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One and all look! You can get your tiny tot a cute little outfit promoting Farmville!
Anyone that would buy their infant an “online farmer” onesie should buy themselves the infamous hat:
It is a pretty sad case when people start sporting their vices in bright colors on apparel.
Another Facebook addict product is this one:
This is pitiful. Jest sayin’.
(Source: http://www.zazzle.com/online_farmer_green_tractor_tshirt-235031941506485279 and http://www.zazzle.com/facebook_addict_hat-148619359426783766 and http://www.zazzle.com/i_can_quit_farmville_facebook_addict_keychain-146973476334000107)
A few days ago over at Text Patterns, Alan Jacobs offered this interesting excerpt from an article by Jed Perl:
“Writing, before it is anything else, is a way of clarifying one’s thoughts. This is obviously true of forms such as the diary, which are inherently solitary. But even those of us who write for publication can conclude, once we have clarified certain thoughts, that these thoughts are not especially valuable, or are not entirely convincing, or perhaps are simply not thoughts we want to share with others, at least not now. For many of us who love the act of writing — even when we are writing against a deadline with an editor waiting for the copy — there is something monastic about the process, a confrontation with one’s thoughts that has a value apart from the proximity or even perhaps the desirability of any other reader. I believe that most writing worth reading is the product, at least to some degree, of this extraordinarily intimate confrontation between the disorderly impressions in the writer’s mind and the more or less orderly procession of words that the writer manages to produce on the page. . . .
I am not saying that writers need to be or ought to be isolated, either from other writers or from the reading public at large. But writers must to some degree believe that they are alone with their own words. And writers who are alone with their words will quite naturally, from time to time, conclude that some of those words should remain private. This needs to be emphasized right now, when so few people in the publishing industry understand why anything that has been written, and especially written by a well-known author, should not be published, and not published with the widest possible readership in mind.
. . . What I fear is that many readers are coming to believe that a writer who holds something back from publication is somehow acting unnaturally. Nobody understands the extent to which, even for the widely acclaimed author with ready access to publication, the process of writing can sometimes necessitate a rejection or at least an avoidance of one’s own readers. That silence is a part of writing — that the work of this day or this week or even this year might for good reason be withheld — is becoming harder and harder to comprehend.”
Mr. Jacobs added: “The dominance in our culture of social networking, especially but not only Facebook, intensifies this problematic situation. Shyness and introversion, as a search for either of those words on Amazon.com will show you, are regularly seen as pathologies; Eric Schmidt thinks that if you don’t want Google to know everything about you you must have something discreditable to hide; Mark Zuckerberg believes, or says he believes, that the exposure of your life on Facebook promotes honesty and integrity. Clearly there are people who would like to see a social stigma attached to a concern for privacy: will they succeed in making it happen?”
Quotes from G.K. Chesterton that make me think of Facebook and/or culture and technology in general:
FACEBOOKERS ARE POSSESSED…“Dual personality is not so very far from diabolic possession.”
QUITE TRUE… “This weakness in civilization is best described by saying that it cares more for science than for truth.”
WHAT FACEBOOK DOES TO A PERSON… “What does seem to me to have slackened or weakened is not so much the connection between a conscience and conduct clearly approved by consience, as the connection between any two ideas that could enable anybody to see anything clearly at all.”
ONLY DEAD PEOPLE USE FACEBOOK….“A dead thing can go with the stream, but a living thing can go against it.”
COULD HE HAVE BEEN LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE FACEBOOK GENERATION?… “I believe a new and enormous number of people now have no opinions at all.”
WHY I STILL USE A PEN AND PAPER… “I was very tolerant of the idea of being behind the times, having had long opportunities of studying the perfectly ghastly people who were abreast of the times; or the still more pestilent people who were in advance of the times.”
I THINK I’VE USED THIS FANTASTIC ONE BEFORE…“Civilization is not to be judged by the rapidity of communication, but by the value of what is communicated.”
Am I being too harsh on those who use Facebook? I don’t think so.
My feelings on Facebook in five little words: Transformer of People Into Puppets.
My feelings on Facebook in four little words: Slaughterer of Civilized Things.
My feelings on Facebook in three little words: Waste of Time.
My feelings on Facebook in two little words: Encyclopedic Ignorance.
My feelings on Facebook in one little word: Rubbish. Or Pitiful. Or Demonic. Certainly Deadening.
The times, they are a’ changin’, as Mr. Dylan noted not so very long ago. Speaking of Dylan, I simply must share with you a portion of a May article by Nicholas Carr. You may think his example a stretch of the imagination, but I am not so sure. It’s a strange world I was born into. First Mr. Carr quotes a Dylan lyric: “You’re invisible now, you’ve got no secrets to conceal.” Then he quotes a particularly stupid remark of Mark Zuckerberg: “You have one identity … Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! I cackle like the Wicked Witch of the West at that gem of a remark from the founder of Facebook, that social networking site where everyone’s online profile is a sterling replica of their dear true self… NOT. Anyhow, I will let Mr. Carr speak for himself about that quote:
This is, at the obvious level, a clever and cynical ploy to recast the debate about Facebook’s ongoing efforts to chip away at its members’ privacy safeguards. Facebook, Zuckerberg implies, isn’t compromising your privacy by selling personal data to corporations; it is making you a better person. By forcing you, through its imposition of what it calls “radical transparency,” to have “one identity,” it is also imposing integrity on you. We should all be grateful that we have Zuck to act as our personal character trainer, I guess.
Zuckerberg’s self-servingly cavalier attitude toward other people’s privacy has provoked a firestorm of criticism over the last couple of weeks. Whether or not a critical mass of Facebook members actually care enough about online privacy to force Facebook to fundamentally shift its policies remains to be seen. Up to now, as I’ve pointed out in the past, Facebook’s strategy for turning identity into a commodity has consisted of taking two steps forward and then, when confronted with public resistance, apologizing profusely before taking one step back. I suspect that’s what will happen again – and again, and again.
But that’s not the subject of this post. Zuckerberg’s “one identity” proclamation reminded me of something I heard Jaron Lanier say in a recent lecture. He was talking about the way that Facebook, and other social networking sites, serves as a permanent public record of our lives. That’s great in a lot of ways – it gives us new ways to express ourselves, socialize, cement and maintain friendships. But there’s a dark side, too. Lanier pointed to the example of Bob Dylan. After growing up, as Robert Zimmerman, in Hibbing, Minnesota, Dylan shucked off his youthful identity, like a caterpillar in a chrysalis, and turned himself into the mysterious young troubador Bob Dylan in New York City. It was a great act of self-reinvention, a necessary first step in a career of enormous artistic achievement. Indeed, it’s impossible to imagine the kid Zimmerman becoming the artist Dylan without that clean break from the past, without, as Zuckerberg would see it, the exercise of a profound lack of “integrity.”
Imagine, Lanier said, a young Zimmerman trying to turn himself into Dylan today. Forget it. He would be trailing his online identity – his “one identity” – all the way from Hibbing to Manhattan. “There’s that goofy Zimmerman kid from Minnesota,” would be the recurring word on the street in Greenwich Village. The caterpillar Zimmerman, locked into his early identity by myriad indelible photos, messages, profiles, friends, and “likes” plastered across the Web, would remain the caterpillar Zimmerman. Forever.
More insidious than Facebook’s data lock-in is its identity lock-in. The invisibility that Dylan describes at the end of “Like a Rolling Stone,” where you’re free of your secrets, of your past life, is a necessary precondition for personal reinvention. As Robert Zimmerman traveled from Hibbing to New York, he first became invisible – and then he became Bob Dylan. In the future, such acts of transformation may well become impossible. Facebook saddles the young with what Zuckerberg calls “one identity.” You can never escape your past. The frontier of invisibility is replaced by the cage of transparency.
Today, Facebook has over 500 million users. Not having it is compared to not having Microsoft Word. You Radical, you! This is what Facebookers cry about us. They think we are Radicals, with a big R. But we are not. We are not phony self-named Reformers, pointing fingers at a particular thing because we want attention. Nay, we are sane individuals who hate oppression and love the beauty of living. We are the sane ones, and we shall remain sane if the rest of the world falls off the edge or not. No matter how many or few of us there are, we will be the sane ones who have kept our heads. Far be it from me to say “ah shucks, might as well ditch my principles too and enjoy the flow of the current.” Nay indeed. I think of that significant man, Winston Churchill, and one of the many memorable things he said:
“Never give in. Never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
I, S. J. Buckner, concur. And I will continue concurring and persist in my refusal to succumb to Facebook and other oppressive things as long as I keep my head. Which I hope will be for a long time. And if we don’t have any Bob Dylans in the future, we can attribute the fact to Facebook.