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Cool Building Day reminds us what there is to lose on Twitter

Will Dave Mustaine’s treasured tweet about the Wisconsin Capitol see its 10th birthday?
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth wakes up and launches the greatest Cool Building Day celebration ever on the steps of the capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. Mark Riechers/Midjourney
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth wakes up and launches the greatest Cool Building Day celebration ever on the steps of the capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. Mark Riechers/Midjourney

Will Dave Mustaine’s treasured tweet about the Wisconsin Capitol see its 10th birthday?

On November 24, 2013, the thrash-metal institution Megadeth was in Madison for a show at the Orpheum. Bandleader and golden-haired walking tantrum Dave Mustaine looked out his downtown hotel window and tweeted about the cool building he saw.

Who can say what he actually understood about the Wisconsin Capitol or the generally accepted function of neoclassical buildings with lots of columns and a lofty dome. He just called it a cool building. Perhaps Mustaine was fully aware that “Numerous fossils, including starfish and gastropods, are present in the walls and floors of the building,” that famed architect George B. Post died before its construction was completed, leaving his two sons to oversee the completion of the project, and so forth. Perhaps he thought it just happened to be there for some reason, putting on airs in all its granite finery. Mustaine tweeted what he tweeted and has not bothered to explain himself. 

In honor of this observant bit of road-warrior sightseeing, we at Tone Madison mark November 24 as Cool Building Day in Madison. We’ve never sought a formal proclamation from the city. I’m not writing “whereas”-es for this, sorry. It just is what it is and needs to be cherished for the slap-happy delight it induces in literally anyone who knows the first thing there is to know about Madison, Wisconsin. 

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Twitter is great at yielding up exactly these sorts of pointless little gems and then some. We may well end up missing it soon. As the hellsite turns into Elon Musk’s personal $44 billion shitshow, people are trying out other ways to connect, whether it’s setting up an interest-specific Discord server or reviving an old Tumblr or maybe figuring out how to join Mastodon if that is indeed possible. They may indeed find rewarding forms of community and even improve upon some of Twitter’s deep-seated flaws. 

They will likely never be able to recreate anything, though, that comes close to the volatile juice of Twitter’s user base, its too-online-for-your-own-good culture, its tendency to create nesting-doll layers of twisted in-jokes. Even on a local level, we’ve seen how this indefinable, quicksilver-like essence of Twitter gives us an improbable mix of intelligent civic conversation, off-the-wall stunts, and Mayoral withdrawal road trips

A rock star making an oblivious post about a local landmark is also a welcome part of that continuum. If Twitter can’t keep enough staff around to prevent the site from imploding, will we be celebrating the next Cool Building Day on a thumb drive or something?

Given Mustaine’s tendency toward heinous statements and his asinine brushes with right-wing politics (in that “neither left nor right but definitely right but also just fucking with you bud! But seriously, more to the right” way), it’s hard to imagine that he’s troubled by the politics of Twitter’s current moment. And sure, Twitter’s always been messed up, especially when it comes to protecting people from harassment and abuse. It has also given us beautifully ridiculous moments like this, which might not have permeated so readily on some other platform.

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