Meanwhile, back in the real world …

December 4, 2015 § 26 Comments

I am amazed at the passionate anger and ugliness on the Internet, especially on antisocial media platforms like Facegag, where people who are nominally “friends,” and who supposedly congregate to behave like friends, rip each other to pieces.

One reason I’m amazed is that two years ago you couldn’t have found an angrier, more rabid thread-war fomenting sumbitch than me. But like lots of awful addictions, once I got off the hate train all I can do now is shake my head.

Do people really think they’re a force for good or a force for change because they have strong opinions?

Do people really enjoy going to bed at night with their head throbbing from all the crazy talk unleashed by people they actually know in person, not to mention complete strangers?

My suspicion is that with a few exceptions, people don’t enjoy it at all, but they respond because somehow they think they’ve been attacked, and whereas in real life the attack would be muted or indirect or would occur in the context of a discussion, on the ‘Bag it’s all blunt force trauma.

“You think guns are good? Oh yeah? Well, I belong to the Brady Campaign, so fuck you!”

Etc.

But beyond the head-splitting inanity of people who want to talk about terrorism and can’t locate Syria on a map, beyond the discussion of constitutional rights by people who’ve never read the Constitution, and beyond the fog of nastiness that trails antisocial media like a hot, wet fart that refuses to leave the room, there’s some good and very happy, very social media news to report.

My bicycle falling off incident has revealed a lot of things, many of which are thanks to social media.

  1. I know people who are suffering from Stage 4 cancer, who’ve lost limbs, or who have been permanently prevented from ever cycling again due to, well, life. Those people are without exception good people, not because they’ve been hurt, but because they’ve used social media to teach me how to deal with my lesser, insignificant problems. Mark, Brenda, and those of you who’ve overcome like Cheryl, thank you.
  2. It doesn’t take much to make someone feel good.
  3. Thank you Kristie for the cheesecake, cupcakes, and cookies. Thank you Smasher for helping me eat them.
  4. Thank you Chris for the homemade chocolate chip cookies with walnuts.
  5. Thank you Derek and Jami for swinging by to chat, and an especial thanks for encouraging me to make an appointment with one of those, you know, doctor people.
  6. Thank you Marc for the bedside visit and the book.
  7. Thank you Michelle for the bike mags, the NYT/London Review of Books, and the giant ice bag.
  8. Thank you Gus for the bar tape and for the ridiculous kindness of swinging by and paying Boozy P. for my bike repairs–on the condition that he not turn over the bike until I’m completely healed.
  9. Thank you Dan, Greg, and Big Orange for the Crash Fund-funded hi-viz orange replacement helmet. My membership has already paid for itself.
  10. Thank you Dan for the mixer and encouraging me to get out and socialize. It’s still the only time I’ve been outdoors since 11/21.
  11. Thank you Robert for offering leather-seated Uber services next Saturday.
  12. Thank you Aaron and Jay for the hilarious text messages. If laughter really were the best medicine I’d be healed by now.
  13. Thank you Josh for the calls, messages, photos, encouragement, and technical discussions of how to use my giant crescent wrench.
  14. Thank you Major Bob for planning the drive-by coffee dropoff later this morning!
  15. Thank you Barbara for the referral to America’s best doctor and his gentle explanation that, yes, an MRI will help.
  16. Thank you Michael for continually checking in.
  17. Thank you Ringoro for letting me hold you and sing you to sleep.
  18. Thank you Yasuko for quietly picking up the slack, caring for me, and never reproaching, complaining, or suggesting that it’s “time onna eBay that bikecycle.”
  19. Thank you Casey for offering to squeeze me in early for an appointment.
  20. Thank you Woodrow for always being ready to grab things I can’t reach, fetch books and whatnot, and humming all those great Woody Guthrie tunes.

See?

Facebag to the contrary, there’s a lot of good out there in the world!

END

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§ 26 Responses to Meanwhile, back in the real world …

  • Brian in VA says:

    Great example of your paying it forward now paying it back. I’ve never met you, only know you through your writing, and I can tell what a good person you are; I’m extremely glad that others see it, too.

    Is giant crescent wrench analogous to something?

    I continue to send healing thoughts when I read your posts, Seth. Heal up, good sir!

    • fsethd says:

      Nope. I actually have a giant crescent wrench. It’s monstrously huge. Only Smasher knows what it’s for or how to use it. I just use it as an item to keep my toolbox from blowing away.

      • Brian in VA says:

        As a woodworker and former amateur mechanic, I have many tools but I don’t have a giant crescent wrench. I will go buy one this weekend.

      • fsethd says:

        This one is especially prized because it’s a Snap-On. I think it cost $400. Naturally, it’s never been used. Hmmm … blog post there somewhere?

  • Tom Paterson says:

    Tom likes Seth’s post.

    Sharing on Seth’s Timeline:

  • Joe C says:

    So you really went to a doctor? Good for you!

    • fsethd says:

      Appointment is on Monday. I think he’s a doctor. His name is Doctor Dre. Not sure of his specialty but for now a general practitioner is probably enough to get started with.

  • A-Trav says:

    You should go see my doctor: Dr. Kush. Don’t be put off by the Led Zep t-shirt and the BigGulp cup on his desk. This dude has all the answers.

  • Winemaker says:

    As Jimi used to say….”Right on Brother…play on, drummer…”

  • kimann says:

    That was a good read. Thanks. One of the healthiest things I did in 2015 was get off FB.

    • fsethd says:

      I can’t get off completely, but I limit myself and I don’t (usually) contribute to things where my opinions will only inflame and anger … which is everything.

  • Kris says:

    Communication by its very nature is full of opinion and people by their very nature are very opinionated. And this becomes even more apparent when you get to know them and vice versa. FB just accelerates this process…..and thats just my, well, opinion

    “Talk talk talk, it’s only talk
    Comments, cliches, commentary, controversy
    Chatter, chit-chat, chit-chat, chit-chat,
    Conversation, contradiction, criticism
    It’s only talk
    Cheap talk”

    “Elephant Talk” – King Crimson

    • fsethd says:

      True. But. I regularly watch the debates and discussions on France 24 television, and they are incredibly civil even when the opinions are diametrically opposed. I also watch coverage of major events in Germany, and the wild yelling and screaming we associate with “debate” here is not immediately apparent in those mass media.

      Talk and discussion have high value and are the only recourse we have to war, but for the discourse to work there has to be skin in the game. People have to engage with people who they’re hesitant to completely alienate or anger, and people have to be able to press an argument without going all the way, i.e. there have to be built-in reserves for respect, or at least an agreement to disagree.

      This “skin in the game” approach is called diplomacy, and antisocial media are the opposite of that. We ramrod our positions as forcefully as we can, and empty the cans of gasoline on it if there’s time. The effect is estrangement and strangeness, disembodied passions held by 0’s and 1’s that can be deleted, blocked, or ignored at will. Whatever it is, it’s not conducive to the kind of language and circumstances that get to resolution of anything, and instead creates the “echo chamber” that we all dread but can’t escape from.

  • dangerstu says:

    The lost art of diplomacy, perhaps Zuckerburg realizes what he has done hence his big give away.

    Anyway glad you have maned up and are going to the docs.

  • Paul Thober says:

    Nice post, Seth, you have lots of good friends. Good luck with the Dr. sawbones.

    • fsethd says:

      They just don’t know me very well. Thanks–I’m hoping Dr. Billyfred can get lots of r’s done.

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