This weekend, a head-scratching series of tweets appeared on the feed of novelist and arts journalist Touré. The tweets asserted that in the days before the Civil War, many slaves who were raped by their owners were "surely... cunning and brilliant enough to use their bodies to gain liberation thus fooling massa." In other words, their abuse served as a kind of empowerment:
Most were raped, we know that, but some were sharp enough to trade that good-good for status or liberation ... They are absolutely not "ho's." They're sexually heroic. They're self-liberating by any means necessary.
About an hour later, another tweet appeared: "I've been in yoga class for the last while. My cousin (PhD student/insane mf) used my Blackberry to screw with y'all. Foot, meet his ass."
So was Touré's nameless cousin the true author of the incendiary tweets? Gawker's Maureen O'Connor marshals the skeptics, who point out that the "cousin" tweets an awful lot like Touré himself. Touré has since posted what seems like an apologetic confession:
Poorly expressed bizarre ideas and brain farts are not what this space is supposed to be about. Will do better going forward ... I like to be intellectually risque but never want to offend. I crossed that line.
This mea culpa comes too late for the twittersphere, which has already latched onto the idea of "Touré's cousin" as a prankish scapegoat. Inevitably, a joke Twitter account has been set up. ("When Toure's privileged cocoon results in tone deaf racially charged weirdness, just blame me!") A flurry of tweets from other users lay the blame for just about everything at the "cousin's" feet.
#tourescousin invented swine flu.
#tourescousin Told Sarah Palin that she can see Russia from her kitchen window.
#tourescousin killed hip hop
#tourescousin loads dick cheney's shotgun!
#tourescousin gave Eve the apple!
... you know, I think John Mayer had a problem with his cousin too.
(Hat Tip: Gawker)