So Facebook is pretty terrible.
I know a lot of you hang out there. I used to, briefly, but it got to be too much. I spent my time at Facebook like I do every church I've ever belonged to--with one foot out the door, the main reason for sticking around being the wonderful people I'd see there.
Sixty percent of my reason for leaving was Facebook's Josef-Mengele-with-a-chainsaw approach to my privacy and data security. They've been playing grab-ass with people's data for years, and it generally takes the threat of a federal investigation to remind them that scruples exist.
(Just as an aside, I wonder whether most people understand what can be at stake. Witness the Girls Around Me app shitstorm of awhile back, in which people's Facebook and Foursquare accounts were turned into a potential tool for sexual violence. That app's dead now, but the ability to get that data isn't.)
Anyway, there's still that remaining forty percent of the reason I left, and, paradoxically, it's identical to the reason I stayed: the people there.
I love Twitter, though it's slowly turning into Facebook. Someone once said that Facebook's the family you're born with and Twitter's the family you choose, and that's true, but don't take that to mean that I don't love the family I was born with. On the contrary, I adore them.
Family Is Hard
I love every person who I followed on Facebook, I do. And that's why it was excruciating to see the old high school friend parroting a facile stance on a complicated issue that they heard from some braying television jackass, the colleagues I hold in high esteem using idiotic phrases like "death boards", the people I would die for gleefully supporting policies that harm other people I would die for.
I die a little every time I see it, especially when I see someone swinging someone else's life around like a dead cat because they can, because to them it's not real, it's just an issue or a "stance". Sometimes I want to grab those people and shake them and ask them how they can dare be so wonderful and so necessary to me and yet be so glib about other people's lives.
There's the "hide" button, of course, and I've used it, but only for acquaintances. I can't bring myself to do it to people who have touched my life deeply, people who mostly post touching, funny, uplifting stuff. So I walked. Maybe that's a cop-out.
I'm just self-aware enough to be pretty sure that others among my friends and family likewise have shaken their heads in disbelief and sadness at things I've written online, and that's why I try like hell not to talk politics in public fora. I know some of them read my Twitter feed and this blog, and I'd rather not cause them that same pain. I frequently fail at this, though, when I get angry or feel like making a yuk-yuk or am otherwise irrational. It's hard, I get it. But I'm trying.
Boy howdy, am I glad I'm not on Facebook this month.
On August 1, the Best Babysitter in the World got the kids excited about going to Chick-Fil-A. This, midway through one shitter of a week--she wanted to take them there that day of all days. And that's not a conversation I wanted to be forced to have with a five-year-old boy who's excited about chicken and indoor playgrounds. How does one explain both human sexuality and otherwise good people supporting hate groups to a five-year-old boy in the same conversation? God bless my wife, who handled it with love and tact.
Parenting sucks sometimes. Okay, weekly. But mainly, all this just leaves me tired all over.
GRAR RAR (I'm a Scary Monster)
The Internet Rage Machine is powered by bile and lubricated with froth. It cannot wait to tell me every single day of my life who I should hate, who I should support, who is a hypocrite, and who is a saint. (Answer to that last one: Fred Rogers. Everyone else is suspect).
The net effect is that it strengthens my ambivalence and apathy more than my resolve. Don't get me wrong, the issue of equal rights for my LGBT friends and family is an important one to me, but I also shop at Target and still buy food that comes from ADM and Cargill and I'm sure that at least half of my income goes to moustache-twistingly evil places, because it's impossible to avoid them. They're running things, after all.
I can't do nothing, of course. I'm exhausted with discussions about which comedians supported Daniel Tosh and which didn't, but I'd like to see rape culture in this country be given herpes and set on fire, and I know that problems don't go away if we don't talk about them until everyone damn near starts rending their garments. Every now and then, someone actually learns something new. I know I do. Occasionally.
Still, it's all devolved into one big game of Issue Volleyball, and not the sexy kind of volleyball with the sexy athletes in the sexy panty outfits pulling the sexy wedgies out of their sexy bottom cracks.
And I'm tired. I'm tired of "winning" and "losing" and I'm tired of dragon fighting and I'm tired of outrage and I'm tired of a world in which I can't get a fucking chicken sandwich without punching a trans person in whatever genitals they have that are none of my business.
I'm also convinced, and I talked about it some in that last link, that at least some of this is a shiny thing dangled before us to distract us away from the more fundamental problems of money and power.
The one time I had a shred of respect for Karl Rove was an interview I read in which he admitted that he didn't want Roe v. Wade overturned. Why? Because he knew it would do to the GOP what the Civil Rights Act did to the Democratic party: it would destroy them for at least a generation.
I didn't put a link in that last paragraph, because I can't find one, so I'm beginning to doubt my memory there. But look to history: In the first six years of the Bush administration, with unprecedented control over all three branches of government, they did precisely zippo to re-criminalize abortion, which they claim to be one of the party's flagship issues. Nothing. What does that tell you about priorities?
I'm tired of that corruption, and I'm tired of those who profit from "us" vs. "them". Surely I'm not the only one. And just as I cringe at the growing political tribalism of modern-day Christianity and rolled my eyes clean out of my head at the presumption in the phrase "I'm a Christian" that the Best Babysitter in the World offered up in response to the Chick-Fil-A thing, I can't quite bring myself to carve up my loved ones into those two buckets and toss the one labeled "Them".
Nor do I think the accelerating trend of politics-as-blockbuster-movie is going to end well for any of us. Surely there must be some other way. Preferably one that no longer necessitates "Hide" buttons for anyone.
Hey, maybe this is a start.