June 19, 2019

Goodbye Facebook

Goodbye Facebook

I made a decision today that’s been a long time coming. I’m quitting Facebook.

It was not an easy decision, hence my hesitation and delay over the past couple of years. But last week the balance tipped, the straw broke the camel’s back, and I arrived at the end of my rope when Facebook was used by a white anti-immigrant terrorist to broadcast a live streamed video of mass murder in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The horror was designed specifically for an era that has married social media and racism — a massacre apparently motivated by white extremist hatred, streamed live on Facebook and calculated to go viral.

The shooting represented a staggering corruption of a form of communication, used innocently by millions, that promised to draw people together but has also helped pry them apart into warring camps. (Richard Pérez-Peña, New York Times)

I can no longer support or participate on a platform that is incapable of stopping the dissemination of such evil. And this is not the first occasion social media has been in the spotlight for its inability to police their platform, though it certainly marks a new and alarming low in graphic possibility.

Despite the horror of the New Zealand mass shooting spread through social media, it would be disingenuous for any social media outlet to describe it as unexpected. According to a 2017 BuzzFeed analysis, at least 45 instances of live-stream violence have occurred on Facebook Live since its debut in 2015. These include beatings, murders, rape and suicide. And just as the New Zealand gunman allegedly used social media to encourage more violence and spread racist propaganda, ISIS is far more sophisticated in its well-documented use of social media platforms as a successful tool of radicalization and recruitment. (Helen A.S. Popkin, Forbes)

So, amid privacy concerns, the propagation of fake news and misleading and deceptive content, the use of social media to unfairly influence political discourse and even elections, as well as the mind-boggling amount of sheer foolishness, narcissistic blather, and time-wasting distractions, now we are treated to the possibility that our eyes will not, cannot be shielded from gunmen with helmet cams mowing down people in cold blood.

I know, I know. This is not the whole story. There are many ways that I have benefited from social media. I have reconnected with old friends in meaningful ways. I keep up to date with my family. I get notified about events. I share and enjoy photography. I’ve been introduced to new articles, music, books, and products. I have had respectful discussions as well as fun banter with interesting people I don’t have the chance to engage face to face.

But something has to be done. And I cannot ignore this. One article described the Christchurch shooter as a person who “traveled the world, but lived on the internet.” Social media platforms like Facebook are responsible for providing refuge for people and groups like this who spread their hate and violence around the world.

I’ve decided to move out of the neighborhood.

It would be unfair to blame the internet for this. Motives are complex, lives are complicated, and we don’t yet know all the details about the shooting. Anti-Muslim violence is not an online phenomenon, and white nationalist hatred long predates 4Chan and Reddit.

But we do know that the design of internet platforms can create and reinforce extremist beliefs. Their recommendation algorithms often steer users toward edgier content, a loop that results in more time spent on the app, and more advertising revenue for the company. Their hate speech policies are weakly enforced. And their practices for removing graphic videos — like the ones that circulated on social media for hours after the Christchurch shooting, despite the companies’ attempts to remove them — are inconsistent at best. (Kevin Roose, New York Times)

• • •

Note from CM: This leaving will be a process. I currently administrate an IM Facebook Group that is designed to give people a chance to interact outside the blog. I am working on a way to keep that available for the many people who may not share the decision I’m making and who want to continue the forum. Stay posted.

Comments

  1. Pellicano Solitudinis says

    I want to say a brief word about Reddit, as Kevin Roose specifically mentions it.

    Yes, it can be an absolute cesspit; yes, some of the subreddits are breeding grounds for the worst kind of hatred. But the outpouring of love and support on the Australian and New Zealand subs over the weekend was immense. Those subs were kept clean, the moderators did their jobs well, and on the whole they were good places to be.

    Another point worth remembering is that some people have very little like-minded support or friendship available to them outside the Internet, especially if they live in an isolated place, have disabilities, or have unusual interests. The comments section of iMonk is social media, of a sort, and I’d be in a worse place without it.

    I

    • “Another point worth remembering is that some people have very little like-minded support or friendship available to them outside the Internet, especially if they live in an isolated place, have disabilities, or have unusual interests. The comments section of iMonk is social media, of a sort, and I’d be in a worse place without it.”

      Agreed. I know someone with disabilities who can get out of the house only with difficulty. She is very reliant on social media communities, mainly accessed through Facebook. for support and, yes, friendship.

      • I agree with this, and I hope no one read my post and thinks I am condemning all social media and failing to see that it has some remarkable benefits. This is my decision alone. It is meant to prompt discussion, not persuade others to follow me.

  2. Ah yes. The desire to have violence nicely curated into sanitized and compartmentalized bits and pieces to match your desired level of inconvenience. Go running back to the MSM for you to decide what you’re supposed to see.

    I expect you to also cease using cash since it’s likely been involved in drug deals costing lives, bribery, extortion, blackmail – and worse.

    Good grief. What the heck is happening to this blog?

    • The world’s not going to end because CM quit Facebook. If he had quit it without announcement, would you even know or care? There is an argument to be made for the idea that the massacre committed in New Zealand would not have happened if the terrorist perpetrator didn’t have a platform that he could bend to his bloody publicity purposes with the greatest of ease. He apparently intends to capitalize on his Facebook fame by using the trial for the same publicity purposes; that’s likely why he fired his lawyer and will be representing himself. As to your problems with the content of this blog, that is a whole different matter and has nothing to do with Facebook.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I mean, LIVESTREAMING the mass shooting from a GoPro headband?

        For years I’ve been referring to Mass Shootings as “Do-it-Yourself Reality Shows”. Pull the trigger enough times (especially with real-time Livestreaming to Social Media) and You’re a Reality Show CELEBRITY! All those Views and Likes, man!

        • thatotherjean says

          Sadly, very much this, HUG.

          There are a lot of things for which Facebook and its ilk are useful–keeping up with family and friends, buying stuff from your neighbors (I just bought furniture for vastly less money than I expected to pay), joining communities of interest to you, and nearly endless other uses–but it is also true that parts of it abound in hatred, scams, bots, and people looking for fame/notoriety, who can find it by posting there. That’s without considering privacy concerns and the removal of what is false, dangerous, or illegal. Until Facebook can do a far better job than it has done so far, I understand what CM has decided to do.

    • Christiane says

      ‘normalizing’ is a term we have come to dread

      so why NOT speak out when what is blatantly, abhorrently evil attempts to be presented as ‘free speech’ and/or ‘entertainment’

      the way I see it, people STILL have a choice in this country . . . . maybe not for much longer because the drum has it that things are soon to go ‘very bad, very bad’ IF ‘the powers that be’ do not get what they want

      . . . . so while we still can, I’m all for people choosing to leave Facebook or stop watching certain hatemongers or not. But we ARE affected by what we hear and see, and worse, the children are watching and they are confused these days and looking for some kind of answers that make sense.

      Where will THEY draw their inspiration from? There are consequences from showing the torment and murder of innocents as if were our ‘right’ to view this: and one of those consequences is that unstable people will be tempted to ‘copy-cat’ what they see and will view the open presentation of the taking of innocent life as an option when grievances are felt . . . not to mention how horrible it is for those innocents who are victimized and filmed by perverts who then distribute their productions for money. . . .

      jeff, maybe you could at least know that some people among us have had ENOUGH and that we are still a free enough people to where their choices are, for them, ‘okay’

      • CM’s decision to quit Facebook has nothing to do with your dislike of the content of this blog. Nothing.

        • Sorry. My comment was meant as a reply to jeff, not to you Christiane.

        • this “decision” is content on this blog. Ergo – it has something to do with my dislike of recent content. It’s bizarre. To me. If it doesn’t to you…..good for you. But your statement is demonstrably false and irrelevant.

          • Aside from this decision, what else has dismayed you about the content of this blog in recent times?

            For myself, I’ve never been on Facebook. I considered joining only to participate in the by-invitation Facebook group that CM started for community-building purposes, but never got around to making a final decision. Since CM is eventually going to phase out that Facebook group as well, I never will join. I could care less about Facebook. Maybe that’s bizarre to you too — but how does that matter in any way?

            • –> “Aside from this decision, what else has dismayed you about the content of this blog in recent times?”

              Not to speak for Jeff, but there have been times when I’ve felt this site has strayed from the Jesus-shaped spirituality that seemed to be its focus under Michael Spencer. I mentioned that a few times way-back-when, then just accepted that under CM’s “leadership” the content would be different. Not good, not bad, just different.

              After accepting that, I then had a choice: to continue to participate or not. I’ve chosen to continue to participate.

              • CM – my putting “leadership” in quotes was not to suggest I question your leadership, but because I’m not sure you’d want to be considered a “leader” of this site (maybe more of a facilitator?). No slight intended.

            • my throw-away comment lamenting the content of this blog in recent times should be exactly that – thrown away. It wasn’t a fair statement. If there is anything recent to criticize it was the recent attempts to look at Enns’ book. If we want to look at inspiration, infallibility, criticize the excesses of the Chicago Statement, etc – I’m all for that. But don’t use Enns. I used to really like him but man, his latest book is just absolute garbage. I’m tired of even trying to give it a fair shake.

              • For what it’s worth, I’m not crazy about Enns either. I follow his blog, but it seems to me he is just going over ground that was covered fifty years ago by mainstream scholars and theologians. I guess what makes it different is that he is coming out of the evangelical world rather than the mainstream, so I guess he’s speaking to a different audience that has to play catch-up. But the other problem is that I don’t see him reconstructing a tenable faith out of the material left from his deconstructions — it’s just a hodgepodge of scholarly platitudes and vague mysticism that has no staying power, as far as I can see. I’d just as soon go straight to the liberal Quakers.

                • and that is exactly my problem with him – after reading his books, listening to his podcst, reading his blogs – I’m not clear as to why he’s a Christian. He tears down but offers nothing as to why I should accept any truth claims of Christianity. And if you hang around his area long enough you will hear a familiar refrain: Christianity is just one source of wisdom among many. One light among many lights.
                  I went down that path in my 20’s and 30’s. Not interested in playing with that nonsense any longer.

      • This pretty well sums it up.

    • False dichotomies – you gotta love them.

      Seriously, we in this day and age are spoiled for choices when it comes to news outlets. Thanks to this internet thingy, we can access just about anything from anywhere. And that may be part of the problem.

      It is *so* easy to get cozy and snug in an echo chamber of people who think and believe *exactly* the way you already do. Take this blog, for example. There is a much wider spectrum of opinions here in both the posters and the commenters than you’re acknowledging. Additionally, while I almost exclusively comment here, I read much more widely – I’m still subscribed to the Evangelical blog feed from Patheos for example. Because if you only listen to the people whom you already agree with, you learn nothing new.

      Now, to return to that “mainstream media” swipe… well, it all boils down to how you define it, doesn’t it? Now, personally speaking, I *never* only trust one source on anything. And I rarely lean primarily on the major US news networks (CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc). I try to read international networks (BBC, Economist, even Al Jazeera) and *especially* local news of the area if available. Even taking bias into account, you’re much more likely to get better information from those sources than you are from your ideologically confirmed network and web aggregators.

      …and do NOT get me started on “Christian news” outlets. They are typically neither.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > False dichotomies – you gotta love them.

        Do we? 🙂

        > Take this blog, for example. There is a much wider spectrum of
        > opinions here in both the posters and the commenters than you’re
        > acknowledging.

        Yep. We have everyone from Burro to Klasie. And wherever in that soggy spectrum Eeyore and myself would fit.

        > Because if you only listen to the people whom you already agree
        > with, you learn nothing new.

        Not to mention Boring! My podcast listening especially has had to spread far and wide in order to not simply go mad with boredom; people can only say the exact same thing so many times in so many ways.

        > Now, to return to that “mainstream media” swipe… well,

        And, again, their are jillions of other choices.

        > it all boils down to how you define it, doesn’t it?

        Yep. I would also like a serious discussion – everywhere – about what is “News”. It seems that by “News” many people today mean “Editorial”, which is a narrow subset of “News”. There is a great deal of “X says Z about Y”, and not very much **information** about “Y”.

        Much like Theology, people have feverishly intense opinions on various aspects of Economic policies… so ask them some pretty basic questions about the Economy. Prepair to be very disappointed; so what are those intense passions worth?

        > …and do NOT get me started on “Christian news” outlets.

        Even in the best case what would “Christian” news be? Again, lets not mistake Editorial for News.

      • MSM was merely a snark comment at large western “news” sources. Nothing more.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        …and do NOT get me started on “Christian news” outlets. They are typically neither.

        When something can be described as “Just Like Fill-in-the-Blank, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”, that’s NEVER a good sign.

    • Jeff I’d like to hear more of your critique. I mentioned a half a dozen other reasons why I consider FB to have been everything from time-wasting to downright manipulative and dangerous. I’ve been considering this off and on for over a year now. Is social media now a required or necessary part of modern life? Are those who choose not to partake philistine or worse, breaking some new social code?

      What do you mean when you say “What has become of this blog?” From the beginning I have insisted, with Mike Spencer, that the Internet is not our life. We have real face to face relationships and work we do everyday that will always trump what happens in cyberspace. This is one decision I’m making to reinforce that in my life.

      I happen to think that represents part of what this blog has always been about.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > s social media now a required or necessary part of modern life?

        Depends on one’s role. I doubt it is a requirement for pastors, etc.. who operate within a very defined community. That community should [must] have some internal platform, which may be physical.

        As a Community Organizer I can’t leave SM, operationally. One thing that helps with Social Media is having the “Why am I here?” question; if you are there for a purpose(s) it is less problematic. When it becomes something akin to one’s street it is dangerous.

        I don’t feel anyone should feel obligated to be on any COMMERCIAL PROPRIETARY platform (Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor, etc…).

        > Are those who choose not to partake philistine or worse, breaking some new social code?

        No.

        Depending again on one’s role(s) in one’s community(s) one may to need to find some compensatory behaviors in order to remain in-the-loop. People opting-out of everything and then showing up angry that they never heard about XYZ is very real thing. 🙁 Technology has in many ways made communication more difficult, not less; everything is like trying to have an intimate conversation at a rock concert.

      • Hey Mike, sure – I’ll take a stab at explaining a bit more.

        The livestreaming of horrific violence in Christchurch just seems to me to be a rather bizarre line in the sand. I can understand and appreciate the concerns around privacy or a desire to switch to a platform where you pay to play rather than trading your privacy for a platform. If you’re going to switch for that reason – makes sense to me. Go for it. I’ve considered it. I consider this a valid reason for quitting FB or especially Twitter. Heck, I’m not even on Twitter as I consider that platform especially banal.

        You mentioned: “sheer foolishness, narcissistic blather, and time-wasting distractions” while at the same time acknowledging other benefits.

        However, the catalyst for your decision was summed up in this statement: “I can no longer support or participate on a platform that is incapable of stopping the dissemination of such evil.”

        That would require someone else deciding what I should or should not see. However, I’m simply not interested in delegating my freedom to a third party to decide what I should and should not see. You’re basically asking for a censor to be assigned to every single live stream. Modern journalism is already about deciding what inconvenient facts the public shouldn’t see. For all the bad that Facebook and other social media has done\allowed\exposed – it has democratized the dissemination of information. And occasionally it will be misused. Welcome to freedom.

        But what we’re seeing now is the thought police out in force trying to control what people can or cannot say on social media. Or whom they may interact with, support, or patronize. Or in your case – simply quitting altogether because…..you had a non-existent chance of actually seeing this person’s livestream? Because there weren’t censors at the ready to quash his evil?

        I don’t get it. I just don’t. But hey, that’s just me. As pointed out before – if you had just quit Facebook outright I wouldn’t have noticed. But you decided to notify everyone who follows this blog of your intentions. So I responded with a level of incredulity. 🙂

        • My reply would be that freedom is never absolute, that every bit of information we receive comes through some kind of sifting process, and that FB and other social media sites have not yet proven themselves to be responsible gatekeepers.

          The democratization of information — at least important information — is largely an illusion, IMO. Sure, there’s a vast sea of unrestricted white noise out there. But if I’m learning anything in this age of so-called “freedom,” it is not that gatekeeping is unnecessary and undesirable, but rather that I need to continually search for sources with true expertise and integrity.

          Why did I post about my decision? Because it’s a part of my journey I thought worthy of discussion in a safe forum. I recently wrote a book on living with discernment — hey, what do you know? — I’m trying to practice what I preach.

          • Dan Kurtz says

            If I may, I would suggest a book you might find
            Interesting. “Christians in the age of Outrage –
            How to bring your best when the world is at its
            Worst.” By Ed Stetzer. I have found this book to
            Be a blessing to me as I try to navigate these very
            Troubling times. I respect your decision, and if you
            Decide to try the book it is my hope you’ll find it to
            Be a blessing for you as well.

          • why would you expect or want Zuckerberg or Dorsey to be gatekeepers? That’s what I find absolutely puzzling. Why would you want to delegate that filter to someone other than you?

            But regardless – I’m glad you shared your journey. Even if I don’t understand the reasoning. 🙂

            • David Cornwell says

              A filter, at the least should find a way to keep content such as murder, mayhem, extreme porn, suicide, and other kinds of illegal & harmful behavior out of the public eye. There is nothing positive to be gained from any of this.

              • Do you even understand how Facebook or Twitter work? You would need to follow groups or people in order to see this stuff. It’s not out in the public. This is not the digital equivalent of walking down main street USA.

                For example, I follow a few FB groups that are frankly appalling. I want to know and keep track of what is being said out in the wilds. But my wife and kids are NEVER going to see this stuff on their accounts. It’s simply not how FB works. I don’t want FB curating anything I see. It’s up to me.

                • The “let people police themselves” philosophy NEVER plays out well. Just see… well, the entire history of mankind.

    • –> “Good grief. What the heck is happening to this blog?”

      I by no means need to defend CM when he can do it himself, but here’s how I view this blog:

      1. Sometimes it is focused on CM’s spiritual stuff.
      2. Sometimes it is focused on CM’s journey.
      3. Sometimes it gives voice to others people’s view on spiritual stuff.
      4. Sometimes if gives voice to other people’s journey.
      5. Sometimes it’s a mix of all those.
      6. Once a week we get a reminder of why Michael Spencer started this blog in the first place, getting a classic post of his.

      This particular post fits #2.Just ignore it if you don’t want to read about CM’s journey.

  3. Now you know what God felt like, just before the flood.
    He repented afterwards though… 🙂

    ————
    Note that I’m *not* saying you shouldn’t leave Facebook (I never visit), but I’m not sure there’s much distinction between “humanity on Facebook is so bad I don’t want to be associated with it” and “humanity is so bad I don’t want to be associated with it”. And if God (apparently) concludes that you have to leave the wheat with the chaff until the final reckoning, I find it alarming that we think that governments or multinationals (or ourselves) will know better than him how to separate the good from the bad, how to censor what is evil, false, unpleasant or offensive; for everyone else.

    If you have had this video thrust into your face against your will on your timeline, that is a different matter, of course,

    • I could be wrong, but I think that CM might feel at this point that participating in Facebook is not just viewing or consuming negative content, but supporting and participating in it, enabling it. That would make your analogy slightly but significantly inapt.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Problem is, these days you can’t take a piss without being on Facebook. Don’t know if this was deliberate on Zuck’s part or unforeseen consequences, but so much of social media cross-indexes with Facebook as a prerequisite.

        Back in a recent TIME cover article about the Facebook/Social Media problem, a former colleague of Zuckerberg said that Zuck has a Sacred Goal to network EVERYONE in the world via Social Media. This is some sort of Universal Law of Nature and/or the next step in human evolution. (Remember Zuck’s out-of-it performance in front of Congress?)

        Made him $70 BILLION dollars in the process, data mining and selling algorithm-analyzed info on every Facebook keystroke of every Facebook user. Remember the online proverb? “If you’re not paying for the product, YOU ARE THE PRODUCT.”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          (Remember Zuck’s out-of-it performance in front of Congress?)

          i.e. Autistic fish out of water, away from his native environment of Planet Zuckerberg (“COMPUTERS! COMPUTERS! COMPUTERS! COMPUTERS! COMPUTERS!”) and in Meatspace with all the Meat.

    • I have read more and more that the very structure and methodology of social media venues like Twitter, Facebook, 4Chan, etc., make them conducive to dispensing the kind of poison we saw surrounding the massacre at Christchurch. We Americans tend to see technology as neutral, when it might be anything but.

  4. Pondering says

    So how, like Jesus, could you take this brokenness and turn it towards love, healing and wholeness? What if Jesus had left the wicked to themselves? Can you be an outlet to shine Light in darkness? Just wondering…

    • I appreciate the spirit of your comment Pondering. I don’t think one person like me leaving a social media site as vast as Facebook will make any appreciable difference in the amount of light and darkness there. I think I can make much more of a difference working to “repair the world” (tikkun olam) on the ground where I live, among the people with whom I truly relate.

  5. anonymous says

    fifty tweets this weekend FIFTY of them, multiple grievances galore, hits McCain again and again

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/george-conway-after-trumps-tweet-storm-his-condition-is-getting-worse

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      It is up to you who you follow.

      • This to me is one of the sad consequences of this social media world. Tweets = News and are considered worthy of the kind of attention they receive in other media.

        I wish one news organization would simply stand up and say “No more.” We will not cover this mostly dim-witted propaganda as though it is real news.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > I wish one news organization would simply stand up and say “No more.

          Agree. 🙁

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          What’s sadder are Born-Again Bible-Believing Christians taking those tweets as Inerrant SCRIPTURE(TM). Yet Christians are among the most fanatical of His Base.

          • Christiane says

            Are they the Christians who hope for a leader to start the war to end ‘life as we know it’ so that the Rapture (?) will come???

            I mean, what I get on one Christian blog is something about concern for the Earth and the environment being a sign of ‘worshiping’ the Earth instead of being hopeful of the ‘new Earth’ to come after the world ends . . .

            it’s getting weird, not that it wasn’t weird, but now even respectable Christians are backing away from conservation of the Earth and its resources if in any way that implies curbing the fossil fuel barons.

            Is this just another sign of a ‘new normal’ that responsible stewardship of the Earth is now ‘un-Christian’ in the eyes of conservative Trump supporters who are also evangelical?

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Are they the Christians who hope for a leader to start the war to end ‘life as we know it’ so that the Rapture (?) will come???

              The term is “Christians For Nuclear War”.
              History Written in Advance — IT’S PROPHESIED! IT’S PROPHESIED!

              And I gave up trying to track down a story I’d heard after the 2016 election:
              Somebody online ran into a Very Happy Rapture Ready Christian who gushed how he voted for Trump so Trump could start a Nuclear War triggering Armageddon. (Which he would be watching as a spectator sport from his catered Superbowl Suite in Heaven.)

              I mean, what I get on one Christian blog is something about concern for the Earth and the environment being a sign of ‘worshiping’ the Earth instead of being hopeful of the ‘new Earth’ to come after the world ends . . .

              Remember, It’s All Gonna Burn(TM).
              While we eat Pie in the Sky in that Never-ending Testimony Night in Fluffy Cloud Heaven.

              “And I will be laughing as the world burns.”
              — Some commenter circa 2015 who ended up getting banned from this blog

  6. I have been reading this blog since it first started and have dropped off for many years, but this post forced me to comment. I agree with Chaplain Mike, something has to change. Just look at the world after social media and cellphones were introduced, lets say from 2008 until now, it has regressed dramatically..its so obvious. This is destroying us.

  7. This is a very appropriate discussion for this blog. I left the evangelical world before social media took off. I have watched in horror over the past 10+ years as I over hear from family still in the evangelical world what they believe. The amount of hate and blatantly wrong information is incredible. The human brain is wired to accept truth from social circles and those controlling the social media sites have used that knowledge to manipulate people for financial benefit. The evangelical world was a circus (comparable to Barnum Bailey) when I left 10+ years ago, but now it is more comparable to the Roman Colosseum where spectators jear as gladiators fight and innocents are massacred.

    For many reasons, the far right was able to take a lead in the misinformation, but I expect other sides to rapidly pick up the pace.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      For many reasons, the far right was able to take a lead in the misinformation, but I expect other sides to rapidly pick up the pace.

      At which point you get the situation in Norman Spinrad’s SF novel A World Between with two (or more) utterly opposite but equally Utterly FANATICAL One True Ways in a Hearts-and-Minds Propaganda War.

  8. rhymeswithplague says

    CM, Facebook is NOT a platform that is incapable of stopping the dissemination of what THEY view as evil. My little dog sleeps under a blue-and-white towel, and when she recently popped her head out to look around I thought it was so adorable that I took a snapshot and tried to put it on my Facebook page with the caption “Mother Teresa dropped by for a visit”….Facebook would not allow it as it “violated community standards”…

    I cannot imagine that Roman Catholic people would be incensed at my little dog. I could be wrong, of course. I did put it on my own blog however:

    https://rhymeswithplague.blogspot.com/2019/03/mother-teresa-dropped-by-for-visit.html

    So FB is not without limits. It censors me but not the Christchurch massacre.

    • Christiane says

      I’m Catholic and I LOVED the picture!

      for those who may not know this, Mother Theresa’s order wore white habits with blue stripes, so that towel on the sweet little pup DOES resemble a nun’s habit in that particular order and I got the joke in one. 🙂

      • rhymeswithplague says

        Thank you, Christiane!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I’m Catholic and I LOVED the picture!

        “YIP!”

        • Christiane says

          we Catholics are a strange lot 🙂

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            “When the going gets weird,
            the weird turn pro.”
            — Hunter S Thompson

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Ah, classic Doors.
              I have a sort-of transcendental experience story about that song:

              Roughly 1979-80, when there was this FRP game store in Pasadena right on my route home from work with a video arcade next door. On one visit I went into the video arcade — dimly-lit, black walls, black ceiling, with the main light being the screens of all the video games. Then “People are Strange” came on the arcade’s PA system AND ALL THE SCREENS OF THE GAMES SEEMED TO PULSE IN RHYTHYM WITH THE MUSIC — PacMan, DigDug, Space Panic, some 8-bit Samurai slash-em-up… Somehow very appropriate.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              And there’s a Christianese tie-in to The Doors.

              During my time in-country (before Jim Morrison’s death), The Doors came in for a lot of venom from Anti-Rock-Music preachers on AM radio. They always ragged on Morrison performing drunk or stoned onstage, how he’d play lead guitar/vocal with his back to the audience.

              Some time later I learned why from other sources. Apparently Jim Morrison the man had crippling stage fright. The drinking and drugging before going onstage was his attempt to self-medicate and fortify himself to face those screaming audiences of thousands, and his turning his back on those audiences were to keep from still getting overwhelmed by not having to see them.

              Don’t know how accurate that is, but it’s what I heard. And puts a different perspective on the whole thing.

        • thatotherjean says

          I’m not Catholic, but I loved it, too. Adorable dog!

    • I’ve heard of similar mind-boggling examples of Facebook censorship, and FB has engaged in numerous instances of politically-based censorship as well. Yet for now I still use FB, which I finally joined about three years ago after holding out for many years. I’ve reconnected on FB with family, high school and college classmates as well as some friends I made at a couple of now-defunct Christian forums. FB proved to be a useful tool when my high school class held its most recent reunion a couple of years ago.

      That having been said, I’m careful what I say on FB. I rarely discuss politics or religion. I”m also quite aware that current and potential employers check FB and other social media, something I consider as I’m currently in a season of searching for a better job.

      Maybe I’ll reconsider in the future. Some of FB’s actions and privacy breaches are troubling. In the meantime I respect and understand Chaplain Mike’s decision.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I cannot imagine that Roman Catholic people would be incensed at my little dog.

      Don’t be surprised. Lunatic Fringes are The New Normal, and Over-spiritual Sin-sniffers looking to be Offended sometimes come with Mary and a Rosary.

  9. Burro (Mule) says

    Richard Beck hits close to the mark:

    “How many of you, when you scroll through social media,” I ask, “feel feelings of contempt or scorn? The feeling that the world is filled with idiots?”

    Lots of heads nod at this point. While we might deny feelings of disgust, most of us admit experiencing feelings of contempt. Our feelings tell us that the world is full of awful, stupid people. Contempt may be the Number One feeling triggered by social media.

    And as in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, contempt is regularly triggered by a judgment of moral superiority…I bet I can mention a few different sorts of people and get you to display the classic disgust face, the quick, instinctive, microexpression of tilting your head back slightly, lifting your top lip, and wrinkling your nose. I mention vegans to Texans and they pull that face. I mention gun owners to Californians and they pull that face.

    Boy did he have my number. My real self left Facebook in 2012 in disgust over the stoopidity of the rabid anti-Obama brigade. I was never in any sense an Obama fanboy, but I couldn’t believe he was born in Africa or that he was a practicing Muslim, and my feed turned into a long litany of conspiracy-theoretical posts aimed at convincing me of the error of my ways. Yeah, I wrinkled my nose a lot.

    It’s far too easy to have contempt for people when you can’t see the little pain lines around their eyes.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      I have thought a few times about leaving, but as an immigrant, Facebook is just so convenient to keep in contact with family and friends scattered around the globe. But I am picky about who I follow/befriend – I have no qualms in unfriending or blocking people.

      As an aside Mule, apparently we are the opposite extremes on this blog (see ATW’s comment earlier) 🙂
      I’ll raise a pint to that later today!

      • Burro (Mule) says

        We’re pretty close to opposite, as far as I can tell. Maybe politically, certainly religiously, but not so much temperamentally.

        I’ll heft a pint to you as well.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          I’ll buy the first round!

          • Burro (Mule) says

            Damn! That’s tempting!

            Apparently Grand Rapids is officially Beer City, USA. When I left, the standard tipple was Stroh’s Fire-Brewed Pilsner, but a lot of beer has gone down a lot of gullets since then.

            It might be interesting to acquaint myself with the current geography

            • Adam Tauno Williams says

              > Apparently Grand Rapids is officially Beer City, USA

              Yep, that’s us. It is a radically different place than ~10 years ago.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          Mule, I had a local red ale – a Rivermen Red Ale by Churchill Brewing Company, from right here in Saskatoon.

          You?

    • Well said Mule. Many of us are living in a world of virtual outrage. I’m trying to wean myself from it.

      • Burro (Mule) says

        I kinda like virtual outrage. Heaven knows I’ve provoked enough of it myself (and I’m not in the slightest bit repentant for it), but the 2016 election, the Berkeley and Charlottesville ‘rallys’, and now the Christchurch shooting show that outrage is not in any way going to confine itself to the Gnostic precincts of the Internet.

        We have to incarnate.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Richard Beck hits close to the mark:

      “How many of you, when you scroll through social media,” I ask, “feel feelings of contempt or scorn? The feeling that the world is filled with idiots?”

      “Because people are people, and the world is filled with tricks and twistiness yet undreamed of.”
      — one of The Whole Earth Catalogs

      “Stupidity is like hydrogen; it’s the basic building block of the Universe.”
      — attr to Frank Zappa

      And with Social Media constantly a tap-and-swipe away, The Idiocracy can easily link up and reach Critical Mass.

  10. As a Constitutional and French Fry scholar, I believe that freedom of speech, assembly and religion is covered in the Constitution but one cannot leave Facebook. Do people really believe that people should have freedom from the power of Facebook. One day they came for Facebook and we did nothing, one day they came for John Barry and everyone helped them.

    How serious, how far ranging these comments are concerning, common sense decision by CM, leave Facebook. I realize it is a generational thing but never been on Facebook other than to check it out a little. As someone here , so wisely said here once, “if there is no product on the site, you are the product”. Facebook for the most part is a tremendous commercial endeavor that succeeded beyond hopes. The time spent by individuals on entertainment and nonsense appears to me to be staggering. However, that is individual choice and the free market place.

    There were no announcements made when most people quit reading daily newspapers, reading news , info and educational mags such as Time, Life, Readers Digest and all the rest that are either gone or a shell of themselves.
    There is no putting the genie back in the bottle as a society but as one individual at a time we can, if we so desire.

    The art of individual , worthwhile conversation has diminished in my opinion in part due to the 5 minute attention span largely promoted by internet platforms. In depth discussions of issues base on social, historical and cultural norms are pretty well gone.
    P.T. Barnum would have loved the internet.

    So CM, a good move , that you explained well, however we all know , based on your writings and life experience you used Facebook in a positive way but there is more trash on FB than trash trucks.

    BTW, this is the only “interactive” site, I participate in as I find CM, Mike the G Man, M. Bell and others who guest write. I march to a different drummer, (Peter Best) than most here but know they have the constitutional right to be wrong when they disagree with me. Plus being a cafeteria style sorta of evangelical , I know God will get them, even if you are in the wilderness trying to hide.

    Facebook also is at times like the cereal aisle at the market, too many choices lead to no choice or bad choice.

    Also with my face I do not think that would let med post on Face Book.

    My wife thinks I would like to go back to the 1950’s but she is wrong, it is the 1960’s when I kept up to date on major issues with Playboy, which was a transforming mag.

    Good explanation , good decision, CM.

    Some say I live in a state of ignorance and I correct them, I live in the capital of the state of ignorance but like Charly I am happy.

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    I made a decision today that’s been a long time coming. I’m quitting Facebook.

    Then be prepared for the Pod People Point-and-Scream from pretty much everybody.

  12. History has shown: pretty much every tool and technological advancement made for good, has been turned around and used for bad.

    • But some tools are better at some things than others. A car can be used to transport people, or kill people. A gun’s usable options are… rather more limited. The question is, at this time and place, is social media closer to being a a car, or a gun?

      • –> ” A gun’s usable options are… rather more limited.”

        Oh, I agree totally! When my gun-nut friends claim a gun is just like any other tool, like a hammer, and a hammer can be used to harm people, too, I’m quick to point out that a hammer has one main purpose: to pound a nail into a wall. What is a gun’s main purpose? To propel a metal slug with enough force to penetrate skin (or hide) and cause enough internal damage to the victim to bring them down.

        –> “The question is, at this time and place, is social media closer to being a car, or a gun?”

        As a “tool,” social media’s main purpose: to connect people.
        As a tool used for bad purposes: to incite and enrage people, and to glorify wicked acts.

        In comparing it as a tool, then, I’d say that the widespread damage that can be caused by social media is more akin to a gun’s level of damage than say the limited damage a car or hammer can do.

        • “In comparing it as a tool, then, I’d say that the widespread damage that can be caused by social media is more akin to a gun’s level of damage than say the limited damage a car or hammer can do.”

          Seems like a fair assessment.

  13. Friends you know how when you’re sitting on a bench in the city park of a lovely spring day and everywhere underfoot pigeons, bobbing and weaving maniacally? Then, god bless’im, someone down the way starts throwing out bread crumbs and before you know it all the pigeons have scuttled away to the feast.

    And that’s how I view social media. Someone throwing out bread crumbs to draw away the pigeons so I can sit quietly in peace.

    And no I do not consider myself a cynic or a misanthrope. People are like baklava. A little dab’ll do ya, thank you very much.

    • Love the visual and the analogy!!

    • Christiane says

      I think you have a gift for writing, Stephen.

      strange how some people cannot be ‘alone’ and feel comfortable

      and

      how some people ‘need’ their ‘alone time’ more than others

      but the answers as to ‘why’ I do not know