Sunday, January 5, 2014

Facebook is like a Car... or Something

I have long aimed for more equanimity.  I want to be a person who let's things roll, man, lets it go. I find this especially difficult when I'm driving - tailgaters, drivers who don't turn their lights on in inclement weather or who turn on their blinkers as they're making a turn make me want to Cut A Bitch.

It's similarly difficult with stuff that annoys me online.  That stupid FB badge seems to exist independent of the human who posted it, kind of like how the car that cut me off seems to exist independent of the fully-realized individual operating it.  It's like the car and the person are one less-than-human irritation and that obvious Abraham Lincoln misquote with "you're" spelled wrong has subsumed the reality of the person with feelings who posted it when she was drunk.

I do not flip other drivers off or lean on my horn, though, no matter how irritated I am because I have trained myself to remember that there are Real People in the driver's seat.  And I do not go ALL CAPS when people post Facebook memes that make me bonkers because I have hurt people's feelings and gotten in rage wars on the Internet which are just depressing.

Still, much like drivers in Suburbans who can't parallel park set my teeth on edge, there are some things that popped up on Facebook multiple times this year that shutting up about has given me stress headaches.  Want to hear about them?  Here they go:

Thing The First: The Old Lady with the Plastic Bags at the Grocery Story
If you're on Facebook, I'm sure you've seen this posted about 4000 times over the year.  The short version of the story is that a cashier at a grocery store tells an old lady she's a total jerk for not bringing reusable bags to the grocery store.  Then the old lady totally schools the cashier by telling him that the old days were green on their own (reusable milk bottles, drying clothes on the line, etc).  I'm cool with the gist of this story.  Most of our environmental woes now are due to mod cons and rapacious over-consumption and the relentless corporatization of the world.

But this story hinges on the clerk being a total asshole to the old lady, with the easily inferred assumption that your reusable bags are bullshit, man.  I would wager that the Venn Diagram of People Who Bring Reuasble Bags to the Grocery Story and People Who Are Assholes to Old Ladies in Grocery Stores is two disparate circles.

I cannot tolerate a straw man argument.  It is the very height of lazy rhetoric. If you want to make an argument that we should embrace the old ways a little more, you can do it without inventing a dickhead Trader Joe's cashier.

Thing the Second: My Mom Smoked and I Played Unsupervised and That Makes Me Way More Badass than These Fucking Kids Now

I had really hoped my generation, which grew up under the wearying moral superiority of the Boomers, would have been done with the Hatin' On the Kids Today thing that is emblematic of every generation's introduction into middle age.  Alas, I was wrong.  This is a link to a blogpost that runs through the general thing.  But if you're on Facebook, you've seen it in a million different ways - we played outside unsupervised, our moms smoked while pregnant, and (my personal favorite) we rode in cars without seatbelts.  And this is why we are Made Of Awesome.

My only response to that is gonna be these charts on childhood mortality from the Dept. of Health and Human Services:

Apparently, all this crazy attention to safety has ended keeping a bunch of kids alive who will end up ruining America by being insufficiently awesome.

Thing the Third: If You Choose Not To Consume Meat You Are No Fun at Parties

This is from Buzzfeed (and is also cribbed from a joke made by a vegan comedian):

More than the other two, this is emblematic of something that shows up a lot:  the poster is annoyed by someone else's dietary choices and so posts something about how intolerant vegans/vegetarians are of meat-eater's dietary choices.  The old pot/kettle strawman again.  It is true that Morrissey or PETA show up in the intertubes a lot saying stupid things, but making the assumption that all vegans are Morrissey is equivalent to assuming that all meat eaters are Ted Nugent.  

Based on my own experience as having lived both as a meat eater and a vegetarian, the chances of having someone shit on your dietary choices are a lot higher for the vegetarian than they are for the meat eater because the veg is in the minority.  And if you choose to live your life as a vegan, I am here to tell you that you are actually badass, because that shit is HARD!   

If you enjoy meat, go eat a fucking hamburger, but if you assume your bacon consumption affords you moral superiority you have become the vegan you love to hate.

Bonus Thing: White People Stop Misquoting Bill Cosby

That thing you think Bill Cosby said he probably didn't say.  Also, if you are a white person, don't make grand sweeping statements about how black people need to improve themselves.  It is the very height of obnoxious.   

Well, this bout of bitching has left me feeling rather unencumbered, and wondering what the Irritating Facebook Memes of 2014 will be.