Squawk List for Early 2016
“Headlines” we see on social media in 2016: my complaint is that they aren’t headlines at all. They are bottom-feeding click bate, and contributing to a long, ugly slide for society. They usually start with, “You won’t believe” or “No one could cope with” or “By the end of this story I was bawling” or ends with, “then something amazing happened” or “when you see what happens next you’ll fudge your Huggies,” or “seconds later, the crowd lost it.” In some ways, this trend leads to me to yearn for Nyan Cat, Double Rainbow All the Way guy and Epic Beard Man. At least in those days, the bullish!t wasn’t pretending to be news.
The incredible uptick in news about guns and mass shootings: this problem does not come from guns. Guns are a player. We’ve been hip deep in guns for decades. This problem is about humanity and the value of human life. It’s a feedback loop; the more we heard about it, the more we are likely to do it, and the more we do it, the more we hear about.
Memes about courage: there are a number of memes circulating right now that show something like a firefighter working or a soldier fighting in the first panel, with the caption, “THIS is what courage looks like,” and transgender Caitlyn Jenner in the second panel with the caption, “Not this.” I have news for you, memeists… 1) There are all different kinds of courage, from the courage to tell your significant other that you love them, to the courage to storm the beaches at Normandy in 1944, and 2) You armchair quarterback, weekend couch potato, keyboard bullies don’t have a fucking clue what courage is. I often think when people make comparisons like this they confuse courage with heroism.
Six Years Ago: For some reason, social media is currently burdened with flashback photos, often from as many as six years ago. This appears to be facilitated by the Facebook application Timehop, but it serves as a bitter reminder than most people have so little of interest to say that their memories, though dull, are more interesting than their lives, and that most people are incapable of generating content.
Fast-Motion Videos of Cooking: I have never once watched one of these to its conclusion because guess what: I eat to live, not the other way around. These videos are never of spicing pinto beans with roasted peppers. They are of 17-layer chocolate cream pudding powdered sugar bars, and probably have enough calories per serving to power the International Space Station for a week.
Today’s Lottery at $1.3 billion: A meme made the rounds on Facebook saying that if all 300 million Americans split this money, we’d each have 4.3 million dollars. I face palmed so hard I hurt my face and my hand.