, just remember his now-deleted defensive words of wisdom: “MY WIFE’S BEST FRD IS BLACK, HELLO.”
Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong recently had his own tiny Twitter tirade when the folks at Outside magazine, usually known for their coverage of all things not-inside, broke away from their straightforward reputation and crossed a line with their cover boy.
Seems Armstrong showed up for his moment in the page-one spotlight in a plain steely-blue t-shirt but by the time the photo manipulation wizards at the publication finished with it, it read, “38 BFD.”
The 38 part referred to the cyclist’s age — darn near elderly for his sport. The BFD, as any texting teen could tell, translates to “big f---ing deal.”
Well, as it turned out, the odd alteration was a BFD to Armstrong, who shared his take with his Twitter followers. “Just saw the cover of the new Outside mag w/ yours truly on it,” he wrote. “Nice photoshop on a plain t-shirt guys. That's some lame bullsh--. #weak”
Hashtag weak, indeed.
Author, Washington Times commentator and all-round right-of-center man Andrew Breitbart doesn’t so much meltdown as maintain a constant level of ready-to-rumbleness.
When he’s not swapping barbs with any number of nemeses from across the aisle, Breitbart can be found getting into Twitter trouble with one of his favorites, such as veteran film critic and evident anti-Breitbart, Roger Ebert.
Ebert recently took a jab over the writer’s claim that supporters of Sen. Harry Reid pitched eggs at Tea Party-goers. How did Breitbart respond to his frenemy who’s long-battled cancer and chronic illness?
“@ebertchicago not fair. I’m not allowed 2 make fun back! You’ve been handle-w-care Oprah PC-ified. Get well, so I can rip your bleh schtick.”
Director Kevin Smith boasts two notable Twitter tantrums. The first came in February, immediately after an incident in which Southwest Airlines exercised its “Customer of Size” policy and booted Smith from a flight when they decided he required one more seat than they had available.
Smith then turned to Twitter to engage airline officials, rant about hypocrisy and assure his followers that he wasn’t “too fat to fly” — over and over again.
March saw the return of Smith’s fully focused fury after a number of critics panned his latest big screen effort, “Cop Out.” According to multiple tweets, Silent Bob didn’t have a problem with the complaints (well, maybe a little), but rather with the fact the critics caught the film for free, as they almost always do.
Or, as Smith put it in one part of a particularly cursey tweet, “People are free to talk sh-- about ANY of my flicks, so long as they paid to see it.”
Shortly after his split from longtime love Jenny McCarthy, Webby-winner Jim Carrey transitioned from coherent netizen to a bizarrely enthusiastic mono-hashtag machine (#BOING!).
Pushing his loosely defined, online bounce, Carrey claimed paparazzi, drug companies and general dissenters were the ANTI-#BOING, but those willing to read his many rambling, emoticon-filled tweets had the opportunity to discover the joy of … well, whatever #BOING is.
The actor also used his now-eerily quiet virtual soapbox to deny any problems concerning his sanity, which is, of course, traditionally a sure sign that the topic is up for debate.
Last year, Disney teen queen Miley Cyrus took a righteous stand against body criticism and bullying in Twitter rant aimed at users who felt the need to call her fat.
In a multi-part rant, the now-former Twitterer said people may “need to spend less time on a gossip website and more time a .reading your Bible b. reading stories/articles about what happens when cyber abuse and name-calling happens. This has got to stop!!!”
But the body-bashing boot was soon on the other foot when Cyrus decided to boost her position by suggesting gals with jiggle-free thighs “go see a doctor.”
Former major league baseball pitcher-turned-radio show producer-turned-former radio show producer, Mike Bacsik learned that Twitter tirades, especially the racist varieties, can double as career killers.
In April, Bacsik, apparently smarting from the Spurs victory over the Mavericks in an early round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs, thought it best to congratulate “all the dirty mexicans in San Antonio.” No, really.
The comment, which he later referred to as “horribly insensitive,” was soon deleted, as was Bacsik’s job.
One man fully in touch with his online emotions is ex-outfielder and former anabolic steroid enthusiast José Canseco. Documenting every mood swing via the magic of microblogging, Canseco never shies away from attacking hypothetical haters, the government or even his own followers.
Sure, his “genetically perfect girlfriend” and ever-so-endorsable dentist seems safe from his Internet ire, but the rest of the Twitterverse routinely endures rapid-fire rounds of low blows followed by Canseco’s wistful visions for the human race.
Or, as only he could put it, “Remember the movie 300 that's tbhe way it should be get rid of the sh-- at birth would be a better world today.”
Another tweeter for whom meltdowns aren’t so much onetime events as they are a way of life is reality TV regular Tila Tequila.
It’s now difficult to find some of her greatest online hits, given that so many of Tequila’s tirades end with a flourish that includes deleting her Twitter account. But, since even her latest Twi-dent has plenty of up-to-minute meltdowns, a fresh freak-out isn’t hard to find.
In fact, just weeks ago, the seemingly attention addicted Tequila claimed one of her other personalities, a violent little number named Jane, harmed her. She even linked to video “evidence.” After concerned followers sent the authorities her way, Tequila addressed her would-be rescuers in a tweet which began, “Peace out u ignorant f---s.”
Of course the greatest Twitter meltdown didn’t actually happen on Twitter. Shortly after a rant-prone Kanye West realized a faux-West existed in the Twitterverse, he launched a caps lock assault on the site via his own Kanye University.
Evidently, the real West believed he was “TOO BUSY ACTUALLY BUSY BEING CREATIVE” and stuff to join the popular 140-characters-or-less crowd.
At least that’s what the otherwise-occupied Auto-Tune visionary claimed in a bloated 960-character K.U. post.
Follow @ReeHines on Twitter, where she keeps the meltdowns to a minimum and the tirades only apply to “Star Trek” continuity issues.