It’s rant time!… There’s an irritating kink institutionalizing itself in everyday exchanges on Social Media today: the F-bomb. If only it stopped with a puerile tweet, but it doesn’t. This banalizing use of the f-word in Social Media is creeping beyond the confines of Twitter, FB etc. (we’ll skip Reddit and 4Chan) and into everyday offline exchanges from people you’d think more articulate. What people don’t seem to understand is that for maximum, devastating effect the f-bomb should remain a deletive, not an adverb, not an adjective, or even a “thank you” because the milkman left a red top instead of a Gold top on the doorstep this morning… I got my eye on you, melon farmer!
But don’t get me wrong. I love a good “turn the air blue” tirade. No, seriously, there’s nothing better to clear the air and lower the blood pressure than haranguing a driver (m/f/x) for being a dork. In fact, I love flinging the odd expletive deletive “nom d’oiseau” (literally “Bird name”, in reality, some foul-mouthed profanity) at some jerk (m/f/x) who abruptly changes three lanes in front of me at the traffic lights before turning off without indicating.
You see. Shouting French profanities out the car window is a hangover from long years driving around places like Marseille. It serves a purpose and is part of the culture. On the other hand, punctuating an anodyne conversation about whether Soya drink is milk with invective is pointless. It’s also mind-numbingly lazy, slovenly and sign of advanced cognitive dissonance. I mean what’s with effing and blinding simply because someone disagrees with you? “hey! I like Almond drink. You? WTF. You like Oat drink? Seriously? Well, screw you, Hey… guy here likes Oatly Oat Drink!”
Again, I’ve nothing against tossing the occasional cuss word but not to the point that it obscures perfectly coherent reasoning from otherwise intellectually, cognitively rational individuals, goddamnit.
For example, several years ago someone took me to task for qualifying some irrelevant act as “Machiavellian”. His reasoning was that yes, while Niccolò Machiavelli is admittedly widely renowned for his work “The Prince”, he was also a diplomat, politician, historian, philosopher, humanist and senior official in the Florentine Republic (recognized as the father of modern political science, freeing politics from theology…) and as such references to his works should be used intelligently… So, you see, here was a person who helped me understand the importance of intellectual nimbleness himself resorting to banal invective to finish off an email. It was lazy and I told him so.
Conspiracy Take Down
Talking of intellectual nimbleness, or the lack of. Another phenomenon flourishing on Social Media is the amplification of whatever the latest flavour of the month conspiracy theory happens to be. Take the Notre Dame theory for example. Just watch how, between fake right-wing info’ sites and botched AI, this particular conspiracy theory is setting Social Media on fire and people are slurping it up.
There was a time when I enjoyed reading a juicy conspiracy theory, you know, Ancient Aliens, Area 51, the missing 09/11 Pentagon plane , that sort of thing, but that was fifteen or so years ago when you had to go to a specialized website forum to follow the thread. Now people don’t bother, they just check out a sub-thread in Reddit.
Reminds me of an episode from Elementary (The Red Team [1.13]). Watson queries Holmes’ studying of conspiracy theories. Holmes’ comeback to Watson’s question (“I thought there was no such thing as conspiracy theories?”) sums it up perfectly: “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, Watson.” Says it all, really doesn’t it?.
And just to finish nailing the lid on manipulating hobgoblins, a media outlet recently published an article relaying the theory that the dreams you can’t remember might never have occurred. I mean who bothers trying to recall dreams, and to paraphrase Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick film: “… house cleaning. Well. You clean up the dirt, there’ll be some more tomorrow” so why go to all the trouble?
Someone I know has a clear opinion on the matter, and rightly so. Why not question what others consider to be a done deal? And even if you see things differently take a step back to see why that person is challenging what many consider to be an irreversible fait accompli, especially when doing so may improve your life as well.
Whether you consider dreams an esoterical experience, a simple succession of images or the brain defragmenting its hard drive (or a hierarchical storage management system restructuring the data) is incidental. It’s all about being in charge and being able to question, and change, the generally accepted order of things and if you don’t agree well, it’s a free world but let me finish off by hijacking the words of the sagacious John McClane: “Thanks for the advice.”