Monday, February 15, 2010

Facebook Fail

Last week I did something I swore I’d never do, right on the heels of getting that cell phone I swore I’d never get, but once again I disappointed myself and joined Facebook. Already I’m frustrated and trying hard to figure out what to do because I’m getting friend requests from people I don’t consider my friends, like my boss’ boss’ boss (seriously?), and a warning from Bri about the most irritating patron ever who friended her and will likely come after me if she knows I have an account. Bloody hell no! And since I have working relationships with these people, what’s the polite way of saying, “Dude, I don’t want to be your friend. I don’t want you knowing even the most irrelevant, superficial things about me. And I really don’t want you knowing who my friends are so you can voyeuristically keep an eye on them too.” How do you say that to people you don’t want to friend?

I think about this shit too much, I know. To me the word “friend” still means something, and I’m not collecting as many of them as possible, not in the real world and certainly not in a fake one I don’t plan to spend much time in. And more than anything, I want my Facebook anonymity back so that I don’t have to “friend” someone and block them from everything in my account. What IS the point?

Anyway, there is something else bothering me that I found on Facebook, something that’s been bothering me for many years and I just shake my head and walk away from the debate because it’s so nonsensical to me that it boggles my mind. One of my real friends, who also happens to be a friend on Facebook, joined a group supporting gay marriage, and another real friend, who also happens to be a friend on Facebook, joined a group opposed to gay marriage, and it makes me scratch my head that I can manage to be such close friends with both.

Here’s what boggles my mind: we’re debating the rights of gays to marry. And it’s such a heated debate that it’s polarized people into joining one group or another to announce their side of the fight.

After taking a few deep breaths, I beg the question: why? Why is this an issue? Why does anyone care if gays marry at all? Why do we even recognize gay couples as being different? Why is it a legal matter? Why is it a political matter? Why do we join groups on a social networking website and announce proudly to the world who we think should be allowed to marry? Why is there such a thing at all as the phrase “gay marriage”? People are people, people!

Here is how this sounds in my head.

I’m against fat marriage. Adam and Eve weren’t fat, the bible doesn’t specifically state that people should be fat and marry and have kids, so therefore it’s blasphemous. Fat people shouldn’t marry. If fat people were to get married, that would send a message that it’s okay to be fat, and clearly that goes against the way we were intended to be. Fat people get diseases and don’t live as long. You don’t see fat animals in nature. We’re not born fat – it’s a choice! Our ancestors weren’t fat. Fat is abhorrent. If fat people got married, they’d want to be parents and have children, and we all know that fat people can’t be good parents or role models. Their kids would turn out fat for sure and it would create more fat people in the world. And how would those kids feel growing up, having to explain to their friends that their parents are fat. They’d be made fun of, other kids would say that they’re going to grow up to be fat, and skinny parents wouldn’t let their kids play with the children of fat parents because fatness is contagious. Don’t get me wrong, I have fat friends, but I’m certainly not going to some fat wedding with all their fat friends and family, because you just know that people are going to be talking about nothing but food, and eating more than I can stand to watch, and while I like my fat friends, I don’t want to support that lifestyle in any way. Isn’t it enough that there are fat bars in the world, where fat people can go and be themselves? What more do they want? Next thing you know, all ceremonies will be fat-friendly and we’ll have fat marriage, fat divorce, fat funerals, fat christenings, and with the way things are going, one day we’ll have a fat president. OHDEARGOD, can you just imagine? Now, it’s forgivable for some to experiment with fatness, I suppose. Many folks put on those freshmen 15 pounds and dabbled in being chubby for a bit, but they realized it wasn’t them and they went back to their normal, natural weight. College is time of experimentation, I understand, but then you grow up. It’s just not right. I’m not going to vote for anyone who supports fat rights and if I ever find out my kids are fat, I’ll disown them.

As much as I’d like to put up a big banner and announce to the world that I support gay rights, I’d feel like I’m entering into battle of idiocy. This should not be an issue that divides us. It doesn’t even make sense to me. I understand that we need to make strides (likely slow ones) that aim toward a more equal society, but like other wars going on, I just don’t want to enter into this war that shouldn’t even be a war to begin with.

One day I hope that common sense will prevail. One day I hope that we’re not on one side or the other for civil rights of any group discriminated against in society. Because while it seemed amusing to read my fat marriage rant, substitute any other section of society for “fat”, like “black” or “Jewish” or anything else, and see how funny is sounds when you have people on Facebook arguing for or against a black couple’s rights to marry and have a family. I’m ashamed to be alive during a time when this is a hot topic.

Leave it to Facebook to make it possible to pretend to be friends with hundreds of people you would have nothing to do with in real life, all the while encouraging us into factions of warring social groups. It’s not a network, it’s a breakdown.

For the time being, I’ll stay a member and I’ll talk about my purple hair, post some pictures of burros poking heads into my car, whatever superfluous, ridiculous, unassuming things might pop into my head, and try hard to ignore it when people want to participate in division, fan the flames of a fire that shouldn’t even be lit, and I’ll just ignore the people who have no business on earth thinking we should be friends, even though that’s divisive itself. Sigh…what a terrible position Facebook puts me in.


Cat. said...

Facebook didn't create mean, stupid people. Mean, stupid people use Facebook, just like they do everything else, to make the world in their image. (Godlike much?)

I've just emailed you. Friend me, please? :-)

Manda said...

I had a 'friend' delete me over the Christmas v. Holiday thing. Ugh...really people! At least it wasn't a real-life friend, just someone I only had online dealings with (i.e, Farmville or some other game).

For me, my geographical area has a lot do to with my diversity of friends. I live in a southern state, rural farming areas abound, and Republicans thrive here politically. I tend to disagree with a lot of my friends, but for the most part I just ignore what groups they join and so forth. I practice what I did when working at my library: don't talk politics or religion. Period. Saves a lot of trouble in the long run to keep my mouth shut.

Leelu said...

1. That's exactly why I don't use FaceSpace, in spite of all my (actual) friends trying to make me do so.

2. I've long supported the abolition of marriage, period. Get rid of the buzzword, and grant everyone civil unions.

2a. I'm also in favor of voluntary polygamy (consenting adults can get up to whatever it is they choose), which means that everybody would have to enter a union with everybody else. You wouldn't, for example, have one man with two wives, you'd have one man with two wives and two women with a wife and a husband apiece.

ChiLibrarian said...

I'll never join Facebook because if I die a horrific death, or finally snap in a most public and gruesome way, I don't want the news media looking at my page as a "source." I hate it when they do that.

Anonymous said...

Facebook was the means by which I was able to re-connect with my brother who dropped off the planet a decade ago, and I am grateful for that. 'Friend' has been a nebulous terms since the '70's or 80's and I have patrons who consider me a friend just for doing my job. It's sad since I may respect them, knock myself out to help them, but we're not having lunch together any time soon.

PS Do not care who marries whom but Javier is off limits to any polygamous, human relationships, OK?

Travelin' Tracy said...

Just don't friend them. There is nothing wrong with not accepting it. I have had students ask to friend me and I just decline. I don't give an explanation, even though I have one. I have also done this for people I don't even know...if they really are not your friend, then don't worry. I'm sure they will get over it in two seconds anyways, since they probably friend three or four people a day...

Stephanie said...

What Tracy said - there are tons of people that I just ignore their friend requests. There are also people I friend, but then block them from reading my notes.

And as far as polarizing issues - yeah... I've had friends post stuff that makes me cringe, and I just try to ignore it. Sometimes it's not that great to be privy to everyone's innermost thoughts.