I did the thing that always makes me roll my eyes when someone else does it.
I made a vague threat to leave Facebook, knowing full well that I wouldn’t.
I want to say that I didn’t do this because I wanted a chorus of virtual wailing and gnashing of teeth along the lines of “omg lisa plz dont leave FB its not the same w/out u.” Because while it’s not, ostensibly, the reason I made this vague threat, the fact is that I DID do this because I wanted to believe, somehow, that it would prompt change in the behavior of others, and if someone just happened to throw in a “Hey, you know, I find you enormously entertaining and it would be a shame if you left Facebook because some people are being unmitigated tools,” I wouldn’t be overly upset.
Here’s what happened: I saw – for the I-don’t-know-how-manyth time – one of those slapdash factoid JPEGS that people post and repost because it’s easier than actually expressing their opinions in writing. You ALL know what I’m talking about, because you ALL do it, no matter where on the political spectrum you fall. I’VE done it, and have almost immediately felt quite filthy for having done it. So I really, really try not to.
And I also really, really try not to react when one of these things strikes me as particularly egregious, poorly-articulated, and/or an affront to common sense. But this morning, I was in a bad mood. It was cold as the rocks of Torneo’s hoary brow, I’d had a very horrible drinking dream just prior to waking up (I don’t have these often, but they scare the shit out of me every time I do), and I was looking for something else to be upset about. And I found it. On Facebook. Because Facebook is VERY good for that kind of transfer of emotional incompetence.
The current slapdash factoid JPEG that’s going around lists the last five mass shootings, and states that the shooters are/were registered Democrats. You know, because all Democrats want to take away your guns, but it’s Democrats that are going ballistic and killing people. Or something.
And I thought, “Now, I could rattle off the names of a dozen Republican legislators who’ve been charged with child molestation and say, ‘See? Republicans shouldn’t attempt to dictate morality because these Republicans did horrible things.’ But I don’t, because for one thing, it’s a stupid argument. I don’t because it’s faulty logic. Fallacious reasoning. No high school debate coach in the country would let that fly. Moreover, it’s a cheap shot, it’s dirty pool, and we all should be better than that.”
Evil is evil. Period. And contrary to what most of us believe at one time or another, evil has no political affliliation.
And so I posted some rant-y screed about this slapdash factoid JPEG, lamenting the lack of civil discourse and the hyper-partisan horrors of the current administration, and closing with some wrist-to-forehead whine about I’M LEAVING FACEBOOK SO CALL ME AND WE CAN HAVE COFFEE AND HAVE A REAL CONVERSATION BLAH BLAH BLAH.
Coombsie – always able to talk me off the ledge eventually – heard me sputtering at my laptop and gave me the straight dope: “You’re being one of THOSE people.”
“What do you mean – ‘THOSE people’?” I barked.
He stood in the bedroom doorway buttoning his sleeves. “I mean, the kind of person who gets all hysterical and threatens to leave Facebook every couple of months because other people are posting stupid shit and getting bent out of shape. You can’t get into politics on Facebook, Lees. Because what happens there is not real debate; it’s people posting stupid shit and getting bent out of shape.” He reached for his sweater. “Congress is operating exactly the way Congress has always operated.” He picked off a piece of lint. “Always WILL operate. But unlike Congress, nobody ever caves in and capitulates on Facebook. I keep telling you this: you can’t argue with people on Facebook.”
He’s so good at bursting my self-righteous indignation bubble. I hate him.
So, I’m not leaving Facebook. I get far too much pleasure from posting my brittle and blasé witticisms and waiting for everyone to tell me how brilliant I am.
If you’re prepared to argue your side (even if we’re ON the same side) intelligently and respectfully, I’m willing to listen, and I like to think that you’ll do likewise. But can we agree to stop posting the slapdash factoid JPEGs, particularly if they’re ugly and full of grammatical errors?
No? Carry on, then…I promise to keep my thoughts to myself.