Most of you reading this live somewhere with free speech. This is wonderful. It turns Orwell’s vision of Big Brother on its ear because while Big Brother is watching, he’s seeing a lot of middle fingers waved at him.
Let’s talk about social media, shall we? I get that you’re passionate about your beliefs. It’s why too many atheists sound like Jehovah’s Witnesses these days.
“Religion is the root of all bigotry and hatred in the world.”
That’s nice, dude, but I only asked if you liked the Seahawks in next week’s game.
I tend to ignore religious posts. The point of most religions, including atheism, is “Don’t be an asshole. You’re not that important,” a universal and undeniable truth. What are people usually mad about? Other people being assholes. Sometimes, it’s assholes arguing with other assholes. Sometimes, I’m even an asshole, though I try not to be.
And then we come to politics. I submit that politics, not religion, makes for the most morally bankrupt posts on social media. Why? Let’s look at Mr. Webster’s fine book on what words mean, shall we? Here’s the online entry for politics:
Most of you think you’re “debating” this:
1a: the art or science of government
What you’re really ranting (I won’t dignify it calling it “debating”):
3c: political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices
And so we get Facebook walls full of such egregiously stupid things as “Obama is a socialist” (posted normally by people who could not define socialism if you put a gun to their head) or some faux outrage from salon.com pointing out that Mitch McConnell forgot to wipe his ass once in the Senate restroom before shaking hands with the Pope.
Let’s be clear at something. 75% of political posts on Facebook have nothing to do with facts, or the facts are conveniently chosen with no context. The most benign quotes are spun in the worst possible light. And how about that rant you posted two days ago on Rand Paul or Hillary Clinton that just got debunked on snopes.com? Why don’t you feel like the idiot you just made out of yourself?
I don’t believe in grand conspiracies. They require too much cooperation and effort on the part of people who frankly don’t give a damn about each other’s interests, let alone yours. I do believe in trends, however, and every outrageous factoid you post is carefully designed to stir up your outrage and get you frothing at the mouth so you’ll vote against whoever it is that’s against whomever the source loves/works for. That’s not a conspiracy, kids. That’s marketing. It’s the same reason you know the Golden Arches mean fast food along that lonely stretch of Interstate. It’s why some of you buy into the Cult of Apple while Samsung makes billions off some of you who hate it. Marketing.
It’s not a conspiracy. It’s your willing participation in the process. Stop that.
Now I’m not going to insult your intelligence telling you I’m objective. I’m not. It’s no secret I lean left, though I’m not sure I’m quite left enough to be called liberal. I openly mock a lot of conservative posters because they tend to post the most nakedly stupid things on Facebook. But…
You may be surprised to learn that I’ve unfriended and unfollowed more people who agree with my views than those who oppose them. Why?
Tell me, why do I want to wallow in your hatred and negativity when I don’t want to listen to theirs? All you do is feed the machine campaign managers depend upon. Why is it okay for you to post questionable facts and passive-aggressive bullshit, but not the other person? Doesn’t that make you just like the person you despise? What, exactly, are you trying to accomplish? To impress your like-minded friends? How do you think we got a useless Congress in the first place. If you foam and froth at the mouth at the slightest provocation, those tasked with getting politicians elected are going to see that as a valid means of getting the job done.
The question you must ask yourself is this: Does this accomplish anything besides expressing whatever outrage I’ve been told I have this morning? If the answer is no, you screwed up.