Tag Archives: Facebook

Now For Something Completely Different

1 Jan

I was born a Skeptic.  I literally came out of the womb that way; my mother can confirm this.  I never believed in Santa Claus, spent a lot of time irritating adults with uncomfortably penetrating questions, and have a total lack of ability to just take things at face value.  It’s physiological, I swear; my brain just naturally gravitates in that direction, without any assistance from Conscious Me.  i.e., I’m not TRYING to be a pain in your ass, I just AM a pain in your ass.

Yet also I am, inherently, an Optimist.  Many who know me may question that statement, but it’s true.  For whatever reason, I have a hokey underlying faith that Good usually prevails, and that humans and Humanity will ultimately work out our vast array of problems.  (Granted, “ultimately” may be centuries in the future, but that’s OK – it’s a process.)  I try to send out as much positivity as I can, usually in the form of Gratitude-to-the-Universe type vibes, with the hopes that keeping cosmic Good Juju afloat will do someone some good, somewhere.  So while I may constantly question the Universe, I guess it’s just because I want it to be the best it can be.

(Egads, sounds like the twisted logic of an abusive spouse -“Melania, I only criticize you because I know you can be better!” – Er, well, that’s totally not me. Or at least I don’t think so …. )

ANYWAY it is with that same dichotomously skewed eye of optimistic skepticism, or skeptical optimism perhaps (depending on the day), that I have approached social media since I first signed on (resigned?) to that particular party some years ago.  After all, I say Yes! to freedom of expression and Yes! to alternative, emerging forms of communication and Yes! to Why The Fuck Not? and figured I should at least try it before I knocked it.  The Skeptic said fuck-that-noise, but the Optimist said there’s-gotta-be-something-worthwhile-there, and the Optimist emerged victorious.

For most of the ride, I’ve managed to keep social media at an arm’s distance.  While the Theatre Major/attention whore in me would love to constantly post post post, a vague sense of decorum, as well the general understanding that the world does not, in fact, revolve around me, has fortunately reined in that impulse. My interest at first was, like most folks’ I’d imagine, primarily recreational – staying updated on various friends & family’s doings, taking one of those stupid fucking quizzes (why?), and maybe getting in a little News Lite.  I remember that the passing of Lux Interior (RIP 1946-2009) was the first crushing celebrity death I learned about on Facebook (sad face).

It’s only the past two or three years of touring the wonderful world of Facebooklandia (I am a relative Luddite; FB is the only social media waters into which I care to dip a toe) that my Skeptic has really kicked in.  Not surprisingly, in the most recent of said years, that skepticism was in full-blown overdrive.  Yet almost never in the midst of that ever-increasing media hysteria did I point out to friends that the “news” source they’re citing isn’t all that vetted, or that fixating on the various hollow shenanigans of Our Evil Overlord-Elect To-Be was just a distraction from likely much greater horrors, OR – full disclosure – did I myself manage to remain completely free of the pull to join the downspiraling frey, chonies temporarily bunched into thick wads over something OEOE To-Be said or did. I too am guilty of allowing myself to be flushed down that particular toilet.  Even the Skeptic gets pulled in. Blame the Optimist, I say.

So as I face a new year with much trepidation, I still don’t know which of those two attributes will serve me best in the New World Order.  Excessive optimism is perhaps partly to blame for the “disaster” (to echo some of OEOE’s favorite hyperbole) of November 8th, but to move forward into this new horizon without at least a shred of that optimism will be unbearable.  Skepticism is useful, but applying it indiscriminately doesn’t win one all the friends and collaborators needed to make the future a more rockin’ place.

Deep sigh.  The answer is out there somewhere.  Or, quite possibly, it’s not.  I may be only skeptically optimistic, but that’ll have to do for now.

.xylo

Bring the Noise. Please Also Include Ear Plugs.

15 Sep

With the growing din of Presidential mudslinging promising to drown out the noise of other societal Hot Topics from here til November, I want nothing more than to fall into a Van Winklenian slumber until election day.  When once I was a young upstart eager to take on debate with all Arch Conservative Foes about American-Imperialism-This and Impending-Environmental-Disaster-That, today I just want to silently back out of the room.  Move along, nothing to see here.

I hate that I’ve developed such an apathetic attitude; civic engagement and debate are, after all, the backbone of a healthy democracy.  Unfortunately, the majority of current public political discourse – if it could even be called that – has devolved into a toxic display of windbaggery, equal parts Snake Oil Salesman’s pitch, and a rabid preacher’s fury intent on getting our collective panties whipped into knots.  There is barely a shred of anything truly useful in any of it to inform or empower the electorate; its main purpose is as a tool of mass distraction, and in upping the lucrative Entertainment ante among news outlets.

I also don’t bother with heated debate because in most cases it’s a pointless exercise.  Just as I know that there is really no way in hell anyone’s going to convince me to shift my core beliefs, no matter how many fetus-in-trash-can photos they brandish or snappy photo/sound-bite memes they circulate on Facebook, I have to appreciate that there are folks with opposing viewpoints who are as staunchly committed to theirs as I am to mine.  And that is Way Cool.  We can agree to disagree, no energy is wasted;  Awesome. As long as you truly believe something because you came to that conclusion on your own,  that you’re down for a cause not because some sweaty radio blowhard barked it in your ear, or a dreamy-eyed intern at PETA told you to do it, s’all good in my book.  God bless America.

Who I really take issue with are the spin-swallowing hoards mindlessly signing on to any random ridiculous rhetoric of the day, be it the thinly-veiled racism of the Birther movement, or the attempt to ban circumcision by (anti-Semitic?) lefty do-gooders, what have you. We’ve become knee-jerk reactionaries to every scent of a pseudo-story, a population of sensational headline readers that never gets past the first sentence of a news article, because our opinion has already been formed in the frenzy.  Why bother?

And I will never, ever understand the vast legions of folks who simply DO NOT VOTE, a useless mass that somehow makes up the majority of our citizenry.  Sure, it’s your “right” to “not vote,” just like it’s your right to consume three cheeseburgers and a 64-oz Coke every day for lunch; but, as will prove true with  the cheeseburger scenario, there will be long-term repercussions to your choice  – or perhaps more correctly in this instance, your non-choice.  Repercussions such as  … well, just take a quick look around.  Are you 100% pleased with what you see?  No?  Well then.

So here’s to a good, long nap until November …. Or perhaps not a nap, but a dream-like moonwalk with my breath held tight, so as not to inhale the toxicity in the air.  Stay focused on the future, America, don’t drink the Kool-Aid, and please, please try and do some homework before the big exam.