Ethics Observations On Joyce Carol Oates’ Twitter Humiliation


Oates, a prolific and much-honored writer as well as a college professor,deleted the tweet after merciless mockery. In case you are, like her, unfamiliar with Marvel Comics tropes, the intergalactic supervillain Thanos wields the Infinity Gauntlet,”one of the most powerful objects in the [Marvel] Universe.” It empowers the wearer to do anything and everything imaginable.


  • To her credit, the renowned author didn’t try to wiggle out by claiming her tweet was a tongue-in-cheek joke. Scrapping the tweet is an open admission of guilt.
  • This is one more example of how seniors (She’s 84) need to make an effort to keep up with popular culture, as burdensome and nauseating as that task can be. If they do not, they disqualify themselves from inter-generational discussions, or at least render themselves ridiculous, as in this case. The gag of showing  millennials display complete ignorance of 20th Century history and pop culture is a cliche in movies and TV now (and in real life: recent weeks have seen my wife and I being greeted with blank stares after referencing Jane Fonda, Sean Connery, and “Gone With the Wind”), but someone over 40 not getting  a Thanos joke is just as culturally illiterate.
  • Oates’ gaffe is a confirmation bias classic. So certain is she the the British Royalty is outdated and indefensible that the new King waving an outsized golden hand seemed plausible.
  • As I keep warning lawyers in legal ethics seminars, Twitter makes you stupid, and unless you are determined to very prudent and careful with every tweet, you are courting widely publicized negative exposure. Moreover, the more well-known and potentially influential you are, the more IQ points the platform appears to leech away. For example, Stephen King just posted this:

…along with similar tweets demanding “something” be done about guns. In another tweet, he appears to morph into Keith Olbermann, simply posting “It’s the fucking guns” over and over again. Not once does he contribute a constructive suggestion about what “sensible” gun laws would be beyond what are in place already. He looks like an idiot.

  • The previous censorious regime at Twitter might have censored the gag tweet that triggered the novelist as “misinformation.”
  • Oates also has a flat learning curve, as she previously humiliated herself on Twitter with this:


5 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On Joyce Carol Oates’ Twitter Humiliation

  1. Another meme has been going around comparing Charles’ Golden robe to the one worn on Supreme Commander Snoke from the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy.

  2. Why can’t lefties just leave certain things alone? The British Monarchy is going to be undone by know it all, smarmy, over-grown hippies? Give me a break. A lot of people in that little old kind of European country, and even people in a number of its former colonies, happen to like their monarchs. Leave them alone, you superior shitheads.

  3. Maybe her eyesight isn’t so good, such that she didn’t notice that the gauntlet is a) edited onto the photo, and b) a left-handed gauntlet on the wrong hand and facing the wrong way.

    Not sure if she knew that the Infinity Gauntlet was fictional and thought that Hering was riffing on what the supposed “golden giant hand” looked like, or she thought it was actually called the Royal Infinity Gauntlet and figured “snapping them all out of existence” was a riff.

    Regardless, I learned at a young age to do my research before trying to mock something. It’s disappointing to see so many humans missed that lesson.

  4. Joyce Carol Oates seems to be another poster child for…

    I know there are people proving over and over again that using Twitter too much can cause people to reduce the level of intelligent arguments they post, but the kind of repetitive transparent gullibility that Joyce Carol Oates has shown on Twitter can’t be fixed.

  5. OK, I understand not being aware of pop culture stuff. However, unlike the old days when I would have to drive to the next state to get to a library that MIGHT have a book that had the information I was looking for, today, people have the ‘repository of human knowledge’ literally at their fingertips. As George Bush used to say “Use the Google”.

    Here you go, Joyce Carol Oates.

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