Tag Archives: Social Media

Political Propaganda and the Illinois Tax Amendment of 2020

The Most Boringest Post I’ve Ever Written…

Do you know what I’m going to bitch about here? Taxes. Yes, taxes. I might bitch about social media propaganda as well. Yay, right? Taxes, that thing that is as inevitable as death, the thing that got Al Capone tossed in jail because he avoided paying taxes, that thing that stresses everyone out at the beginning of each year because no one understands the US’s complicated and intricate tax law. Taxes. Yay.

Poor Phyllis. Strange that AARP is supporting the “Tax Hike Amendment”…

I thought I had a good segue lined up here, but I don’t. Anyways, lately on Instagram I keep seeing sponsored posts like this one. Something about Stop the Illinois Tax Hike Amendment. First off, this is unsettling because a few months ago I jumped ship from Facebook to get away from all the political shitposting/propaganda only to be greeted by this on Instagram. Luckily, this does seem isolated and for the most part Instagram is what you’d expect it to be; people posting pictures. Facebook has totally devolved into a political shit-tossing dump and even if it’s useful 10% of the time, the other 90% consists of people posting politically motivated shit in bad-faith arguments to ‘convince others’ about something that’s usually so dumbed down and logically flawed that it’s hard not to comment something picking it apart. Then the winds of shit really start blowing, Rand.

This Instagram image done got me all hyped up and pissy. Why? A bunch of reasons. The use of ‘trigger terms’ to make you think one thing. The poor old lady not wanting to pay more taxes. Something about “new powers to tax anyone at will.” Okay. The first thing about whatever this ad is trying to push is that it sounds too terrifying. No one wants higher taxes, duh, so why wouldn’t we all vote ‘no’ on whatever amendment it’s talking about? Hell, why did the Illinois State even put something so obviously dumb on the ballot for November when it’ll obviously be shot down by 90% of voters?

Oh wait, it’s because this image is flat-out propaganda sponsored by those who don’t want this amendment to pass, likely rich-ass Illinoisans. What does this amendment actually do?

Illinois, the state I reside in, has a simple flat income tax of 4.95%. Everyone is taxed at this rate no matter their income. I must admit it’s nice come tax time — you subtract any deductions, bust out a calculator, multiply your taxable income by 4.95% and, bam, there’s your tax rate — but this flat rate seems strange. If you look at the federal income tax, it’s a graduated tax, meaning the tax rate depends on your income, while our state has a flat rate. According to Ballotpedia, 11 other states have a flat income tax rate. Hmmm, that’s a strangely low number.

Speaking of Ballotpedia, they have a ton of information on this proposed amendment and if you’re a curious Illinois resident, check it out, do some research. It’s also interesting to see how the two sides speak about this amendment. The supporters, mostly democrats, have a PAC named “Vote Yes for Fair Tax,” while the oppositions, republicans and farmers, have PACs named “Say No to More Taxes” and “Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike.” Notice how one side claims ‘fairness’ while the other side claims ‘higher taxes.’ These are two totally different arguments. Will this amendment raise taxes? Maybe. Is it fair? Maybe. But these aren’t mutually exclusive.

Here’s a photo of the actual sample ballot and question regarding the proposed amendment. Surprisingly, it does a good job explaining what the hell the amendment actually does.

This doesn’t sound as bad as I was led to believe…

All this does is eliminate the requirement for a flat tax rate in the Illinois constitution. Is that fair? I don’t know, that depends on your view of taxation, but most other states do it this way. Is it going to raise taxes? Yeah, probably, but you’d also assume people with higher incomes, like really high incomes, are going to be taxed to death by Illinois while lower income households might see a small or moderate decrease. Is this good or bad? Well, it depends on what you think is good and bad.

My point here is that this is a subtle thing being voted on in a few months. It’s not the clear cut and dry “higher taxes!” that whatever PAC plopped this fucking ad up on Instagram is claiming. In my opinion the ‘fairness’ argument is a bit better because most people probably do feel that higher income households should pay more, but whatever. I was going to talk about that here, but that seems like it’d just make this an even messier rant. Maybe another time.

In a way this singular ad is representative of what is wrong with our current politics. An ad, one shitty ad on social media funded by people with money, can make people believe one thing when it is nowhere near true or accurate. They toss out a few trigger terms and bad words like ‘higher’ and ‘taxes’ and people immediately foam at the mouth, forming opinions from biases without even looking deeper than their Instagram/Facebook feed. That’s it. They’ll walk into the polling station, vote ‘no,’ possibly against their own benefit, just because something told them that “voting yes” will mean their taxes will go up. Like Billy Bob making $20k a year is going to be taxed at the same 20% that multimillionaires will be taxed at. No, probably not. But he didn’t do any goddamn research and follows right along with what is being spoon-fed to him by people that actually have reason to oppose the amendment.

My entire point is “Don’t be an ignorant voter.” When you see a political ad on social media or anywhere that claims something fucking ridiculously awful, look into it. Honestly I had no idea what this tax amendment was until I saw a ‘vote no on higher taxes’ ad and looked into it. Was Illinois trying to raise taxes? Was it really called “The Tax Hike Amendment?” No one would be that stupid to raise taxes with an amendment named that. When I found the actual proposal, I found nothing wrong with it. “Hey, wait, this is to eliminate the flat-tax rate. Fuck, I like that idea!” I’ve been telling everyone I know what the amendment does and suggesting they vote ‘yes’ on it. I guess that’s the end of my rant. Just don’t be a fucking troglodyte and do your fucking homework. Things you vote on do have real consequences, so go to the voting place knowing something. Don’t see the word ‘tax’ and vote no just because ‘tax’ is a scary word. Don’t think everyone in the government is trying to pilfer your wallet (but be wary at all times!). Don’t let social media sway your goddamn opinions. Google things, read about them, learn a little about taxes, fucking educate yourself.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Reopening Sucks

George Floyd, the martyr in the recent round of protests against police brutality, was murdered May 25, 2020 (on Memorial Day), about exactly a month ago.

Conspiracy theorist always seem to get about the first 5% of things right before the next 95% of “facts” go totally off the damn rails. It doesn’t take a detective to realize that social media — and nearly all forms of media — are totally dominated by a fuckton of right-wing cultists spewing total bullshit about whatever topic is available to be bitched about. COVID, Black Lives Matter, vaccines, Trump, etc. But the 5% they’re right on, the first 5% that might be the jumping off point for some total craziness, goes something like this, “People listen way too much to the media. People believe whatever their told!” (The typo is surprisingly fitting here. Also pointing to the fact that they have their own forms of media that they blindly follow, i.e. a random dude on YouTube.) After that the craziness really ensues.

But fuck if they’re not right for that initial 5%. Not that the rest of their shit is right — COVID is a hoax, etc. — but the foundation seems true enough. As stated, George Floyd was murdered by police on May 25, 2020. And it’s hard to gauge, but as the protests around his murder really kicked off in late-May/early-June, America seemed to totally forget about COVID entirely. We’ve given up, decided it wasn’t anything to worry about, that we’ve beaten it, and we’ve decided to move on.

I partially blame the media, along with the 5% factual shit from above, for totally misleading the population, not on purpose but because that’s what they do for money/ratings. And I also blame the population for being so damn dumb that they only consider what is being reported as important, usually one big topic at a time. The world is a complex place and just because media doesn’t report on shit doesn’t mean it’s not occurring. Remember the Australian wildfires? Did those ever go out or did the media stop reporting on it as COVID ramped up? Remember the Brazilian rainforest being wrecked for farmland? Did we win that battle or did the media go silent? And was COVID conquered simply because the news pivoted to stories about protests and riots? You’d think so if you’ve only checked out Facebook or other social media. Everyone seems to be hopelessly fixed on the zeitgeist of the day/week and blindly follows it, whatever the media decides is important enough to report on at the time. I’m guilty of this myself, having written two posts about racism in the past week. As a blogger I feel I need to chase around “relevancy” in whatever form it takes, but somehow COVID has been lurking in my mind for awhile. Is it really over or did we just move the fuck on and decide we don’t want to worry about it anymore?

It’s obviously the latter: not that many people seem to be aware of it if it’s not constantly reported on. I had a COVID test about a month ago and was off of work for over a week until I got my results back. They were negative and I went back to work to find a slightly altered workplace. No one was wearing masks anymore and it seemed as soon as June 1st rolled around people stopped caring. The gas station I frequent for beer used to have a sign saying something like “A FACE MASK/BANDANA IS REQUIRED TO ENTER THE STORE” which disappeared when June rolled around. Another gas station, in the bumfuck redneck town of Winnebago, Illinois, had a sign on the door stating they required facemasks for all customers. I didn’t have mine so cautiously opened the door to gauge the reaction of people inside; no one had a mask on and didn’t seem to give a damn that I also didn’t have a mask on. No one gave a shit wherever I went after May ended. So I also didn’t give a shit which is probably the wrong thing to do.

“WHO GIVES A SHIT?! It’s an RPG boys, story doesn’t matter; it’s all about the action. Now let’s get down to business…”

-Videogamedunkey in his “Dunk Souls” video upon skipping the introductory cutscene and all the context of the game it offers. I’ve found myself blurting out “WHO GIVES A SHIT? STORY DOESN’T MATTER,” in regards to COVID recently.

I think in May our governor J.B. Pritzker tried to keep Illinois shutdown until July. He was then promptly sued because you know, rights and stuff — peoples rights to shop without a mask or work or something — and the court ruled in their favor. I still don’t know the details but it seemed Illinois would open up somewhat in June. Outdoor seating at restaurants, limited people in stores, with the stores opening at least among other things.

As a quick side note, I’ve realized that tagging these posts with “Pritzker Sucks” seems to rake in the views even though I support the guy. I won’t shit on him here because I think he’s done a good job taking COVID seriously, but I’m still going to tag this post with a “Pritzker Sucks” just to rake in those conservative views, and maybe anger some when they realize I like the guy and his handling of COVID. So yes, ironically, Fuck Pritzker. And Fuck Trump while we’re at it, but unironically this time. Thanks for reading right-wingers.

Social media has, along with the media, pivoted pretty strongly to being about riots. My knowledge of the news usually comes from trolling the front page of Reddit — anything newsworthy enough is usually upvoted enough to make it to the front page — or seeing the hyped-up dramatic shit I see on social media like Facebook. It’s pretty obvious, but in this environment COVID has all but disappeared. And it exits your consciousness where you’re not even aware that’s it’s still an issue. Luckily, gaps in the reporting still appear. I follow a chemist on Facebook and her main goal over the past few months appears to be to scream about COVID and how it’s still a threat. This doesn’t get reported but you know when a scientist/chemist is still screaming about something sciency, it’s still a problem. And even on Reddit the occasional post, like this following chart from r/dataisbeautiful, obviously show that COVID cases are still on the rise, especially in southern and western states. Let’s also not disregard the occasional r/news or r/worldnews posts with headlines like, “[State Name] has reported its highest single-day cases of COVID-19 with [number] reported on [date/day of the week].”

Something about seeing data in graphical form makes the trends instantly visible. It’s beautiful really. Source link right here boys.

COVID seems different as well because it’s a biological threat. Consider the Australian wildfires as an example; sure, even if the media doesn’t report on them they’re still raging, but this isn’t a direct threat to anyone in the United States or the rest of the world. In this case, ignorance is bliss and pretending like it’s not happening doesn’t really have a negative effect on the world. I think most news stories are like this — sure Trump conjured up a new stupid Twitter post to toss the media off his trail and allow the public to forget his last stupid Twitter post — but I doubt this has much an effect on anything. COVID? COVID, being a goddamn virus, doesn’t give a shit that it isn’t at the forefront of American knowledge because it’s going to do whatever the fuck it wants to do. In short, ignoring COVID — unlike ignoring Trump’s Twitter feed/the media’s reporting on it — will not benefit anyone. In fact it’ll only make the problem worse. As more people stop thinking that it’s a threat, the more that will let their guard down, and the more that will be infected. And they’ll go on to affect everyone else that’s let their guard down. And so on.

I find it strange that Americans have all but given up fighting COVID or being concerned about it. Shops, stores, and restaurants are opening back up. People are going back to work. States are opening up. Testing is still shit. But hey, it’s June, it’s summer, and people can’t wait to get out and live their lives that have been on hold for a few months. And holy hell is everyone ready to take off the masks that they claim they unironically Can’t Breathe in. We’re just going to ignore the climbing COVID numbers and pretend like nothing is happening. It’s the classic American way: close your eyes, plug your ears, and scream “La la la!” at the top of your lungs. Everything is fine. No, really. It’s fine.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Facebook Avatars Suck

I don’t even have anything to say about this really. Just…just go to Facebook real quick and scroll on through: you’ll know what the hell I’m talking about. It’s like “the decade challenge” all over again, but luckily I think this trend will pass fairly quickly. Unlike the decade challenge, Facebook avatars are easy as fuck to make. It doesn’t require digging through photo albums and boxes of pictures to find yourself ten years ago, just hop on Facebook, click a few buttons, and you’re done. The virus should quickly make its way through the population with its low incubation period. I give it a week at most.

I wasn’t even going to make one, but wanted to make a shitty banner for this post. Make it gaudy, stupid, and pointless. Just mess around with it. Sadly, I couldn’t find a way to make an avatar on the Facebook site itself and had to download the app to make the avatar. I’ll probably delete it later today. Fuck you Facebook. And there’s no way I’m sharing my avatar on my page.

What a fucking hypocrite I am, making an avatar to bitch about the avatars. I hate myself. Maybe I should find something more productive to do today. Maybe actually write a story instead of dicking around on this blog. More procrastination. Always procrastination.

That’s it. No grand points to make. No big rants. Facebook avatars. The hottest social media trend. Eesh. Time to drink some Bulliet Bourbon.

The Facebook Dilemma Sucks

It’s 4:30 a.m. and I’m 8 beers deep into the night morning. If you read this post yesterday Saturday you’re well aware that I was up at 9 something a.m. to drive more than two hours to help my sister move out of the house that her and her wife had been living in until her wife cheated on her like the total piece of shit she is. It’s a long story that I hope to write a blog post about soon (I don’t really know what to say about it yet), but if and when I ever get around to it, there are more mundane topics to discuss.

I like to note the time so any readers know how fucked up my schedule actually is. I griped about being awake at 9 a.m. but here I am drunk and writing a proto blog post at 4:33 a.m., nearly 20 hours of being awake and I don’t know why I do what I do. As with everyone’s situation we find ourselves places we never expected and we make the best with what we’re given. And so I’m writing a blog post.

Coronavirus. That’s what it always comes down to. Not necessarily the coronavirus but what hot ass politicized topic causes people to choose sides and set up shop in a completely two-sided  “you’re either with me or against me” mindset where no discussion actually takes place, and this seems to be every topic under the sun. Think green energy, fossil fuels, climate change, socialized healthcare, foreign policy, abortion, legalizing marijuana: everything is politicized. For or against. No shades of grey. Everything is a hot-button issue that you can never have an actual discussion over because people are always up in arms about it, and this time it’s called “The Coronavirus Pandemic.”

(Sobering up and taking a few days away from the post…)

There are two major views on how to regard friends that disagree with you on social media. Do you take the high road, recognizing people do have differing views and that politics isn’t something to sabotage friendships and acquaintances over, or do you be open and honest with yourself that maybe these people don’t have that much in common with you and that they could be lost causes? Do you cut the threads that bind you together and create an even stronger echo chamber or stay in the fray and fight for what you believe is right, good, and true?

I’m leaning towards the first option: cut the ties and get the fuck out of there. My reasoning: everything is politicized and there is no way to reconcile the crazy shit people spout on social media. And even worse, the more I think about this, no one can even agree on what facts and truths are anymore, and it’s hard to argue in good faith when no one can even agree on something basic like numbers, facts, and figures. Take the virus bullshit for example. It’d be nice to at least agree with people on the death figures, the death rates, something, etc. and maybe then disagree on policy. Is it better to let the disease run its course or keep things on lockdown? This would be a great thing to argue, and while I do have a side, I can sort of appreciate the opposing side’s view. The economy is pretty important to our collective well-being so, yeah, sure it’s important to get people back to work. But what if no one can even agree on any basic facts? Some people are starting from the viewpoint that the virus is fake, or that the numbers are totally bullshitted. Even the CDC and the state’s death and case figures are under constant questioning and attacks from various conspiracy theories from people on the right, and how do you even argue in good faith with someone like that? How do you convince them what is a fact and what isn’t a fact? How can you shine light on at least some shred of a basic truth to even find common ground to argue on? What started as a simple blog post about keeping/deleting friends that you disagree with has turned into wondering what constitutes “the truth” and if some people even have a clear idea of what is “the truth” and that’s depressing. It almost feels like a group of people standing outside at noon screaming that it’s really nighttime or something and no matter how much you force them to stare at the sun they still don’t believe you. There doesn’t seem to be a way forward with these people.

I’ve realized in the past few months that I love to help people. I love to improve the greater situation in the world and solve problems. I think this is why I tinker around with random shit: I solve the problems that I know I can solve. Solar phone charger? Easy. I did it. Car is broken? I’ll fix it. The dumbasses on Facebook that seem hopelessly and cluelessly lost? There is no way forward there, at least an obvious way forward. Arguing on social media is a fool’s errand and there is no way to do any good, no way to make progress, and it’s just people screaming their opinions in hopes they convince someone of their point of view. This doesn’t work. It never has worked, but I think on social media this is our only option because there is no face-to-face discussion. Everyone has to figure things out on their own and no matter how much you want to do good in the world/change people’s opinions, you simply can’t on social media. You’re helpless, and I hate being helpless.

And I know it’s wrong because it’s just contributing to echo chambers. If every Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist drops friends/is dropped by those with opposing views, all they’ll see is more dumbass Trump supporters and their conspiracy theories: everything they already agree with. There isn’t even the occasional dissenting viewpoint being shown and it only fortifies their worldview. The same is true for everyone else who despises Trump: everyone is anti-Trump! How can he possibly be reelected?! Not that seeing the opposing view does any good, but I like to think maybe something would eventually sneak by our stubborn mental defenses.

It blows my mind how some people I used to think were sane and down to earth and not raging dumbasses can think this pandemic is really a plandemic. Just some massive plot to wreck the economy so Trump isn’t reelected. People really think this? The cognitive dissonance is so strong. How do you fake hundreds of thousands of deaths or blow the death numbers up so much without there being obvious evidence of it? I don’t know a single person personally who has died of COVID, but with near 100,000 deaths it has to be affecting people and families all over the US. How is this fake? How is it made up? You can’t fake a massive and clear increase in deaths nationwide. And if you can’t even believe the numbers, or think you can’t believe the numbers, then what? What can you believe? What institution has numbers factual enough that you can trust? And…and…oh my God, my rage and questions just go on forever. Is being forced to stay inside really what triggers people about government oppression? Not the spying on social media and the internet? Not rampant corruption and insider stock trading? This is what gets the second amendment people literally up in arms? Because they can’t go out to eat anymore? My God the US is spiraling down a hole so hard right now and I don’t see how anything will possibly get better.

So that’s my answer I think: delete the people that have no clue what reality is. Contribute to the echo chamber. Fuck it, it’s a lost cause anyways. If we’re barreling down the tracks with no way off let’s speed things up and have our fiery train wreck sooner than later. I’d love to have some good faith discussions about policy or something, but when you can’t even argue from a basic standpoint of facts that people can agree on, what are you supposed to do? Appease them? Ignore them? I’d rather not see their mindless bullshit because all it does is make me realize how hopeless our situation is. If there is a way forward, it sure as hell doesn’t involve social media at all.

Note: If any flowerly “love everybody and see the good in the world” people want to shit all over this post, please do so. I probably went a bit too far into the depressive/hopeless mindset here and would love to be proven wrong. AS LONG AS WE CAN FIND COMMON GROUND ON THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM OF DUMBASSES ON SOCIAL MEDIA!!!!

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all.

Coronavirus Hype Sucks: Social Media Devolves Even Further

If I hear another goddamn thing about the coronavirus I think I’m going to snap. While the coronavirus itself has a mortality rate of around 2%, the mortality rate for people who mention the damn thing around me could be much higher. I can’t get away from hearing about it. At work, on social media, around the family: everyone talks about this goddamn virus.

It’s not so much the general worry about the thing — it is kinda a big deal — but of all the utter bullshit floating around about it. The shitty memes about toilet paper. The fact that people are stocking up on toilet paper/bottled water in the first place. Comparing the flu to the coronavirus. The damn conspiracy theories going around about it. The entire thing is so damn aggravating I don’t even know where to start with it. This post will probably be a rambling mess of me bitching and whining about the people whining about the virus.

But the flu kills more people!

First off, the virus is a serious problem so let’s start there. It’s been a popular saying around the social media sphere that the flu kills more people than the coronavirus does! Why, yes, it does in terms of raw numbers, but this itself doesn’t make the virus less dangerous. I read somewhere did the math from the CDC website that the flu, compared with those who actually catches it, kills only 0.01% of them. That’s really low. Out of 1,000,000 who catch the flu, it kills roughly 1,000 people. Consider the coronavirus that has a still ‘low’ death rate of 2%. This would wipe out 20,000 people out of a million. This makes it about 20 times as deadly as a flu. Yes, while the goddamn flu kills more based on raw number it’s not as lethal. It just pisses me off when raw numbers are used. Just because a gunshot to the head doesn’t kill as many people as the flu does in a year doesn’t make it safe.

Toilet paper, hand washing, and hand sanitizer memes

Not that anyone on social media has any sort of brain for this sort of thinking. All that’s there currently are fucking stupid fucking memes about toilet paper. While I love memes, I hate these stupid popular ones. Yes, it’s stupid that people are stocking up on toilet paper for some reason, but the memes making fun of it are even dumber than those stocking up, albeit in a different way.

I don’t even know why anyone is stocking up on toilet paper. It doesn’t make sense at all. Quarantined at home and can’t wipe your ass? Just go take a shower and clean up; it’d act like a really overkill bidet. It’s not that big of a deal. It only makes it worse for those people that aren’t batshit insane and just need to restock on toilet paper. What are these poor unpaniced souls supposed to do if you hoard all the wipes?

Bottled water is another hot commodity for some goddamn reason. Once again, given a mild pandemic I’m sure the tap water at your house will still work. And if the disease gets so out of hand that no one can man the city pumps in the first place, well, you have more issues to worry about than drinking water. If this worst-case scenario did happen, what are your five cases of water going to do in a collapsing society? When people are killing each other for food, are the bottles of water going to help?

Here, let me see how fast I can find a shitty meme from Facebook. That didn’t take too long:

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAH

They’re funny but not that funny. I don’t even know. Some of them are even worse by trying to prove a point about it, as if there is a point to prove. I’ve seen one smartass one saying something like “Maybe if y’all run out of toilet paper you’ll have to start washing your ass for once.” Haha. Good one…

Conspiracies Gone Wild

I saw one post today, well, let me find it.

As before, I don’t even want to fact check this garbage. I did look up the Zika Virus outbreak of 2015-2016 and that should tell you all the information you need to know. Apparently the virus was around much earlier, but for some reason only 2016 is mentioned here. I also don’t recall as much hype of Zika in 2016, especially not enough to interference in an election.

It screams of a US-centric mindset. As if the only thing these viruses (and the people supposedly manufacturing them/releasing them on the masses) only give a fuck about are US elections. Going a bit further into this logically, this implies it has something to do with politics. I don’t know what the point even is here. Is this a way for Republicans to steal the election? Is it a way for them to shut down voting even if it hadn’t happened in the past? Is it a Democratic conspiracy to undermine the Republicans? And the party in power each election year hasn’t even been the same. I simply don’t know what this is even trying to prove. I don’t know, maybe something about The Deep State.

One ‘possiblity’ is that someone outside the US created the disease; this sound really fucking unlikely. I don’t even know if we have the power to manufacture a disease, let alone release it wildly into the world for some reason. Considering this originated in China, what would they gain by infecting their own citizens? Sure, it’d be a great tool if it only fucked up the US or anyone they’re opposed to, but a virus doesn’t give a fuck what your nationality is. If someone did want to purpsefully fuck with the US, a virus seems like a really terrible way to do it.

I can’t believe I even gave that stupid picture as much time as I just did. I feel terrible.

Anxiety Skyrockets

There are rumors going around at work that we might be temporarily laid off over this ordeal. Well shit. With all the stuff I worry about and struggle with a global pandemic is not one of them. It simply isn’t in my mind as something that needs to be worried about. My anxiety is a personal thing. I’m worried about writing, struggling with depression, finding a career maybe, and trying to figure my own shit out — I do my own thing day-to-day — and tossing the slight possibility of losing my job was not part of the plan! In reality I haven’t really worried about anything yet, but still, there’s a tiny part of my mind worried about it now.

It was okay when news about quarantines came out, or the cancellation of the fucking NBA season (or whatever, I don’t know), or the cancellation of our St. Patrick’s Day parade, or hearing about concerts being cancelled, but I don’t give a damn about these things. About 98% of my time consists of me being holed up in the house or at work, no parades for me, thanks. This blog should be just fine even if I am laid-off and quarantined. I think everyone wants to be left alone to do their own thing and luckily doing my own thing doesn’t involve many other people in large groups. But losing my job sort of does directly affect me and that’s worrisome.

I’m really conflicted by how I feel. Yes, it is a big problem but is probably being blown out of proportion. But goddamn are the memes annoying. And the social media posts are annoying. Everyone is trying to prove their own points about the virus (myself included thanks to this post) and damn is it grating on my nerves. Maybe it is a nice break from the other bullshit that is spammed on social media, but I’m really sick of hearing jokes about toilet paper. Isn’t there anything better to do?

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all.

Facebook Still Sucks, but Instagram is Strangely Satisfying

Note: Appreciate the amount of links I have in this mess of a post. It was a ton of work. Oh, and the struggle to italicize company names.

I don’t know whether I should bitch about Facebook or praise Instagram, so I’ll probably do both. One social media perspective isn’t complete without another contrasting perspective. My hatred for Facebook translates into a love of Instagram, and my love of Instagram only makes me hate Facebook even more than usual.

One thing should be mentioned: they’re the same fucking thing, and I don’t mean that because they’re both social media. Facebook literally owns Instagram, not in any metaphorical sense either, they actually own Instagram. I don’t know if this is popular knowledge or not; I myself am only aware of this fact because I used to trade stocks and options. One of the main talking points of bullish Facebook investors (besides the company raking in buckets of advertising money) is the fact that they own Instagram. Apparently Instagram is really popular and the irony of people leaving Facebook for Instagram is hilarious. Those hip people who are fed up with the utter trash that is Facebook can happily migrate to Instagram totally unaware of the fact that they haven’t moved anywhere new. It’s like moving from a third story apartment to a second story one in the same building. Moving up in the world, right?!

But Facebook is shit, let’s make that abundantly clear. I love to shit all over the company/site and even published my first ebook by doing so. I had a ton of posts bitching about Facebook and social media in general, wrapped a big bow tie around them, and published them in a compilation. I thought my days of bitching about Facebook were over — move on to bigger and better writing projects — but apparently not. Let’s rip on Facebook again, but in a different way.

It’s taken over by old people.

I don’t think I mean old people in a strictly age way, just the site seems rather stale. While it isn’t overran by old-people and their posts, it is overran by old-people-eque posts. There seems to be nothing of value left. Instead of creating/sharing interesting pics and posts about life, you have people sharing the dumbest, stupidest memes, social justice signaling all over the place, while the literal old people share the “liberals find the flag offensive, let’s show them!” American flag posts along with any other fake news/dietary cancer cures that they come across. Sure there are young people on Facebook (thanks for all the signaling; it sure is interesting that you’re posting sharing deep, meaningful posts to make yourself appear deeper than you are) but the older community is killing the place. I really don’t give a shit about a police dog that is laying on a grave or whatever, and I don’t care to pray for some random person with cancer who probably died four years ago while everyone is unaware of the fact. It’s just a mess and the mess overrides any joy I get out of the place. Facebook for me is a place to mindlessly scroll at 2 a.m. when I want to feel a little more cynical about everything.

The only person to share shit like this is someone who has just went through a shitty relationship and is trying to tell themself that they’re really fine and all of that shit. Signaling. Denial. Etc.

It’s also complicated to use. Not really, but it isn’t simple either; there are options everywhere. Every little thing is a button that does something unique. Tagging, captioning, privacy settings, sharing, sharing to news feed, sharing to story, pic uploading, video uploading, galleries, notifications, email and text notifications, react emojis, .gifs, personal information (music, movies, work, sports teams, etc.), phone numbers, ‘like’ or ‘follow’?, featured photos, and the list surely goes on. That’s only involving personal pages too; the Facebook ecosystem goes deeper. Much deeper. There’s a messenger and all the social anxiety that comes with messaging a person on Facebook because you don’t have their actual number and is that, like, a weird thing to do socially or is it okay? Then there’s Messenger Stories: what are you supposed to use that for? There’s a marketplace, business pages, groups, games, and so on. Oh, and you can make your own Facebook pages too if you’re a big fat-cat entrepreneur like myself. (Gimme a ‘like’ and ‘follow’ guys!) These pages are their own can of worms to deal with as I’m sure you can imagine. Luckily I don’t know of many other things because fuck that, I’m not trying to do everything Facebook has to offer. For me it’s mostly a place to spam links to blogs/writings.

Which leads me in a roundabout way to Instagram; it’s another market to get my writings out there. I don’t even know how you market a blog/story/author on Instagram (it’s all pictures, right? How do you market writing with pictures?) but figured I’d give it a shot. Ya know, take a shitty and abstract picture and plop some deep, insightful text on it and, bam, done. Sounds easy enough to YOLO an Instagram account.

I also have a few friends who are on there. One guy is a big inspiration; he makes an artform out of Instagram and I’ve been blatantly copying his technique. He’s a master at taking these awful, shitty, low-quality pictures, filtering the shit out of them, and writing what is basically poetry for captions. And they’re great! It’s a raw, no-bullshit form of art that is genius even given the derivativeness that is inherently Instagram. Just for the hell of it, I’ll toss a link to him. I think it’d be hilarious if he ends up with a bunch of followers because of this stupid blog post. And I’m not going to say a word to him about it either. So please follow leftclickmicrocosm_ on Instagram. Please make this happen.

I finally made an account and started my own version of posting low-quality bullshit with deep captions. A pic of a vape cloud along with a caption about two souls dancing. A blurry 757 flying at night. Corporate artwork with a cold and cruel caption. I’ll link a few below.

Wow, Instagram pics look amazing on a blog!

What’s strange is how weary I was to getting into another social media sphere to market my writings. It’s exhausting. Was I really going to write a shitty blog post in 50 minutes and then spend just as long marketing it on social media? Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Wattpad, and Instagram? That’s a lot of work. And I was terrified that I’d be sucked in by Instagram the same way Facebook and heroin are known to do. The constant chase of social popularity and approval, farming for ‘likes’ and whatnot. I didn’t want any part of it.

There is something refreshing about starting anew and Instagram is no different. You get a blank slate. You get to learn. You get to experiment. Since you’re starting from nothing, you also have nothing to prove. It’s been great! I’ve been posting these shitty, heavily filtered and ‘artistic’ images just for the fun of it. I don’t care if something doesn’t get as much feedback as other more popular pics; it’s enjoyable enough just to spam total bullshit without catering to some overarching goal. In this aspect I’ve failed; I haven’t marketed my writings at all on Instagram, totally missing the point of what I was intending to do in the first place. But it’s okay.

I also love how Insta‘s UI seems ‘simpler’ than Facebook‘s. The menu (if you can call it a menu) isn’t littered with total trash. The app is very minimalistic with only a few buttons to actually click. The filter/editing part is simply clicking buttons and moving sliders until you find the look you want. You slide things around until your picture looks delightfully artistic with a quality similar to an indie, low-fi garage album. Feedback and static in visual form. Slap on a flowery caption and you’re good to go.

Contrived deepness!

I know the site is kinda trash with influencers and people taking selfie after selfie in exotic locations, totally gaming the system trying to make their lives look idyllic. In some ways I think this is the surface-level Instagram sort of how bullshit news stories and stupid memes are the surface-level of Facebook. But there is potential for artistic expression if you allow it; if you stop trying to play the game that everyone else is playing. Because it’s Instagram and it’s what you do. Throughout my Instagram ‘career’ I’m going to attempt to hold onto this mindset and only do whatever random shit I want to do (while lovingly stealing others’ good ideas obviously) and not worrying too much about playing the social media game. But a week into it? I love it. It stomps the fuck out of Facebook. It’s easy, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I find myself not taking it — or myself — too seriously either.

In case all that shit above wasn’t enough, here’s a proper link. Follow me for my silly art pictures!

The “Woman Yelling at Cat” Meme Sucks

A Case Study of Meme Overuse and Eventual Death

We can’t have good things. We can never have good things. Because once something becomes popular enough the masses will get a hold of it and ruin it. Usually this doesn’t happen with most art forms because most art requires little to no participation from the audience. There are the creators of the art and the viewers of the art and the audience is relegated to be mere spectators of the art form. The read the book. They watch the movie. They look at the painting. They play no role in the creation of the art itself. The barrier of entry is usually fairly high to most standard forms of art; some jackass can’t make shitty music, plop it up on soundcloud, and become instantly famous. Some dickhead with canvas and acrylics from Walmart probably won’t paint a masterpiece that will end up in a museum. There’s a quality filter so to speak. But I think the most important attribute of most “normal” art is that it is static: once art is created it is finished and in its final form. There is no further input from anyone, especially the audience.

Memes are totally different and while I do consider them an artform they’re also a form of communication. This works because the barrier to entry with memes is terribly low; any dingbat can make memes and nothing requires you to actually be witty or good at making them to do so. And there is an audience for these poorly-crafted memes. Consider the horribly dumb populace that infests social media sites like Facebook and Twitter like roaches, you have dumbfucks creating stupid and unfunny memes who “don’t get it” and somehow their abominations are shared and propagated to the masses. It’s the equivalent of the soundcloud artist and amateur painter from above except they can somehow get notoriety with their shitty and terrible work. YouTube is a good example of this where anyone with a phone can plop videos up that everyone in the world can see. There is no filter to prevent bad content from spreading.

You can really notice this as a trend if you know where to look. The meme progression is usually something like this: some random person makes a meme with a narrow context or something. The meme is funny because it’s new and unique and sometimes hilariously confusing because it doesn’t seem to make sense. Think of advice animals: why would animals give advice? It’s entertaining in its absurdity. Or spiderman giving a presentation, etc. I call this initial phase the “proto-meme” phase because it sounds cool enough.

Having a deeper sense of social media put yous in direct touch with proto-memes. I’m not saying Reddit is deep social media exactly but it’s deeper than Facebook, which is about as shallow as a puddle in a driveway. I’ve seen countless memes in more or less original proto-form on Reddit before they mature and make the jump to more popular sites like Facebook. As an example, this is something I think is representative of the proto-meme style that may or may not become popular in the future. I’m especially fond of r/THE_PACK because of how absurd and ironic everything posted there is. It’s like the shit your skeleton-, gun-, flag-, and motorcycle-image sharing uncle shares on Facebook but turned up 1000 times in intensity. Here:

AROOO MFER! Credit: u/IronicMerman. (The style of THE_PACK is even more interesting when you consider the fact that they’re a bastardization of things shared on Facebook. They’re like a reverse of what usually happens to memes: instead of going to Facebook to die, the style is removed from Facebook and memeified.)

Reddit itself is probably more descriptive of the second phase of memes where their popularity grows and people improvise on the formula. I want to call this something like the “classic phase” or something. This is where memes gain enough social critical mass where you can use them in wider conversations and situations. The meme is adapted by many interest groups and cultures even if they have their origins in niche communities. Spongebob memes can make the jump from being unique to TV and movie communities into the wider public. Or a video game meme jumps ship and is adopted by countless other groups unrelated to video games. Creativity flourishes and each community puts their own spin on the meme and interprets it in their own way, creating a cornucopia of memes based off the same initial idea. And most importantly they hold true to the form and humor of the original proto-meme.

After the proto- and classical meme phases is what I’d call the popular phase of the meme. This is what happens when a meme grows up and is adopted by the masses for use. And by masses I mean everyone. Usually you know this phase is upon a meme when your hopelessly out-of-touch and mildly racist aunt Karen starts sharing them on Facebook. Think about Minions. Facebook is the prime example here because it’s where popular memes go to die. It’s where clueless and usually older people get their grubby Boomer hands on our beloved memes, misunderstanding and corrupting them into something that misses the entire point of the meme in the first place. Case in point: the woman and cat meme, the topic of this post. I’m sure you’ve seen it in your travels through Social Media Land recently.

I loved this meme originally. It had all the hallmarks of a good meme: originality, absurdity with a woman yelling at a cat sitting at a dinner table, and a versatility that was impressive. You could adapt the meme or variations of it to nearly anything you needed. I found this on reddit a half year ago, the meme altered and depicting a certain scenario from the video game Apex Legends:

Part of the appeal of a meme is its “inside joke” quality, and this is prime example of such. You won’t understand this at all unless you’ve played Apex.

And my sister sent me this gem where the meme is tweaked to be about video game choices. It highlights the absurdity of the semi-popular and mocked belief that video games cause violence: humor, absurdity, and social commentary all wrapped into a picture of a woman yelling at a cat. It’s also an example of how damn versatile the meme is/was.

And I can’t forget this gem I found which doesn’t depict the meme as usual but pays homage to The Shining. I love it.

Anyways, as stated above the natural progression of a meme that becomes too popular, a meme that has such critical mass that it transcends sub-pop and pop culture, is that it enters mainstream culture. When your parents, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents get a hold of it. It’s when people use the meme as it wasn’t intended, a bastardization where one realizes the creator doesn’t understand the meme’s appeal and humor in the first place. And the saddest thing of all is when the meme is fucking politicized and used unironically. When the humor is stripped out of it and it becomes a way to say something seriously. To prove a point. To make a stance. To yell your viewpoint bluntly at people. To disguise this as humor. This isn’t how memes are meant to be used.

This one depicts the meme as a conversation-frame type meme, a misuse of its original intentions. I mean it’s now a lady having a conversation with a cat. Okay. It’s also kinda dumb.

I was originally going to only post the image, but realized that including the poster/uploader — the eloquently titled page “Cornbread & Cooter” — might say something about the type of people that fuck the memes up in the first place. Think of someone you personally know that would actually follow a page called “Cornbread & Cooter:” they’re probably a fucking moron. Sadly, my dad shared this.

This one depicts the cat looking at Greta Thunberg. Once again, Okay…

As above, I included the poster, “Country Folks & Patriot’s.” I don’t know why there’s an apostrophe there, but hey, I’m not surprised. Without looking you know it’s a page followed by a bunch of old out-of-touch people that live off a steady diet of Fox News and they took a popular meme and fucked it up and politicized it. And once again it isn’t even funny because it’s trying too hard to prove a point. There’s no humor because it has been replaced by a subtle hatred for Greta only disguised as humor, not that these people give a shit about the trees cut down in the first place.

And countless others that I don’t even want to think about. Naturally I don’t save these when I come across them and only upon writing a blog post do I have to hunt them down. And searching through a handful of Cornbread & Cooter’s images leaves you feeling exhausted with society and people in general. Sometimes I want to go hang myself.

The meme is then basically dead. When people who are out of touch with the original intent and humor get ahold of a meme and defile it, no one who properly knows how to use the meme will do so. It then becomes “uncool” to use (unless you’re being ironic) and the real meme-proficient people, creators, and wizards will stop using it. The funny thing is after the meme falls out of favor with its initial fans and adopters it will still find heavy use in the out-of-touch community because they have no idea that it’s not funny anymore. Once again think Minion memes. The only time these dead memes will finally disappear is when the out-of-touch crowd finds newer, fresher, and unmurded memes to leech onto and then kill. It’s a vicious cycle. The popularity of a meme is what will kill it.

Luckily, some memes seem to transcend this fate by being popular but not popular enough to be adapted by the demographics that will kill them. A few examples I can think of is Elon Musk smoking pot and the goddamn “Here we go again” screenshot from Grand Theft Auto 3: San Andreas. It’s pretty easy to see why they haven’t been widely adopted. Elon smoking pot is just too vague for popular adaptation because you need to know the backstory to see the humor in it. And CJ from GTA is hopelessly (and luckily) stuck within video game cultures and can’t transcend out of it.

A fresh cross adapting a GTA meme into something Stardew Valley related.

I suppose the real death knell of memes is when they end up on t-shirts or whatever. This kills the meme. When you start seeing memes on shirts the humor and the inside joke quality of it are just wiped out, murdered, with zero hope of return. And, oh, would you look at this…

HE’S DEAD, JIM. And no I’m not giving credit for this image because things like this can just go fuck right off into hell.

Sorry lady-yelling-at-cat meme. You were one of the better ones, but all good things must come to an end. A victim of your own success you were and while you’ve followed countless other memes into oblivion and while you’re surely not the last to do so, we will fondly remember the times when your were young, new, and full of promise to all of us. Farewell and Godspeed.

Note: I bitched a little bit about Facebook here, as I’ve done in many past posts, and if you’re curious for an entire book bitching about the negative things about Facebook, I wrote an ebook on it. Please check it out if you’re interested!

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all.

Random Thoughts and Updates

I have a few things I want to write about but nothing important enough to make dedicated blog posts from. I’m kinda curious where all of this will go because I don’t think I’ve written a post like this before.

Being Social Sucks

I suck at replying to people. I’ve literally procrastinated replying to a few people for over a week. I feel terrible about it but apparently that’s how my dysfunctional mind works. And it’s not just the comments on blogs either; I do it everywhere. I’ll check Facebook, see that a comment was left by a person, and I won’t actually check what they said for a day or two. It’s like some part of me likes to have that anticipation of reading a comment and replying to it. Maybe to cherish and savor the comment for a little bit. Like I don’t want to reply and “finish” the conversation quite yet. I really need to work on facing what I dread. Get a notification, check it, reply, and be done with it.

Oh. I also have this problem with my email. WordPress sends me email notifications anytime someone likes my posts, follows the blog, or comments. This isn’t really a problem. The actual problem is my lack of ability to sort through them and delete them. Ideally I want to see what these people have written and if I’m interested to subscribe to their blog. I suck at following through with this.

It isn’t the people who suck that are the problem because their notification emails are easy to delete. Some people can barely spell and I’m not going to follow them. The same is true for people who write blogs about topics that I’m not interested in. Dieting blogs are a good example. Nice blog, well-written, but I don’t want to read about dieting. Some people don’t seem to blog at all and those are easy to delete because what is there to even subscribe to? The hardest ones to decide on are those that seem like they might be decent writers someday but kinda suck currently. Like they haven’t found their voice yet. Or that their topics are kinda interesting but also not at the same time. To sum it up: my email is piled up with WordPress notifications from those who have liked/followed my blog and I can’t delete them because I haven’t went through and seen what these people write about. It seems wrong to blindly delete them, but it isn’t working letting them pile up. Maybe I’ll do that after posting this. Face your fears!

Scheduling Posts? Huh?

I seem to have the most success on this blog when I post around 2 or 3 p.m. I don’t know if this is a real thing or if I’ve just posted unusually good things around this time and there really is no correlation. Whatever. But sometimes you write a magnificent post and finally get it tidied up around 9 or 10 p.m. and I find myself being greedily productive and wanting to post it right as everyone goes to sleep. It’s not a good thing to do. I always imagine I just wrote something amazing and then throw it away by posting during off-hours just because I’m too impatient to wait until the next day to post.

This will be really stupid to other WordPress bloggers that have actually paid attention to how things work, but there is an option under the “publish” button where you can select a time for the post to actually go live. Duh. I’ve always ignored it and slapped the publish immediately button but yeah, scheduling a post for a future date and time is an option, and a nice one at that. So what have I been doing? Scheduling posts for the following day around 1 or 2 p.m. It’s so stupid that I haven’t done it before.

This obviously has a huge upside to it where if you found a giant pile of cocaine you could, theoretically, write all of the blog posts you need for the next week/month and schedule them all. You could knock out all of the work in a day or two and not have to worry about posting things for awhile. There would be some pain tiding the posts up where they’re on par with the typical published posts, but that isn’t too big of deal. I say this because I usually do the “creative” parts of writing whenever the hell I find the inspiration to do so and only do the editing, formatting, publishing — the dirty work — immediately before posting. I’d have to move “the dirty work” to other parts of the day. Whatever.

Will I actually write all the posts on the weekend and have the entire week of blogging set? No. Where is the fun procrastination in that? I’m my own worst enemy.

T-Shirts?

A while ago my sister and I tried to start a “t-shirt business” or something. The basic idea was to make t-shirts that had a local theme to them and spam ads on Facebook with hopes that some gullible and easy-to-convince person would actually buy the things. This wasn’t to be a “real” business but just a teespring store. This did kinda undercut the “locality” of the shirts we were trying to sell. Anyways, it didn’t work out. And I now have a derelict teespring account and site.

A few other bloggers sell t-shirts. And I’ve been thinking of trying that using the teespring account. Not trying it, but doing it. There is no downside to it. I don’t give a shit if I don’t sell a single shirt, and I wouldn’t be trying to pocket a huge profit from them anyways as I usually price the things where I’d only earn like a dollar or two off each sale. I love selling low-margin items. I’m like a Walmart of t-shirts. I do find the idea of having a ton of shirts or other products that say “So-and-so Sucks” on it interesting. It wouldn’t even have to reflect back on the blog! If you have a mug that says “Coffee Sucks” it’s interestingly ironic and funny and is a statement on its own. It’s just stating that something sucks. So maybe I can get around to that someday.

Amazon Royalties Suck

Riding the wonderful line between failure and success is my Amazon Kindle self-publishing project. I have two books I’m selling, one about Facebook Sucking and the other about Options Trading. Yeah. No one has actually purchased anything (feel free to do so!) but apparently I have had some readers in the Amazon Prime program, whatever it’s called. Basically if you’re on Prime you can read my stuff for free. And I earn money for it.

So it’s cool having readers and earning money from these readers, but let’s be honest it isn’t crazy money by a long shot. The first month I received $0.11. The second month I received $0.50. And this month I might even break $1.00! You might think that this upward trend is basically parabolic and that after a year or two I might be raking in $100 per month, but this isn’t the case. The past few months (because Amazon has a delay between readers and royalty payments) has had zero readers. So the next few months will give me $0.00. Yay!

I just wanted to bitch about that. It’s success but it also isn’t success. I don’t know how to feel about it.

Inspiring Others?

I’ve been shipping the periodic blog post to a few of my friends thinking they might get something out of them. What happened was one friend seems to be pretty inspired by what I write, in a total opposite sort of way than what you might expect. He isn’t like, “Woah, cool post! That resonated with me!” but more like, “Woah, cool post! But what you wrote really got my mind going and I wrote a ton of stuff about how you’re totally wrong!” It’s amazing in a way. Seriously. Am I mad or upset by it? Nope. In fact I’m elated that I can serve as a jumping point for others to explore things in their own ways. In a way what he got from my post was even more profound than the trash I had written about enlightenment. I don’t mind serving as inspiration and maybe that’s all I’m trying to do here.

He even mentioned he was thinking of making his own blog basically the exact opposite as mine. Instead of Everything Sucks it might be an Everything is Awesome like the damn Lego Movie song. I find it hilariously amusing that we both might have blogs that constantly bitch about what the other has written where I constantly shit over everything and he constantly talks about how amazing everything is and how terribly wrong I am. Not in a seriously conflicting way, more like “Mr. Negative Guy said this, but he’s wrong. Me being Mr. Positive, I say this.” And so on. Like Yin and Yang having a discussion or something.

I really hope he doesn’t read this rambly post. I sure as hell aren’t going to send him a link to it, that’s for sure.

But sometimes I wonder if I am too negative. Obviously the blog is called Everything Sucks but maybe by constantly framing things in a way to show how they suck this has embedded itself into my head where I’m actually more pessimistic than I normally would be. I know art resembles and reflects on life and art also informs life, but I’m not living or writing a horror story here; I’m just blogging. I don’t get how blogging in a negative way can get under my skin too much, but maybe it can. I don’t have anywhere else to go from here than simply wondering about it. And I think that’s it. Thanks for sticking around for this aimless post.

The Little Mermaid Sucks

Goddamn this entire topic is stupid. Initially I was pissed over the entire “debate” about what race Ariel should be in the upcoming live-action Little Mermaid movie, but the more I thought about it the more pissed I became at social media and people in general. Without social media people probably wouldn’t be foaming at the mouth over something so fucking trivial, pointless, and stupid. I think the “debate” of the Little Mermaid casting choice isn’t the actual problem here: it’s just a symptom of the “outrage culture” that is enabled by social media and especially Facebook. It’s nearly a perfect example of how social media can whip people into a frenzy over something that isn’t a big deal at all.

Let’s also not lie here: this is currently a Hot Fucking Topic and I want to rake in viewers/readers/subscribers while the going is still good. Let me in on all the drama while things are still hot. You know people will totally forget about this in a week so time is of the essence.

To recap a bit: Disney loves making stupid-ass live action movies lately. I’m assuming there are a few reasons for this. They’re cheap to make (they don’t need to make a totally new movie), they can capitalize on nostalgia, and who the fuck knows, maybe Disney is simply getting lazy lately. Either way they’re churning out live actions films that no one really seems to actually be asking for and The Little Mermaid is one of the upcoming ones. Whatever.

Apparently people are going rabid over the fact that Ariel — a white girl in the original film — is now being played by a black girl. HOLY FUCK GUYS, HOL UP! There are a wide-range of arguments going around both for and against this choice: Originalists want Ariel to be white simply because she was white in the animated movie. Fair enough. These people have no real racist motivations to be against a black Ariel, they just think the remake should be as close to the original as possible. Other socially progressive people think that, sure, an African Ariel is also okay as it really doesn’t matter who the hell plays a goddamn mermaid: it is just a movie. I suppose I can see a little truth in each sides’ arguments (At least the typical ones I’ve heard. There are a few raving racists talking about “white culture” being stolen by blacks or some shit like that, but fuck those guys.) but have stayed mostly neutral over it because it is the stupidest thing you could ever argue about (besides the color of a striped dress. Those were the good ole days).

A realistic depiction of “dolphin Ariel.”

Let’s also visit what is being discussed real quickly: the race of a mermaid. I’m sorry to disappoint anyone, but mermaids aren’t real. If you want to really get technical, an aquatic human/fish hybrid probably wouldn’t have any pigment in their skin at all and might look the color of a damn dolphin, once again, if they actually did exist. They wouldn’t be white or black but a kinda cloudy-day-grey color if they actually did exist. This is just me guessing by the way. The fact that people are pissed over the race of a mythical creature is insane. It’s like being pissed if someone put a blue unicorn in a movie. “But unicorns aren’t blue!!!!” What fucking color would they be then? (I think a blue unicorn makes sense: it would have perfect camouflage for flying in the sky. This could help the species evade it’s natural predator, the fire-breathing dragon. Dragons would also probably be blue for the exact same reason lions are orangish.)

Another reason I’ve heard against an African Ariel is some overarching idea that Disney only made this choice for politically correct/public relation reasons, sort of pandering to others so they company appears “racially conscious” or something like that. Implicit in this is the idea that Disney is pandering to a minority of people (blacks) at the expense of pissing off a majority of people (whites). This belief states there is a right and a wrong choice by equating Disney’s pandering with a lack of sound financial reasoning. Basically if Disney really wanted to make a ton of money — according to this line of thought — they wouldn’t piss off white people by making Ariel black. But this doesn’t make sense if you think it through: Disney is a huge, take-over-the-world type of company that (especially since they’re publicly traded, ticker of DIS) wants to rake in as much cash as possible. This is literally their job and they have tons of resources to allow them to do this as effectively as possible. Disney has a small army of smart, talented, mathematically-inclined people accompanied by sociologists and researchers collecting tons of data and doing surveys to find out the exact risk/reward of a black Ariel and have found that it is a net positive for the company. If anything pissing off white people and making Ariel black clearly makes the best financial choice because this is what they decided to do. Disney is in this to make money, and they’re not going to take some feel-good, PR/PC choice if it will lose them money. I honestly think this choice will not backfire on them in any way.

I suppose I view the entire issue as Disney’s choice/problem anyways. They own the rights to the movie so could cast a fucking Indian midget for all I care. I mean it wouldn’t make sense to me, but it’s their movie so fuck it, they’ll do what they want to do. While Disney (the huge company) isn’t a genuine artist (what with all of that money-raking/keeping shareholders happy thing going on), I put all artistic decisions on the artist. It’s their work and they’re in control of whatever they want to do. They are beholden to no one because that’s not how art works. Not that a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is necessarily high art but you get the idea.

And to bring this back around, it’s probably social media’s fault anyways. It is the venue where all of this bullshit drama can actually take place: people wouldn’t get this fired up if they had to actually have a conversation about it. I imagine a conversation would go something like this: an Originalist would say “I think Ariel should be white — not because I have anything against black people — but simply because she was white in the original.” And the other person could say “Hmm. I guess I understand that, but it doesn’t change the fundamentals of the story. It isn’t hurting anything for her to be black. It gives black girls someone to identify with.” And they could agree to disagree with a little appreciation for the opposing view. On social media it’s just posting/sharing foaming-at-the-mouth posts that just piss everyone off who disagrees with you. As always there is no real conversation and is just people shouting what their beliefs to others. We pick our sides, start posting/screaming, and hope to drown out the opposite view through shear force and the consensus of the crowd.

And then there’s me: a person who is complaining about people complaining about a silly topic on social media. The irony isn’t lost on me either so no need to point this out. If you guys want to start a dumpster fire in the comments below or on this blogs Facebook page with your Hot Opinions, go right ahead. It’ll be fun to watch. The Little Mermaid Sucks.

Facebook Sucks: Anonymity and the Futility of Chasing “Likes”

Note: This is another “chapter” from my “upcoming ebook” on why Facebook Sucks. It seemed like it would fit well enough here so here ya go. Once again it is pretty rambly but whatever.

I’m a huge fan of the social media website Reddit. If you really want to check it out here’s the link (You lazy fucks. Google it yourself). They also have an app if you’re one of those people. Others on Reddit say the app is kinda shitty so do what you want. The thing I really like about Reddit after the dedicated subreddits for any and everything is the fact that it’s a semi-anonymous site and they pull it off beautifully. You might think that being fully-anonymous or non-anonymous would win out on any pro/con analysis but I don’t think this is true. Let me elaborate.

The shitty website called 4chan is totally anonymous: you post stuff and no one knows it’s you. This is nice in a way because you can be your unabashed self. If you discovered as a teen that you really like hentai and furry-porn, you can indulge your hearts (or any other body parts) content on 4chan and no one will judge you for it. Sure people might judge the graphic tentacle monster and underage anime girl you posted, but they can’t judge you as an individual person with an identity. They can’t say “Did you see what Jimmy posted the other day? Holy Fuck he’s strange.” You’re simply free to post and comment whatever you want. Obviously this comes with the downside that when people are free in anonymity they can say some really hateful, racist, homophobic, and other -phobic ideas (LINK NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!). 4chan isn’t a website for the faint-of-heart.

Facebook, on the other hand, has the opposite problem where you have no anonymity. Sure there are some people with fake profiles, but I think for the most we are ourselves on Facebook. Since your Facebook profile is a representation and projection of your real self you have to worry about your “internet self-image” or some shit like that that sounds really stupid when you write it out. If you are the aforementioned furry-porn enthusiast you might not be able to represent that facet of yourself to you boss, grandma, pastor, wife, mother, or whoever else you’re friends with. You’re restricted in what you can be open about and this restriction is a huge downside with any form of social media. In our normal IRL selves we already have this restriction so extending it to social media doesn’t help any form of self-expression.

The upside to not being anonymous is the fact that you can have a “record” of your social media exploits, i.e. how many “likes” and “shares” you get and (usually) other people can see this. Sites like 4chan have no way to track your “progress” because you’re anonymous. This is where Reddit really shines with its semi-anonymity: you are a person with a username, although this isn’t connected to your IRL self at all. You can collect “points” (in the form of something called “karma”) and see how popular your comments and posts are by how many “upvotes” you’ve gotten. In short you and others get to see a “record” of what your profile has accomplished, how popular you are, and some redditors on their respective subreddits are nearly famous in the quality content they create. Reddit lets you be a person that is free to act however you want but also gives you an identity to work with all without the worry of committing a “social media faux pas” of posting furry/tentacle porn on your Facebook page.

People on Reddit joke about “fake internet points” aka “karma” and they’re totally right with the terminology. It doesn’t make any sense to accumulate “karma,” “likes,” or “shares” at all (or whatever form the “fake internet points” take on your favorite website), and in all objectivity these things are totally fucking pointless. But for some reason knowing your shitpost on r/WallStreetBets has gotten 5,000 upvotes makes you feel like you’re progressing as a socially-adept human or something. I really think Facebook would be much more addictive and potent if they had a “total reaction and share” counter for your posts so you have one or two really quick and concrete numbers to see how popular you are with your Hot Facebook Opinions and Influencing Posts. Then the whole point of Facebook then would really be to shitpost your way to more Internet Points and you’d have a counter for it.

What I’m trying to get to in a roundabout way is how chasing these fake internet points is a hollow sort of pursuit and one that doesn’t fulfill you in any meaningful way. In a way everything is kinda pointless and chasing money, degrees, fancy cars, sexual partners or anything is really the same level of pointlessness (in the grand scheme of the universe) as anything else. Probably everyone as an edgy teenager has had this extremely nihilistic outlook but quickly abandons it because of the inability to actually function in life when you think that everything is, in the end, pointless. Eventually you reach a point where you know that everything is pointless but you need to do something in your life because you can’t just not exist to spite the universe. Mostly because the universe doesn’t give a fuck about you.

So what makes farming for Facebook “likes” less fulfilling than actual IRL progress? For me it is the amount of self-fulfillment you get out of actually doing something difficult. As stated, Facebook is like a lazy-man’s form of social interaction and social interaction that is as easy as typing shit on a screen isn’t going to be as satisfying as actual interaction. Consider talking to a romantic interest: it’s really easy to just send a creepy Facebook message and slide into those DMs, but it’s immensely difficult to actually talk to them. So when you actually do go out of your way to talk like a real person does, you feel so much better for it. You feel like you’ve accomplished something. Actually interacting with people is almost always more satisfying than “interacting” on social media even if it is something trivial.

Another thing I noticed is that getting “likes” or “shares” is a pursuit on its own. Getting a college degree is the final product of years of hard work and I think we like to think of farming internet points as a “final goal” but really those are like the “years of hard work” with the caveat that it doesn’t actually have a final goal. What I’m trying to say is that farming Facebook “likes” has no end: you’re always chasing the next accomplish in getting “likes” and other forms of social media approval. There will never be a point to where you’ve “succeeded” at having “likes” on Facebook. You’re never finished chasing the social media approval of others.

What happens is you get addicted and accustomed to the upward climbing views/shares/likes/upvotes on your posts and you start to think that this is like a rule or a law or something. You might think that you’re just that cool of a person and people really like you. You naturally want these numbers to continually grow forever so when they don’t — when you post something that isn’t quite a popular as the rest — you feel like a failure. Did you do something wrong? Do people not like you anymore? Are you socially not part of “the cool crowd?” You might even put more effort into carefully crafting the next Successful Post and if that’s successful, congrats, you’ve temporarily saved your mood. If that fails, well, you just feel like a fucking failure.

The YouTube channel Veritasium recently had a great video explaining this phenomena in terms of YouTube burnout. In short he argues that as the YouTube algorithm changes, popular YouTubers find that they aren’t popular anymore. This is totally outside their control and while they have been making quality content non-stop have taken to blaming themselves for the lack of “quality” or “getting away from their roots” or something that is their fault. While the problem of chasing Facebook approval isn’t at the mercy of an algorithm (as much) like YouTube the main points are still the same; people get used to increasing approval and popularity and when it wanes people feel like shit and blame themselves. This is true in almost any pursuit but the fact that this can happen so quickly in regards to social media approval is scary. Like athlete or a writer might take years and decades to really “peak” while you could find a “social media approval” peak in a month or two. Then you can repeat the cycle over and over as you never learn your lesson.

The problem with “likes” being your pursuit is that it is too easy to let the growing approval get into your head. There’s nothing to moderate the addiction. When you get this mindset — consciously or unconsciously — you will never be satisfied. If you had a wildly successful post you will crave the next successful post and do everything you can to top the last one. This is true with everything, but the accessibility of this in terms of Facebook “likes” is especially dangerous to the average person. We get corrupted by the idea that we might be the next big YouTuber or influencer that we put much more time, effort, and energy into something that will eventually, certainly let us down and is in the end pretty fucking pointless. They are just Fake Internet Points as Redditors jokingly call them.