Today we wake up in a world that seems harsher in the first light.
But my reason for feeling that way, as opposed to why I should feel that way, is in conflict. Let me explain; I have to encounter the facts of the Newtown CT tragedy through social media, and though it isn’t the first time something bad has happened and been over tweeted about, this surely is the straw that breaks my back. Good lord people, I know many of my Facebook friends well and many of them as acquaintances and I can say with some confidence that most of them aren’t deep enough to be making the political commentary that is now assaulting my brain. Eight years ago most people in my age range weren’t getting off their asses to even vote and thought that the most relevant topic of conversation was “should we cook the pot directly into our brownies or do we make it into butter so we can just spread it on everything?” (the answer is butter by the way… it’s delicious and you can just use that for the brownies).
Look, I have no problem with my friends posting about hugging their children a little tighter or sending out virtual thoughts and prayers (God does in fact scroll his news feed daily so keep it coming). I think we all should be sad about what happened, it’s scary and upsetting. But when we turn this into a major event and an opportunity to yell at each other about political issues we only glorify and infamize the shooter as well as fuel more hatred. Is it not enough to just ACTUALLY hug your children tighter anymore? If someone hasn’t posted it for the world to see do they worry that Children’s Services will question their parenting and take their children? It’s not as if, if they don’t post it I may think they are a heartless, uncaring parent; I thought they were an asshole in high school and I assume they are mediocre at parenting now and since I don’t want their rascals I go on with my day not bothering myself with how they raise them. Don’t worry, the 900 photos the parents posted just in the first year of their lives tells me that at the very least they aren’t leaving them alone in a crib with no food, it was documented several times that they had oatmeal on their face and that’s all I need.
Gun control, gun safety, mental health, blah blah blah blah blah. People are posting about this on the same site that I saw drunken photos of them squatting in an oversized poinsettia on. What’s more is that when I read this bunk in the form of my news feed it suddenly makes my friends who say things like, “It’s Friday BIOTCHEZ!” seem insensitive or clueless. They are not the ones I’m irritated with here. They at least have the good sense to know the depths of what they can reasonably post. I appreciate the clever new spelling of the word bitches, or at least the knowledge that maybe I should skip their name on the next invite to my scrabble game nights. Yet as out of place as their self satisfying, meaningless post may seem post-school shooting, I like it more than the hundreds of people who are inadvertently making me feel like if I post anything it has to be about Newtown CT.
What ends up happening is that everyone floods social websites with what they think about a current event and thus, I can no longer bear any mention of it in my day to day life. At least when it’s sports or entertainment related the worst that happens is that I no longer care about Kevin Youkilis or Lindsay Lohan; but when we over publicize and over saturate the media with something like a school shooting we not only give attention and thus power to the evils behind it, but we also make ourselves numb. When I hear about a shooting I am horrified but something has changed over the years… I’m no longer shocked. We see so much of this in our nightly news, and this is not my way of blaming the world we live in for having so much hate, I’m blaming the media here for turning it into a spectacle.
I had a comedy show last night. When I was about to leave my house I wanted to post about it because I had spent some time crying, watching a little news and calling my mother because of the tragedy and now I wanted to make my night about something brighter. I wanted to define the remainder of my day by making others laugh about jews and farting.
Does this make me insensitive? Surely now I’m a monster because if we could just reach one billion posts about this event then we gain the super power to turn back time and fix it. I am perfectly aware that our legislators and elected officials make their decisions based on mass Facebook posts because to have an account on the site one must first pass a rigorous exam testing your political knowledge, math skills and judgement on which “lol cat” photo is most socially relevant. I am also aware that twitter is like one great big round table filled with experts, world leaders and Snooki from Jersey Shore. Thanks to these social tools at our disposal we can now touch lives internationally, and believe me, the cousin you never met who lives in Belgium is relieved to discover that you are one of the few world citizens with a heart because you posted about the devastation guns can cause and the lack of safety in our schools. I expect that tomorrow you will be volunteering your time down at the police station brainstorming security ideas in your local public school. They need you over there… you’re the expert.
Sure, let’s make schools safer! BRILLIANT! While we are at it have you heard how dangerous movie theaters are becoming? We should funnel some tax dollars into locking that s#!% down too. I’ve also learned in the past year that places of worship are basically as secure as a cardboard box on the streets of Detroit, so we should rally at our local town hall until they agree to add metal detectors and flying guard monkeys at each establishment. If we thought Newtown CT, Aurora CO and Oak Creek WI were safe, small towns, we were wrong. Actually, on May 30 of this year a man opened fire and killed 5 people at a coffee shop in Seattle… I always knew those hipster cities should fortify their Starbucks, we know that coffee makes people crazy and we do nothing about it. Ban coffee and pay the cops overtime to stand guard over the baristas, we need to get this under control.
So please, understand that I sympathize and share in the mourning we all feel on this cold Saturday morning, I just also probably unsubscribed from about 200 online posts. I will not resubscribe until everyone goes back to writing things more on their level… like who should win the Nickelodeon Teen Choice Award for hunkiest vampire or how soon their Domino’s Pizza will arrive based on the internet order tracker.
(For a very clear and well done video that makes some of these points I urge you to watch this)