Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Don't Believe Everything You See on Facebook, Issue #1

Oh, how I'd love to get behind this one, if not for the fact that the person who put it together was obviously stoned (in light of this, who knows if the facts are even correct?). Bad spelling, awful grammar, and terrible punctuation. This is an online nightmare. What's most amazing is that marijuana is spelled correctly not once, but twice! Anytime these little placards fail to get the basics right, I loathe them even if I agree with the message. Don't encourage bad writers to keep doing this stuff by passing their handiwork around! 

This one I totally agree with in sentiment, but the way it’s put together rather kills the whole point, because it’s an apples vs. oranges comparison. There’s no question that women are sold a “look” these days that’s unhealthy to attempt to reach and certainly to maintain. Necrophiliacs aside, few would find the top row attractive, which is why, on the surface, this works. But those pictures are stalkery, paparazzi-type shots.* Those women did not choose to be photographed in those positions, in those moments. They aren’t meant to be seen like this. This is seriously trying to convince me that Keira Knightly isn’t a bangable babe, yet I know better, because I’ve, like, watched her movies. With proper lighting and camera angles, they look fine, because that’s the business they’re in. The real problem is that everyone thinks they have to look like a movie star or a model these days to be considered attractive.

Conversely, the photos on the bottom row are clearly shot by professional photographers under ideal circumstances, so of course they’re more pleasing to ogle. It’s got nothing to do with the fact that they’re rubenesque or curvy or whatever term you want to use to describe them. I’m sure there was a surplus of moments in Marilyn Monroe’s life in which she looked like utter hell – it’s just that the paparazzi didn’t exist back then (at least not in the way they do today) to capture those looks. There also wasn’t much of an audience for that sort of gawking back then. People enjoyed believing the illusion of beauty more, I think, so they weren't so quick to tear it down. The top row of photos exists only because there’s now a public desire to drag our fantasy icons down to our level so we might feel better about ourselves, especially if it means making an actress like Kirsten Dunst look bad in the process. It needn’t exist if we simply recognize that we live in reality, and these people present us with illusion, and ne’er shall the two meet.   

*Or at least three of them are – who knows what that stupid bitch Heidi is up to? That girl could be photographed taking a massive dump and she’d be elated that someone was interested in what she was doing.

Folks still use the whole “let’s compare those who disagree with us to Hitler” tactic! It'd be amazing if it weren't so silly. This was huge a year or two ago with Obama, which showed how out of ideas his opponents really were. Indeed, stooping to the level of comparing the opposition to Hitler means you've lost your argument. Yeah, whoever put this doozy together is comparing the pro-choice movement to Adolph Hitler, and they have the gall to back it up with a quote from Dr. King. Because Hitler molested kitty cats and puppy dogs and King shit rose petals everywhere he went. This is a perfect quote for these people to use to try to get their point across, because it ignores all the variables in between their black and white view of the world. They’re welcome to it. It’s less offensive than it is predictable and boring, which is pretty much how I see rabid pro-lifers at this point. For those who are interested in the text these words came from (which of course had nothing to do with abortion), you can find it here, in King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

This is one of the most unnerving bits I’ve seen on Facebook. Look closely at the photo. Study it for a bit. See it? Hint: It’s almost dead center.

Most people freak out over this. I'll admit it: I did, too. But why? It's not the fucking Ring 3. So there’s a black girl hiding between two Asian girls, and she managed to get into the shot. My reaction to this photo makes me feel incredibly racist. The only reason it’s at all scary is because she’s dark. Honestly, I don’t know what else there is to say, except that this photo should maybe be used as a litmus test to figure out how far we really haven’t come in the past 100 years as a society. Does it freak out black folks, too? If it does, is it then fine?


Speaking of being freaked out by black folks, this is problematic on several levels, but mostly it's grounded in no version of reality that any thinking person will acknowledge exists. To wit, I also don’t believe anyone who dares to pass this around is thinking about what the message here is when they’re sharing it. This is the snarky, online equivalent of the ostrich burying its head in the sand. (Careful about how you laugh, lest you choke on the sand.)

What folks who insist on passing this sort of thing around don’t realize - whilst giggling amongst themselves at the “funny,” or even worse, actually believing that there’s any truth to it - is that it’s this attitude that could very probably lead to the end of their party. It lends them zero credibility and speaks to the one thing that’s going to be the undoing of the Republican party, and that’s that it no longer stands for anything. Republicans don’t appear to like anything, or even believe in anything anymore. All they know how to do is oppose, and unfortunately that just isn’t the reality of the world we live in any longer. It’s not enough to oppose; folks gotta be doers as well.

So if this photoshopped bit of nonsense really means anything at all, the rubble Obama is surveying is the wreckage of the Republican party itself. And that’s sad, because this country needs them. We need differing points of view – debate! - to keep the U.S. moving forward. But a debate cannot merely consist of, in the immortal words of Messrs. M. Python, “the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.” For it to work, it must be “a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.” It isn’t just saying “no it isn’t.”