This Sween character is a manifestation of a phenomenon related to hyper-local fame or notoriety. Having no well-known online persona outside of Twitter like Mr. Mann (see the prior entry), Sween nevertheless maintains an enormous presence on Twitter, with approximately forty-five million followers1. The sparse information available indicates that Mr. Sween may in fact be Canadian2, which may render my conclusions completely moot given that they will exist (necessarily so) outside of their nascent continental contextry.
The central conceit of the “tweet” in this case is the idea that Ninjas, which are black-clad martial artists who employ tactics of stealth to both defeat their opponents and avoid waking people up at night when they go to the bathroom, could partake in some of the worldy pleasures of the non-Ninja world (e.g., crunchy snacks) if that non-Ninja world consisted entirely of people wearing noise-canceling headphones3. Henceforth we refer to this world as Headphone-World.
But in a world like Headphone-World, with the rules of the game so casually muted4, what of the Ninja? With no need for audible stealth have we not removed from him or her his or her very Ninjaness, reducing him or her to merely one-dimensional specialists with hearing that is, relative to the headphone world, extremely acute? One would have to imagine that in Headphone-World a Ninja would be able to find better-paying work, leaving the vocation heretofore known as “Ninja Work”5 to be done by merely well-trained yeomen6. One wonders if there exists room in this crazy world at all for the highly trained specialist.
Therefore once the layers of humor are peeled away from this “tweet”, one sees at its heart a portrayal of a bland crypto-utopian future against which many American capitalist objectivists have (rightly or wrongly) struggled. I will be paying particular attention to Mr. Sween in the future, as I find his ideas both challenging and rewarding.
2 I found Canadia in my one visit there in 1961 to be mildly unsettling, like chocolate Alka-Seltzer on an empty stomach.
3 Forgive, if you can, the built-in misunderstanding about how noise-canceling headphones actually function and pretend instead that they function like perfect earplugs. This absurd naivete on the part of the author, in fact, lends weight to the overall sense of whimsy this “tweet” presents, and so therefore must be considered an intentional oversight.
4 You see what I did there, right?
5 Ninja payscale information on the internet is highly suspect.
6 “Yeoman” in this case being someone with a two-year Associates Degree from a school within five miles of an accredited university.