Saturday, October 27, 2012

Speaking words of wisdom....let it be, let it be

Found in the sand while walking a beach....seashells do speak to us.

Perhaps I have finally been enticed out of hiding to get back to blogging…..boss blogger Tom wants some past due homework and fellow gallery guys and gals have encouraged me to “say it” rather than “sit on it”.  So I shall indulge in some overdue observations and then stand in front of my old teacher’s desk and lecture a bit about proper behavior both in and out of the classroom we call social media. 

First let me say I do miss writing about the work coming out of Malone and Mt. Union, as well as what can be found at the MassMu, Translations, North Canton and various Akron galleries. I shall try and do better about getting out and about once this cloud over our country clears up and we all move on. Forget the Stormzilla or Frankenstorm or whatever the moniker of the moment is for our impending peril, the bigger monster as I see it is what has (and still is) happening to us, to our civility as a nation. 

I get it, we all have opinions and points of view, we all believe one line of rhetoric or another, but the line has been crossed these recent weeks all too many times. One very big factor in this loss of dignity and humanity is this very thing in which I write now, the social media sphere, and more specifically, FB. Not going to spell out the word, we all know to what I am referring. I suppose to save my growing anxiety, I should just turn the thing off, avoid hitting the home button and read only Artwach and other bookmarked sites, but like most people, a train wreck will always cause one to slow the car and rubber neck….(shhh…I think the word may be addiction but Dr. Drew has yet to a series on it so I must be okay).

Essentially new to the FB factor (under 2 years), I thought the intent of the program was to connect people, share their lives and pictures and remain in contact over great distances with family and friends while also making new “friends”. Most of those “friends” could get away with armed robbery however as I could not pick you out of a police lineup if my depended upon it….who are you people anyway?

The ease of this forum has contributed greatly to…oh wait, let me get out from behind the desk and stand in front of my old classroom so I can speak with the “teacher voice”…..okay, it has contributed greatly to poor behavior and immaturity and bullying, none of which are respectable or desirable qualities to be found in adult men and women. Before FB, discussions about politics, religion, and money were banned from family dinners for a reason, such topics were delegated to backyard gatherings, bars, stadium seating situations and other such groupings where people knew that opinions were just personal opinions, view points were personal perspectives and arguments were over and done with after the game or upon last call. Now, the 24 hour access to a public forum has removed any barrier of filtering one’s voice. No one can physically reach out and punch you in the face, so one can be safely curled up in a snuggly and spout vitriolic rhetoric that is both hurtful and just plain mean.  Do not my friends claim to be Christian and then wish death and destruction upon others because they don’t feel the same way you do about …oh I don’t know….birth control? That subject used to be limited to 7th grade health class or discussed privately at home. Look how far we have come….or gone….towards losing our sense of privacy, dignity and decorum because nothing is evidently off limits anymore for anyone to see, even children, especially those whom we are to be educating as parents and neighbors, professionals and family. 

Class…listen to me please… wait, never say “please” to a room full of students, that is just as bad as saying “okay” because choice gives away power.  Class, there is no need to swear on the internet. A four letter word does not make your words more powerful as we have all grown quite desensitized to the impact of such phrases. There is no need to bully anybody because they are different than you. How many schools have anti-bullying policies and programs in place yet as grownups we see no problem with exhibiting the same behavior we are supposed to be preventing?  I will say I see no disagreement with “liking” a post or sharing a post, but the comments are crossing lines that may never be removed from our collective memories. We should all best remember the following phrases from our youth, and for those new to the class, this is your homework, to reflect on what they mean and why they should still matter…..

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”……”When pointing a finger at someone, remember that three others point right back at you!”…..”If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” ….  And so on, you get the idea.  The forum that is FB has not elevated us as society, it has (and is) bringing us down to a level not seen in decades. We now know too much about others that we really did not need to know.  Our culture is turning on itself like a pack of wild dogs with no source of food but each other.  And that my friend is one big reason you have not seen or read a Snarky Art in ages…..  I hope and pray that in a few weeks, regardless of which storm hits, we can put behind us the personal attacks, rebuild some friendships and learn to grow up again, becoming the adults we should be to set the example we need to present in order to make sure this type of destructive behavior pattern does not happen again.