“Well, on second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.” - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Holy Grail
We are living in the age of “Social Networking” - where zillions of “friends” can be called upon just by moving our fingers across a keyboard. Or by staring intently at a teeny-tiny phone screen and typing on that little keyboard, if your idea of social networking truly doesn’t mean connecting with anyone remotely human within 50 feet.
Because they are just yucky flesh and blood human beings, with zits, loud voices, bad taste in clothes and the bizarre insistence that we have actual conversations with them. Our virtual friends, our “real” friends, on the other hand, don’t mind if we throw cliche after cliche into a conversation; why not? They’ll mostly likely do the same.
In the past couple of weeks since my surgery (once again I have underestimated my body’s ability to spring back from such medical indignities) my visits to Facebook haven’t been as frequent as they have been in the past.
I wish I could say that I have been catching up on my reading, or even that I was getting some more work done on my next book, but mainly I have been rediscovering the joys of sleep.
And taking naps.
I took a walk to Hastings last week (we only live a few blocks away) and pent the rest of the day on the couch.
I have made a couple of forays into Facebook, but more and more, the observation of King Arthur from Monty Python and the Holy Grail goes through my head, when he speaks of Camelot:
“Well, on second thought, let’s not go there. It is a silly place.”
And that is what the once-Camelot of the Social Network has become - it has become a Silly Place.
I’m not talking about idiotic way in which the folks who own and operate Facebook treat the kingdom’s subjects in such a cavalier fashion, but about all-too-many Facebookians themselves, who for the most part have descended into a chaos of cliche, a land where thousands upon of words will be debated the over title of an article whose link has been posted - but rarely is time spent actually reading the articles in question.
When you stay away from Facebook for a time, even if only for a few days, one is struck on returning by how the same people seem to be arguing with the same people, hour after hour, day after day, week after week . . .
A land in which a quote from one of the Founding Fathers is considered a deadly shot across the bow, and one is expected to heave to, and lower one’s flag in surrender.
Folks write literally hundreds - if not thousands - of leaden words in response to a few sentences, and they fondly imagine that others actually read them all. Because there is some of Facebook law that requires us to read them, you see, or so those who madly attack their keyboards seem to believe.
Facebook has turned an entirely new legion of men into the Bully in the Bar, following the footsteps of Bill O’Reilly.
And the true magic of Facebook, I suppose, is that you can take a break to catch up on your beauty sleep, as I have, and when you return, the same combatants will be after each other, barely daring to take a breath, or go to the bathroom - or even go to work, as the case may be - in case their opponents steal a march on them, or (laughable thought!) manage to persuade others to their way of thinking.
And yet no one is persuaded, no one is convinced, no one ever says, “Hey, I never thought of things that way!”
Facebook is the ultimate proof of the cliche that some people really do open their mouths just to hear themselves talk.
Even though I have taken a semi-break from Facebook over the past couple of weeks, I’ll still retain my citizenship, and post comments when they occur to me. And even - though I should know better - probably eventually find myself caught up in some endless debate that goes nowhere, waged by folks who really aren’t all that interested in the views of others.
But as far as taking it seriously?
The old email listservs, which seem sadly out of fashion these days, are beginning to make a lot more sense than Facebook.
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