Facebook and Twitter, much-maligned platforms, are stuck. Stuck making millions, but stuck. The former I use to pretend I’m a good person, like everyone else, by remembering birthdays, but also, to post this blog and interact with Motorcycle and Landcruiser forums. I am not part of the Twitterati. It’s about as appealing as Chinese Opera, backed by a choir of mewing cats, whilst being punched in the happy-sacks repeatedly by a band of midgets mistaking my equipment for a piñata. Fascinatingly, both platforms have become the go-to for actual, real-life news, for millions of people. With more unfiltered opinions than ever, the channels have become culpable for spreading mis-information. This is . . . odd. They’ve inadvertently become the arbiter of facts.
Meanwhile, the people creating the bullshit seem to escape blame entirely. It’s not simply an education question, either. There have always been kooks and weirdos, and they are basically anyone that doesn’t share your enlightened, educated opinion. We talk of welcoming diversity, as long as everyone thinks the same as you. Otherwise we shout them down, decrying that these louts probably don’t even know the difference between a macaron and macaroon, the fu**ing morons!
We all have our own reality. For example, I refuse to accept it’s cold unless it’s snowing. For many of the lovely people in Australia, anything below twenty degrees warrants woollens. Then there is propaganda designed to spread fear or incite a reaction. Churchill openly lied about how well the Allies were doing to play-down any hysteria. Hitler was going to eat you. Russians were going to sterilise Americans (not all bad, then). Oh, and all religious texts. Should banners exist over every, ‘and the Lord said . . .’??
Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, London, is a marvellous place. You can totter along any weekend, listening to someone fart their opinions to the masses. Usually I’m going to hell in one religion or another, but that’s tolerance for you. Yet if I don’t like what they preach, I move on. So do others. The same applies to media. I don’t watch television. I have one, technically, leftover from a housemate, but it’s from the age before digital. It gathers dust excellently. Most platforms and media outlets, unless independently wealthy or the BBC, exist from sponsorship, who are in turn depending on advertising to the masses. If you switch off, so do they.
Perhaps it’s a case of using your own judgement to work out the bullshit from facts, or alternative facts. Social media can be a force for good too, as this wonderful story attests. There are no lies here, no underhanded tactics, no effort to sway voters: an elderly couple struggling to provide for themselves. The reaction has been superb. And talking of people struggling with life, I’ve started Kerouac’s excellent On The Road. It’s amusing to see all the references to William Burroughs of Junky fame. Even to Kerouac, he’s a drug-addled step beyond.
Having already drunk my tea and read a little as per my Sunday morning tradition, I’ve just finished Good Habits, Bad Habits by Wendy Wood, the results of clinical studies into how we form habits. It’s more than just self-control . . . apparently, I wasn’t really listening, was doing something else (hardy har). According to the book, the more self-control you have the more successful you will be in life: school grades will be better; you’ll eat healthier and more likely to be less obese; you’ll manage your money better; and have less arguments in relationships. But if you do anything regularly enough, it becomes a habit, whether good or bad for you. Like checking your phone one hundred times a day for the latest social media posts.
Have a lovely week! x
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