Oh, I’m not going to stop drinking. Good Lord, don’t jump to ridiculous conclusions…No need for crazy talk.
I’m going to conduct the experiment on Facebook during July of not removing anything. No hiding ads or shares that people put up. No taking down rants and political propaganda. No snoozing or unfollowing people. No unfriending. No untoward reactions to anything.*
It will be a strain. I will be forced to see, but pass by, the worst of the drivel that appears on screen. I will not post corrections of typos or humorous suggestions. I will not try to push people over the edge of madness. The people I know teeter there much without any help from me.
I shall practice Will Roger’s advice about not passing up a chance to shut up – and I will see if I feel better or worse at the end of the month. I will either have been destroyed by the flood of folly or find myself completely unaffected by it. I can’t say right now which prospect is most appealing.
* I may have filed one person away for 30 days, but that is to prevent homicide.
No. I point at it and yell ” Bumpah ! ” when I finish writing a knockout column.
Then I put it in the draft section and let it sit for at least a couple of days before I re-read it. If it is still ” Bumpah! ” I can post it. The two days lets me see the typos, and introduces a certain degree of calm into the thing. It also means that sometimes the exclamation is changed to”
” Trasho! ”
Thanks to Mr. W. Rogers, I am taking more of the opportunities to shut up that are presented to me. I hope silence will smooth relations with people in the future and serve as an elegant setting to the occasional flash of diamond-like wit.
Would that world leaders who resort to the mobile phone keypad whenever stressed to send out tweets were as cautious. It might prevent a great deal of angst in the rest of us.
Gravity has been good to me – whenever I have climbed upon a high horse, it has pulled me to the ground. The ground has not been as kind – it hurt whenever I hit it. However, I’m still here typing with a cup of coffee and the heater on ( winter in Australia ).
Sometimes it has been a physical thing – I’ve fallen off of winch trucks and shop ladders and been bruised, bleeding, and in one case unconscious for a short time. But all the wounds have healed and I am wiser about heights.
Sometimes it has been financial. My dental practice failed one year and was sold away. But then I took up a new trade that sustained and lifted me for the following 8 years. The finances recovered and so did my health.
Sometimes there has been a fall from pretence – I used to pretend to be a British officer or a Scot for my re-enactment hobby until circumstances and two realistic gentlemen – an old Jewish cloth merchant and a dour Scottish minister – told me how foolish I was. Bang, down on the ground.
I’ve had social falls, too, when I found things which removed the pleasure of society. But I learned eventually to recognise this as part of every diverse group, and to avoid the fall by carefully climbing down myself. In doing so I retain friendships and can carry on to the next venture.
Or Hold The Stainless Banner High…*
I’ve been scolded by Facebook for posting a story in my column that deals with scale model building – a story in 8 or more parts. It’s the history of the Royal Ruritanian Army Air Force and Facebook thinks it is spam. And says that it contravenes Facebook community standards.
I have to admit, it doesn’t contain:
a. Sneering memes about an American President or Australian Prime Minister.
b. Thoughts and prayers.
c. Sneering references to thoughts and prayers.
d. Cat videos.
e. Advertisements that have been paid for by businesses based upon my browser history.
f. Games that seek to find out people’s preferences so that the information can be sold to advertisers.
So, yes, my columns do not conform to Facebook community standards. If they did I should be deeply ashamed.
I wonder if Facebook is ever deeply ashamed…?
* I was listening to the old Civil War song of this name…but I can’t be sure if the lyrics mentioned ” stainless ” or ” brainless “… which would explain a great deal about the current problem.
Share propaganda. Share racist diatribes. Share bigotry. Share innuendo. Share abuse and bullying. Share political pressure.
Or don’t. Your choice.
The daily round of social media brings a waste-paper basket full of this sort of thing. People with a political, social, or religious opinion will batten upon something – a meme, a rant, a scurrilously defamatory article – and ” share ” it to others in their social circle. Some do it every day – some when a national event occurs. There is one common theme with all the posts; the poster wants to get way with their abuse – diatribe, bigotry, whine, or whatever – scot-free. They are merely ” sharing ” someone else’s concoction. If they are proved right you should have agreed with them and if they are proved wrong it was someone else’s fault.
Well, no. When you try to slap something unsavoury upon your friends, you are the last person to touch it, and the dung clings to you as much as it does to the disgusting object. Same thing with your social media posts. Those shitty fingers are at the ends of your own sleeves.
If you want to be honest with friends, you can still press them with political and social opinions, but you need to do it in your own words. You write, not share. If you write right, they’ll read. If you write shite, they won’t.
Take responsibility for your own material.
Or will it be ” War And Peace “?
You have to decide when you enter a keyboard dogfight whether you want to fight it down to the deck until you all run out of ammunition and are reduced to ramming each other, or whether you just want to make a quick firing pass, zoom up, and fly away.
The first approach – what I like to call the Zeke – is for those who wish to become legends in their own lunchtime. Heros who do not care whether their reputations, bank balances, or underwear are shredded in the fight. People who sacrifice themselves whenever they can – possibly for the pleasure of being hurt. There’s probably a PhD somewhere in there but you’d have to write footnotes to get it.
The indefatigable keyboard fighter never gives up, even when they have passed from being questionable to being wrong – and then gone on to being ludicrous and irrelevant. They cannot quit, as quitting would involve them in the suspicion that they were fools and have been suckered into an intellectual Lufberry Circus by smarter thinkers. They generally die in a blaze of inglorious prose against some hillside.
A second fighting style is know as the Thunderbolt. The writer knows that they have one chance only to drop on their opponent with overwhelming force, let ’em have the whole nine yards, and then use the moment of stunned and horrified silence to zoom away and disappear. It is not a case of cowardice – just judicious use of advantage and tactics. Dodging and weaving whilst making the escape is also not a bad idea. They never have to return to fight that opponent again.
A third approach is to enter unobtrusively, throttle back whilst close to the victim, drop a delayed-action meme, and then slide over the horizon before the thing goes up. Make no mistake – no-one will be in any doubt who dropped it. You will get credit, if only in curses.
Nothing to do with politics or the military here, folks. Everything to do with human relations on the internet.
I count 224 souls on my Facebook list but have no idea whether some of them are really still there. There are a couple of greyed-out profiles that may indicate that they have signed themselves off – one hopes only from the social site. A few more are on semi-permanent do-not-follow status that is only breached when I get bored and curious. In some cases they have always rewarded me with the same behaviour that got them unfollowed in the first place and have been hung back on the rack.
Several more are popped into snooze mode during special occasions like the current federal election. Once this is over and their sense of electoral outrage simmers down they will be worth looking at again.
Note: I have no idea how many people have locked me in the social media bathroom at any one time. I just write and broadcast these little essays and hope for the best. If I get the worst it is just part of the game. If I get the wurst I make sauerkraut and boiled potatoes.
The social media site is a wonderful thing – there is such falsity and barnumistic advertising on it as to suggest that it has no value whatsoever. Yet every day someone makes a valuable contact or comment somewhere and it doesn’t do to remain completely ignorant about what is going over the net. You can ignore Harry Potter and the Game Of Thrones and benefit greatly but you still need your daily kitten fix on Facebook.
Unfortunately for the more modest of us ( And I am always making Modest Proposals. I’m swift with that. ..) there are people who deliberately bait, goad, and entrap on even the kindest of social sites. And we do well to realise it and shape our actions accordingly.
Tomorrow: Picking sides is like picking noses…