Today, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” made Billboard chart history, becoming the longest-running No. 1 hit since the chart began in 1958 — beating out Mariah Carey, whose collaboration with Boyz II Men, “One Sweet Day,” had previously held the record. (“Old Town Road” has spent nearly four months at number one.)
Twitter also posted a video on its music account, Twitter Music, starring the young rapper and meme impresario, in which he grabs Jack Dorsey’s badge and becomes CEO for the day. His first act? Firing @Jack. His second? Demanding an edit button, and then firing a roomful of engineers when they didn’t begin typing fast enough.
The two-minute clip was fun, and funny; honestly, seeing someone ask Twitter for something its users have been demanding for years, and the company has stubbornly refused to deliver, was cathartic. I enjoyed it! Until I remembered that Twitter doesn’t listen to its users, really, when it comes to anything more serious than an edit button.
The fact that harassers, abusers, and other bad actors seem to flourish on the platform without consequence is demoralizing, to say the least, and not only because users have been clamoring for some kind of decisive action for years. (Also, if they can’t give Lil Nas X an edit button what hope have we for change?)
When Lil Nas X sat down with Dorsey, the CEO told him “you’re walking into a super stressful job.” That is true: it’s hard to please everyone. Dorsey is uniquely aware of that, because it must be loud standing at the other end of the megaphone he founded, testifying before Congress and combatting prominent conservatives alleging censorship and persistent bias. Though, of course, I’m sure Lil Nas X would be up for it; he understands the internet better than almost anyone (as is very clear from his Twitter account, which is brilliant).
At the end of the video, Lil Nas X was pressing paninis for the staff he’d just fired. Everybody got a cowboy hat, and they all popped streamers. It was joyful, a break from the unrelenting tragedies the internet makes easily visible. Just yesterday there was a mass shooting at a garlic festival in California, and another at a party in Brooklyn. Twitter, naturally, was the best place to keep up with the news.