I got another “like” request this morning from a Facebook “friend” I don’t know, and because of that I can’t sit him down over beer or Valium or coffee, or whatever he needs to prop him up, and say what is on my mind, which is an eulogy for the gravest casualty of social media: Decorum.
Get a grip, man! It doesn’t count if you ask people to like you. They have to do it on their own or it doesn’t mean anything. You can’t go wingeing about, all obsequious, recruiting the validation of others — especially strangers — if you want people to like you.
I don’t mean to be unsympathetic here, but cowboy up! How do you think I feel when I labor for days over a blog post — every word, each semicolon — and finally get it right, making myself cry a little with the beauty of it all, and then hardly anyone likes it? Meanwhile, some knob posts a picture of her toddler or grand-toddler picking his nose — something she’s not even responsible for, except genetically, and that’s kind of sad — and a hundred people are all over it.
Do you see me groveling, asking people to like my poetic post if they’d rather like boogers? No! Even when I feel otherwise, I pretend not to care — to be self-contained, mature and other good, admirable things — and, by God, you should, too.
Here’s why: I know how hard it is to be human, how vulnerable and sensitive and wounded we all are and how we all need affirmation, and yada, yada, yada. But you don’t get through life in a way worthy of respect by hanging out all your squishy junk for strangers to see. It’s unseemly.
Plus, it sets a bad example. It’s poor form to be publicly yourself if yourself is all “like me!” or worse — a narcissist, say, or a bigot or a bully — because others will see what you’re doing and think it’s OK for them, too, to start airing their embarrassing parts which are, after all, embarrassing for a reason. And the next thing you know, we have a presidential candidate with no apparent redeeming qualities and an electorate in which many seemingly not-retarded people, rotten parts resonating, support him.
Do you see what I’m saying here? This reprobate, whose sense of decency is tiny as a tick – a Lyme-carrying deer tick, the kind that sickens and inflames the whole organism – and whose interests extend precisely from his itty-bitty Grinch heart to his epidermis – has, by openly being his awful self, become a proxy bully for every inner smallness in people who think the problem is always Out There.
Had he just pretended to be a marginally decent human being — the putative point of life being to acknowledge and resolve your crapola, not build a campaign around it — we lemming Americans would not all be wallowing around in the ruins of civilized discourse, half-expecting we’ll shoot each other at the polls, which, until this election, seemed unlikely.
Oh … wait. Did my serious, self-righteous aspect just hijack this post? She is so humorless and judgmental, unwilling to cede that even the pukiest person and his minions contain some goodness. Obviously, I am not spiritually evolved enough to see it, which is my bad, and I apologize.
There: Do you see how I did that, looking within at my own shortcomings and all? Wasn’t that inspiring?
Where was I? Oh, yeah: those “like” requests.
Decorum, people: Decorum. Pretend if you have to. We can’t go around all publicly needy, digitally accosting each other for validation. In the commons, at least, we owe each other a facsimile of our best selves, including the kind of dignity that precludes bald bids for approval and other bad behavior.
Because if we instead act unapologetically like the buttheads we sometimes are, we not only debase ourselves, but corrupt each other’s higher instincts. This is bad. And I’m going to go out on a limb here and say we should not be bad if we can help it.
So, anyway: You can like this post, or not.
See how that works?