Fruitlords and the People’s Poet: Tweet a Rik Pic For the Health of the Hive Mind! — Ann Sterzinger

You can’t control what people say—well, unless you threaten to take away their job or their Twitter account or send the feds after them for saying stuff you don’t like.

OK, fine, you can stop most people from saying stuff. But can you force them to pick up new vocabulary (OK, aside from pronouns)? Specifically, can I get the Internet to start calling people fruitlords for continually posting shit that’s logically or factually absurd? Probably not, but a girl can dream.

FRUITLORD. That’s a new word, I just made it up. It’s like a shitlord, but instead of posting shitposts, they post about their completely la-la delusions.

Here’s the backstory to my linguistic fantasy: I got banned from Facebook and finally started paying attention to Twitter. Holy SHIT, are there a lot of fruitlords on Twitter. Within two days of seriously using my account, someone had spent hours trying to convince me that a 1939 French camp for Spanish refugees was actually a WWII Nazi death camp (or Nazi- related, anyway; the French were totally planning to surrender, or something).

Then some other fruitlord tried to tell me that no one has ever immigrated to the United States legally (all that paperwork at Ellis Island was just to pack around the Irish babies to keep them warm).

Clearly, there are a lot of people wandering around Twitter posting shit that makes absolutely no sense and can be disproved with one Google image search, but they are totally convinced that their fruit has to be correct and they will call you Hitler if you try to explain that they’re crazy. (Or they’ll call you an SJW or sex obsessed if that’s their jam; that’s happened to me too. Fruitlords come in several flavors, just like Runts candies.)

This brings me to the second item I would like to ask the Internet gods to send viral: I’ve been posting pictures of Rik Mayall playing (P)Rick from the Young Ones in response to a couple of fruitlords, before realizing:

Most of the kids these days probably have no idea what Rick or his pen name The People’s Poet was.

Although Rik Mayall was probably a center-leftist, the People’s Poet was a snorting, annoying, perfectly accurate caricature of the kind of spoiled-shit campus radical whom, back in the 1990s, even leftists knew was worth only the most amused of derision. The kind of kid who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. Only he can save the world.

Or rather, he could save the world if someone, anyone liked him enough to listen to him rather than burying their Doc Martens in his face. Especially a girl. The character was well done; he was totally intolerable, but you kinda felt affection for him anyway. And he had the power to gently shame you into not taking your incredibly novel, hormone-fueled ideas for the revolution too seriously.

If there’s one massive difference between people my age and kids who are in their 20s now, it’s this. Except for those of us who are desperately trying to pretend not to be old, we remember one important lesson: NEVER take your own political ideas too seriously.

Because you’re probably nowhere near as smart as you think.

Rik Mayall was brilliant as a comedian-as a fan I miss him immensely-and one of the best things he did for young viewers was to teach us to laugh at ourselves. Everybody is a tiny bit Rick-I know I was-but Rik Mayall saved us from being taken over by that part of our exuberant youthful personalities. As a comedian, one’s job is to patiently scrape the moss off the stone that is the hive mind. And also to do the same task for individuals, who are often lonely, scared, troubled, and in danger of letting our emotions fall in an entrancing scrim between our eyes and the world.

Rik helped us channel that youthful exuberance into healthier channels. He’s part of the reason I’m not a fruitlord.

Everybody needs to see Rik. This is part of the sadness of the passing of time: someone can do a great job of teaching everybody else a lesson, but the hive mind forgets wisdom with amazing speed.

Please, do the future a favor, kids, and tweet a Rik pic at your local fruitlord today!

Alternately, you can listen to some of Rik’s wisdom, masquerading as a racontage of his “long and disgusting life”; spoiler, his five mantras include equality (which encompasses both humility and confidence, because “what are YOU laughing at?!”), freedom, and love.

Originally published at on June 22, 2019.

Author of NVSQVAM, DISASTER FITNESS, the upcoming ELEKTRA’S REVENGE sci-fi epic, & the action novella SEINE VENDETTA. Editor of YOU’RE ALL PUSSIES.

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