Facebook and Twitter have turned our erudite minds into cocky doody! Once the floodgates opened for everyone on earth to emit short, quick outbursts onto a willing public (i.e., one another), the bar dropped to the ground, and even a diploma achieved for $45 online wasn’t needed to become an internationally known commentator. With two major venues for sharing one’s every brain bubble, we’ve become flooded with one another’s soup recipes, “comic observations,” and asterisked epithets, leaving us so numbed that our next comments will undoubtedly be even shorter and more shamelessly flaccid.
It’s not all stupefying, mind you. Like everyone else, I use social networking to promote my links, and I often get a healthy response from intelligent people who have a fetching sense of humor and/or something to say. I enjoy the give-and-take and think the whole game can be useful when it clicks (or when they click). I love my “friends” and “followers” for realz! But the dummos are really out there in force, and thanks to the bottomless freedom they now have to spout inanities, they seem way dumber than the usual dummos. Like monkeys with a keyboard—or Republicans with a Bible—they can’t stop banging out tripe just because they can, ranging from “duh” obviousness to “huh?” cluelessness with every new emission.
“So sad about Whitney” is a tweet that was barely worth the non-effort—and it’s still coming at me again and again!
“How could you complain about what Lagerfeld said?” came the righteous Facebook whines last week. “It’s free speech!” You answered your own question, dummo.
And just as bad is the opposite tack—the way Facebookers line up to celeb-bash with no sense of perspective or self-awareness. When I wrote about an actress who ill-advisedly said she’d chosen to be gay, one guy replied with: “How dare she fuel prejudice? She’s a fucking cunt!” Unwitting irony is queen on social-networking sites.
A lot of these people present themselves as above the law as they lobby accusations at big names who have wantonly misstepped. I’ll often join the fray as I go into knee-jerk diatribes about what a psycho Charlie Sheen is, how pompous Madonna comes off, and how Paula Deen should choke on her egg burger. I’m all for bringing celebs down a notch when they deserve it, but the armchair-antagonism gang banging can become a little bit wearying, and I sometimes start to wonder if maybe we all need to get fucked more.
Some great stories and ideas have been shared on Facebook, but sociopolitical issues don’t get much of a rise unless they happen to have a celebrity angle. Whenever I shoot out something about Occupy Wall Street, the response is generally as silent as I am when someone says “Please like my page.” I guess the crashing world economy is just not as interesting as pop-star paternity suits or Demi Moore’s whip-it problem.
And the sense of entitlement! If I post a link called “Guess Who Got Snubbed By the Oscar Nominations?” the first comment will invariably be something like “Meryl?” Oy! The person could have simply clicked to find out the answer, but they deemed it easier to sit back and type in a guess! Why do you think I’m posting this shit? For my health? And how slow would you have to be to think Meryl wouldn’t get a nomination anyway?
And what about all the “like me” crap? Has Sally Field taken over Facebook? Does extracting a viral thumbs-up really validate you before some higher power? Can I “suggest” that people please leave me alone about it?
It’s basically an ego boost from a stranger—a free hand job, as it were—the way someone “favoriting your tweet” gives you a quick but hollow rise. (“Nine people favorited my ‘I hate Citibank’ tweet! It’s going places!”) And so you post more and more tweets, hoping to get more and more retweets, which will nab you more and more followers. The only problem is, you can have 5 million followers, and that still doesn’t mean more than a dozen of them are necessarily reading your tweets! Most people only read other people’s tweets when they’re posting their own tweet and notice something provocative on the screen—maybe a tidbit involving a link to pictures of hot people doing naughty things. But of course they won’t retweet that because it’ll make them look as lowbrow as they really are.
Perhaps the weirdest thing about some Facebook and Twitter regulars is that they’re fully versed in cute expressions such as “lol” and wacky punctuation effects like “:),” but correct grammar poignantly seems to elude them. Even celebrities—or especially celebrities—use “your” instead of “you’re,” and the endless employment of lowercase letters and ellipses obviously attempts to camouflage the fact that they have no idea how to construct a complete sentence.
I’m not above any of this, mind you. I will resort to my old blog tricks of posting racy pictures, mocking anyone entitled, and even indulging in the dreaded “lol,” even when it isn’t the least bit appropriate. (“One of the Sweathogs from Welcome Back, Kotter just died. LOL.”)
I will go for the LCD, even if I have to put “vagina” in the title. (“Guess Whose Vagina Got Snubbed By the Oscar Nominations?”) And that’s my point! I used to be engagingly lowbrow, but suddenly, I’m below sewer level, my Ivy League days as hazy a memory as my tattered copy of the Proust CliffsNotes.
But WTF, I’ll shut up now. Truth be told, I’m having fun with it all, and besides, I need you to “like” me because your my friend. 🙂