I feel truly surrounded by folks that seem quite…bent. You know how there’s a spoon in your kitchen drawer that you use for your bowl of cereal every morning. And then, there’s those spoons that are very kitschy and made into bracelet-shapes and sold at craft festivals. And then, there’s a spoon by your trash can in the alley that has been whacked or stepped on into a not-so-right angle and you walk by it and think, “Wow, that spoon is REALLY bent. It’s so bent that it is useless.” I have a lot of those kinds of super-bent spoons populating my social media feeds.
Is it just me or does everyone seem more and more batshit insane? Is the media doing this to us? Are we doing it to ourselves? Is it a combination of angst and apathy? Is it because of financial stress? The rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer? All the conspiracy theories, the suspicions, or even worse — the realities of today? Is it just everything coming down on all of us petulant, spoiled Americans?
I don’t know. I don’t have the answer to that. But I do know that I’ve been somewhat infected by the bent spoon disorder, as of late, myself. As I’m scrolling through social media (what I consider the modern day “town hall forum” with less moderation), I feel the need to comment on the statuses I both agree AND disagree with. I am truly COMPELLED. There are times when I’ve put off work I was in the middle of doing to put in my two-cents on a thread. I hear Madonna’s “Four Minutes” ( to Save the World) and bust on some poor sap’s status about buying a new canvas at Hobby Lobby like my whole life is devoted to delivering my very own gospel to them. I’m clicking away on my potato-chip-covered keyboard like I’m Madge in this very video, clad in black leather, hopping cars with J. Timberlake and using a dope beat to really make a change. DON’T YOU DARE BUY THAT POORLY MADE HOBBY LOBBY SIDETABLE THAT’S FOREVER ON SALE. I am not Madonna. And this is laughable. Laughable and true. Tick, tock, tick, tock.
Now, in truth, I’ll likely never shop at Hobby Lobby, again. I have to admit the last time I was there I bought a frame for my “6 months abortion free” certificate and it did fit the wall just perfectly. Just kidding. That was too much, wasn’t it? But really, that whole thing sucks for a lot of reasons, but that debacle isn’t what I’m here to tackle. I’m talking about people. People and how they react to things like the Hobby Lobby ruling. Including myself.
Yesterday, Jon (my love and a person far better at focusing on real work than the endless news cycle of utter bullshit) emerged from his office to see me clacking away. He tried to do what men do and enjoy a piss in the bathroom, but I started in before he even had a chance to shut the door. “I just can’t believe how people are reacting to this Hobby Lobby thing, how WOMEN are reacting!” I told him, waiting for him to put down the toilet lid and race to feverishly begin sewing me a Women’s Suffragette banner to wear on top of my mis-matched pajamas as I waged e-war on the couch.
“What’s happened now?” He asked, giving me exactly what I wanted – an opportunity to practice my stump speech on the topic that I would regurgitate digitally for the rest of the day.
Jon didn’t know what had happened with Hobby Lobby because he can focus on his work and look something like this:
And I look like this :
I went on and told Jon the deal, as I’d understood it, from multiple internet sources, both credible and questionable, but conveniently supporting my view – and he said
“What do you think you’re doing about this by getting all crazy commenting all over the internet?”
It slightly enraged me. I felt the tip of the “spoon” that I’m using as a metaphor for my inner spirit bend slightly at its end.
(An HONEST CONFESSION: As I type this blog post, like the true hypocrite I am, I am involved in a comment-back-and-forth with a woman named Holly Beth and I just lowered myself enough to suggest I would not argue with her anymore not only because she doesn’t understand how the Supreme Court works – but also because I don’t argue with people who “have no last names” - I need an intervention. And I’m sorry Holly Beth.)
Back to Jon. He came into the kitchen as I sat, semi-pouting. I’ll just go back to the internet, I thought, and talk to people who really care about these issues. People who really care about the world. Jon suggested we think about it from both sides. Heinous. He opened the refrigerator door, poured a glass of water. Looked out onto the lovely green grass in our yard through the sunny kitchen window. DOES HE NOT RESPECT ME AS A WOMAN? FOR GODS SAKE! We talked a bit more. I made points. He made points. We had a nice calm discussion. He agreed that ultimately the ruling is bad news for a lot of reasons, which is at it’s core, the basic principle I agree with. He then went back to work:
And I did, too. Doing my due diligence as Facebook Common Sense Navigator to the Masses.
The truth of all this is – while I have what I’d call a “touch” of this compulsive desire to conversate, argue, discuss, proliferate, chaw on , etc on political, religious and *other* threads on social media – there are other folks I observe that truly have lost their minds. I want to quell my psychosis now, before I am such a bent spoon that I can no longer feed myself.
In the last couple weeks, there have been several instances that inspired this post and that I’m also going to use as a device to make me seem much more logical and less insane:
“It’s the point in the United States where our individual rights need to be top priority. I don’t want the government to pave roads. I’ll pave my own damn road. You pave your road. If you can’t pave your road, then sit at home and die. Your family can’t afford to pave your road? Die.”
“ Women that kill their babies should be killed in the town square. And I would stand there and watch and support that. “ (said by a woman.)
“I don’t care wht Christian companies do in government bc I’m a Christian and I support all other Christians.”
“YOU GUYS ARE DRIVING ME INSANE. WHY CANT YOU JUST UNDERSTAND THAT ITS NONE OF YOURBUSINESS WHO I FUCK AND WHEN I FUCK THEM AND IF I WANT A BABY I CAN HAVE BECAUSE IM WOMAN AND I LOVE BEIN A WOMAN.”
“I tell u 1 thing. I know a few people who could solve this problem with a sawdoff.” ß I think this means “sawed off shotgun”
And scene. I understand why people get crazy. It’s a frustrating business – feeling passionate about politics, our rights as people, as women, as men, as minorities. Hell, it’s frustrating by itself- without the added dialogue that Facebook & Twitter bring us. When a huge news event happens, you can just go on your computer, refresh that newsfeed, and get a general idea of where your immediate social circle feels about it. It’s instantaneous gratification for a person like me who considers politics and social commentary their “sports” — but it’s also a quick pat on the ass and out the door on certain topics. The 24 hour news cycle is dizzying. The “pundit” is overworked on tv – how much can any person really say about a celebrity’s workout outfit without sounding like a total nob? – and we’ve all become arm-chair pundits ourselves.
When I was in college, I remember my professor talking about civic journalism - about how with the advent of technology – everyone would become a *sort-of* reporter. I remember several students in the class and I nimbly arguing how great that would be, partially because we naively already considered ourselves reporters because we were self-righteous and thought a few j-school classes made us qualified geniuses. I remember the professor explained this could go very badly. That there was no fact-checker assigned to the everyday person. No checks and balances. No concern for credibility. No further investigation in most cases also, beyond the immediate “scene” and “reporting” done by the average person. That professor was right. And I imagine she’s having this same conversation in classes today with snot-nosed kids who won’t quite get it until they realize they can’t just READ THE NEWS anymore. Or maybe that they’ve grown up in a world that only knew to swipe through that day’s issue with a thumb.
So as I sit here, contemplating what my place is in the social network, and what neighborhood of “crazy town” I reside in - I go back to Jon’s question –
What do YOU think you’re doing about this by getting all crazy commenting on the internet?”
I’ve thought a lot about this. It’s surprising how big of an answer it is. Commenting on the internet makes me feel…good. Like I’ve taken a stand. Like I was unafraid to say how I felt. Like I wasn’t just one of those Facebookers who only post happy pictures of kittens in baskets with bows and memes about their happy cowboy marriage when in reality- their husband bangs this one-armed bartender on the side and every last one of them kittens has the mange.
And I guess commenting on the internet makes me feel like in the big sea of opinions about a topic, I’m another point for my “team” – which is, now that I’m typing it, a silly thing to think when these are real, complex issue that often will never have a black and white, your team or mine, winner.
And mostly, if I don’t comment crazily on the internet, what can I do? That’s why I think Americans — at least – are becoming bent spoons. We don’t have some hippie crazy lady to bend us usefully into a bracelet and we’ve completely lost touch with where to get the milk, the cereal, or even the bowl for breakfast. Where do you get a plain old American-made spoon these days, anyway? I could come up with ideas that sound plausible (petitions, sit-ins, organizations ) but even that feels overwhelming. To be frank, I guess I feel most rewarded by being a crazy lady commenting on the internet, because I get a reaction. And maybe all of us just want a reaction. Isn’t it strange how in a time when communication is most seamless and available, we are using a method that removes our literal voice? Aren’t we all just yelling…um… silently?
It’s a tough thought. And I know blogs are supposed to take ideas and tie them up in a little bow at the end, but I still don’t know. I know I care. I know I want others to care. I just don’t know how to care today to make an impact. A real impact. I’m open to all other crazy facebook commentors who’d like to chime in and all suggestions.
- July 1 2014 1 Notes