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.
I have a big problem with these headlines (more like attention-grabbers), too. CNN, a once-legit source of news, is bad about pushing crap like this on its web site. (“You won’t believe what she did next …”) I’m not sure what these are designed to accomplish (really, does any self-respecting corporation give a shit about “clicks”?) except dumb down readers (clickers?) who weren’t exactly geniuses to begin with.
I got a little nauseous reading your vivid description of carpet filth. Let’s never speak of it again.
There’s probably some dog vomit in it too.
Because I love to cook, I watch those videos, and most of the time, those recipes will NOT work. There’s a reason we don’t make chocolate cake in a coffee mug, people!
Man, I could eat that pancake right now.
* Maybe I’m lucky; I haven’t yet had the opportunity to ignore or scroll past a fast-motion cooking video. But several of the “news” organizations I follow, including the New York Times, post at least one recipe a day, which *really* should not be in the category of “news”.
* As far as the bad-math lottery meme, I was fortunate to see the correct one making fun of the incorrect one before I ever saw the incorrect one (which I suspect was made intentionally in order to make fun of stupid people). But yes, Americans are so bad at math that it haunts me.
* The worst things I see daily on my Facebook feed are usually “[your friend] like this” items, where “this” is a racist rant by a Donald Trump supporter. I’ve had to unfollow a couple of my friends to avoid those. The second worst are of course the “doctor got me all better, so Thank God” ones.