ASK AVANT: Richard Block-ins

Ask Avant is a series in which award-nominated internet persona Avant Garcia helps everyday people by imparting wisdom from the Council of Hedgehogs. Today's advisee is bugfax from Oregon (I think?).

I, too, know what this feels like: Richard Dawkins, noted scientist, avid atheist, and dog lover, also blocked me on Twitter. As far as I can recall, I never followed Dawkins, tweeted at him, or even tweeted about him prior to discovering that, like you, I had been shut out from his world.

It’s difficult to parse a mind as genius as Dawkins; his level of thinking is far more evolved than ours. Not only does he know how to care for people with special needs, he has been able to figure out which kinds of rape are “worse” and has even managed to solve the cause of rape altogether–all things a normal, decent human being would not even begin to approach. However, from the little I know of Dawkins (and given the fact that he blocked me, I know very little), I know that he would appreciate a scientific experiment to see what exactly makes him block someone.

If my normal Twitter account, @AvantGarcia, hadn’t previously ever tweeted about or at Dawkins, then I have to wonder: how would Dawkins react to an account that only praised him? Or an account that only criticized him? 

So I set up two accounts: one that only praised him, and one that only criticized him. Granted, this is an imperfect experiment; I am, after all, not a scientist of Dawkins’ caliber, but I did once win third place in my 7th grade science fair, so I know a thing or two about science.

For my first account,  I chose the most inconspicuous handle I could think of: @notavantgarcia. I also tweeted a few normal tweets just so that he wouldn’t catch on:

Slowly, I started slipping in tweets praising Dawkins (complete with typos–again, to make sure he doesn’t think it’s me, a well-known flawless tweeter):

This went on for over a month, and as far as I know, this account still has access to all of those sweet, sweet Dawkins-tweets.

My second account (under a subtle pseudonym–@moreavantgarcia) was slightly more critical:

Within nine tweets, Dawkins blocked me.

What this tells me is that Dawkins has no problem with anyone who praises him (and why should he?), but if you criticize him or if you’re at the very least neutral about him, you’ll earn his scorn. Dawkins, like a Jealous God, demands tribute.

Of course, I know that you are well known for your portraits of Dawkins, but clearly this isn’t enough to satiate Dawkins’ ego. I suggest starting an alt account in which you more quietly and humbly praise Dawkins. Otherwise, you’ll never learn all of the wisdom he has to say about how to avoid crazy ideologues.

Best of luck.

If you need advice, tweet your questions to @Queenmobs or @AvantGarcia.

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