May 28, 2019 by phicks2012
To begin with, I have to state that I simply don’t care for extremes in any direction, and believe that literally anything, even very good things, can be taken to extremes — especially when you toss social media into the mix.
When regional and national elections are in the offing people suddenly begin sharing a lot of political rants accusing politicians who oppose their own candidates of all sorts of heinous acts and improprieties. They flood social media, and while I distrust politicians in general (simply because I believe many of them will say nearly anything at all to get elected and then tend to be more interested in staying in office and furthering their own personal agendas than in serving their constituencies), most of the accusations that are thrown around on Facebook tend to be either total fabrications or wild exaggerations. The more ridiculous or outrageous the accusations, the less I believe them, and I do not willingly share libel and slander, even during an election year when it is the order-of-the-day and concerns a candidate I do not support — or even much like. So, if I see a shared post (or, God forbid, a tabloid headline) accusing someone I do not personally know of doing something reprehensible, and the accuser is also someone I do not know, I do not rush to share it. I don’t KNOW for a fact who, if anyone, is being truthful, because (let’s be honest here) I DO NOT KNOW THEM, so I try to suspend judgment until I see more actual facts — not allegations published either in The National Inquirer or on Facebook. As a result, unless there is incontrovertible proof I am not going to believe that a particular political candidate supports the killing and eating of babies — and no offense to Jonathan Swift and his “Modest Proposal” https://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/modest.html (written in 1729).
Dire Hacker Warnings
I get rather a lot of frantic warnings, usually via messenger and purporting to be from different Facebook friends, about potential hackers and account takeovers, and instructed to take certain actions either to verify whether or not I’ve been hacked or to avoid being hacked or cloned. These warnings invariably seem to contain the exact same verbiage, such that I am fairly certain they either do NOT come from the person at all, or are simply being shared verbatim from a similar or identical source. As a result, I NEVER follow the instructions. I check with Snopes.com or with some other source, and in EVERY case thus far I’ve discovered that this was yet another fraud or scam or hoax being perpetuated by hoaxers an/or spread by frightened people who didn’t fact-check before (usually with the best of intentions) “warning” others. Then I usually message the sender back thanking them but assuring them that their warning is a verified hoax. Whether or not they then believe it is up to them, but unless I know it to be a fact I will not spread posts that warn of dire plots — like space aliens taking over Facebook and abducting our accounts to do virtual anal probes. 😉
Rants Relating to Particular Social Causes
There are many, many worthwhile and legitimate causes in the world today, and they do need our support. However, there are also people who go totally overboard, or take advantage of this and disseminate completely bogus and damaging information. I tend to support common sense (and to “privately” support worthy causes), but I try very hard to avoid the Lunatic Fringe or Fame-Seekers or Scammers whenever possible.
Further, and some will choose to find this offensive, despite the absolute validity of some of these movements and accusations, and of the need to educate and to put a stop to flagrant societal and personal abuses, or to support worthy causes, I have a tendency to think a temporal line possibly needs to be drawn somewhere. People are now going back further and further in time to level accusations, occasionally to times when the supposed perpetrator was not even a legal or responsible adult, and I’m afraid I fully expect to hear next that Celebrity A is being accused of physical or sexual abuse for hitting Wanna-Be-Celebrity B over the head with a Barbie Doll or a Tickle-Me Elmo, or dropping trou (in this case diaper) in nursery school, and claiming irreversible trauma as a result. There is far too much actual trauma in the world today for the real thing to be mocked and trivialized in this manner by people merely seeking their 20 minutes of fame or a financial windfall. So there!
Also, judging historical figures by contemporary standards is seldom valid or fair either. We are all products of our times, and so were they!
Requests for Donations
I sometimes see rather a lot of requests to help people (usually children) in need. I do not send funds to people I do not know for a fact to be genuine — nor do I ask other people to do so. If the request is for an actual friend or close acquaintance I know to need assistance, I might very well contribute, but otherwise I do not. The fact is that I could easily find a random pitiful or touching photo of a child or animal and post it to social media along with a fabricated sob-story asking for financial assistance, and a lot of people would believe it. I could also concoct a story of dire personal need that would not necessarily be true either — though, I have to admit, it would be tempting to ask other people to chip in on my property taxes. 😉
Further, I do not give money to televangelists who try to frighten me into “making my peace with God before it’s too late”. My grandmother used to get that sort of thing in the mail from Oral Roberts — even telling her that if she couldn’t afford the suggested large donation on her fixed retirement income they could tell her where to take out a LOAN, and I cannot BEGIN to tell you how offensive I found that!
Oh, and I do not credit that some Nigerian Prince is willing to give me millions if I simply follow instructions either. 😉
Many of the cures advertised on social media and via email do NOT do what they claim to do, and some are actually harmful. I could go on social media and claim that ingesting strychnine or Styrofoam would cure cancer, and some people would believe it. If I further claimed this to have been proven by “extensive testing”, that would reel in more believers, and if I added the phrase “Big Pharm doesn’t want you to know about this” thousands would try it and wind up in morgues. Just because something is posted or shared on social media does not make it true, and I like to think that most of my actual friends (as opposed to social media “friends” about whom I cannot necessarily make valid judgments) are intelligent enough to know this — right? Oh, and by the way, as far as I know strychnine will not sure anything except “Life”.
So, while this is HIGHLY unlikely ever to happen, if you EVER see a Facebook posting from me suggesting that a political candidate sold his or her own small children to human traffickers to finance his or her election campaign, or declaring that I was sexually abused in the womb by some celebrity ancient enough to (theoretically) have managed it, or claiming to have sighted Bigfoot in my guest bathroom — please understand that it will be (even if in bad or questionable taste) a joke, jape, or jest and NOT a fact. I have never shared a flat in Surrey with Paul McCartney, discovered a cure for herpes, shattered the on-foot land speed record, or astrally projected to the planet Mongo to swear fealty to Ming the Merciless. Just so you’ll know. 😉
End of Rant.