I do not understand what Facebook has become. What started out as a way to keep up with family and friends, a place for vacation shots and endless baby photos seems to have morphed into a bad faculty meeting. (Yes, that is redundant.)
Where I used to see cat videos, now I see arguments. Where I once saw photos of memorable meals, now I see endlessly shared-and-reshared political propaganda. Today (in particular), I see arguments about which political party has been the most uncivil—a stygian task equal to picking your favorite turd in an outhouse.
There are many, many postings on Facebook that I just do not understand. Why do people post a solitary Bible verse—with no explanation as to why that particular verse is relevant….to anything? As a method of religious conversion, quoting a single random bible verse seems about as effective as hunting ducks at night. I suppose if you fired off thousands of rounds straight up in the air at random intervals, sooner or later, you might hit something, but it would likely be the poor, sick, and low flying bird (if it was a duck at all).
If this strange method of digital preaching worked, you could probably stop people from being vegetarians by driving around the city, randomly flinging Vienna sausages at strangers.
Will you be brave enough to share this picture of….well, I have no idea whose picture this is, since I’m face blind and rarely recognize even photos of my family. Even if I did recognize the person depicted, why would I want to post their photo completely out of context? Can’t Facebook come up with an app that automatically eliminates any post containing the word “share”?
And while we are at it, what about those endless chain letter posts? “If you share this, God will reward you with wealth, good luck, and a new puppy.” Do these people actually believe in a divine and higher power that will pay off like a rigged slot machine if you will only pass on a Facebook post? If it were that easy to manipulate the Almighty, by now wouldn’t we have….Oh, I don’t know….cured cancer, ended world hunger, or at least come up with a decent tasting light beer?
Why are there so many posts that tell me my Vampire Name can be calculated by coupling the month of my birth with the last brand of potato chips I ate? Five centuries after Copernicus postulated heliocentrism, why do I still see so many posts about astrology?
Can we please stop the endless postings of Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, etc? Everyone knows that All Lives Matter. (Unless you multiply them by the speed of light, then All Lives Energy.)
Why are so many people worked up about abortions, gay marriage, and transgendered people? I understand that your religion condemns these practices (and damn near everything else in the world) but if even half the nonsense your religion says about these subjects is actually true, why not just wait a while until you out-breed the bastards? In the meantime, can we have a little peace?
Have you noticed that the same people who are worked up about abortions are equally worked up about assault weapons, but always on the other side of the issue? There seems to be a very simple solution for both camps: If you don’t want one, don’t get one, and it is none of your business if your neighbor does.
Facebook is not becoming a bully pulpit, it has morphed into a vast collection of isolated echo chambers, small discussion groups whose members have banded together to yell their favorite slogans at each other, confident that no member will make a coherent argument against their favorite prejudices.
Why do kind and decent people...people I have known for years...suddenly espouse hateful rhetoric online that they would never repeat in public? Why do we accept statements that seem to justify hatred and bigotry just because someone posted a different opinion? When did differences of opinion justify labeling someone as evil?
I guess what I am really asking is, "Why are so many people so angry?" How did such an incredible medium of communication (something impossible just a generation ago) get turned into a tool that all too often brings out the worst in us? Why do we share more anger than joy?
I want to see more cat videos. I need more recipes. Recommend a good cheap wine. Tell me about the great book you are reading. I want my sons, Whats-His-Name and The-Other-One, to post more photos of my grandkids. Tell me a dirty joke. You probably don’t want me in your political party anyway.
There is a great quote from one of my favorite movies, Harvey as portrayed by Jimmy Stewart:
“Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be’ - she always called me Elwood - ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh-so-smart or oh-so-pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. Now, I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”
Okay, I just did.