Everything You Idiots Care About is Stupid

AKA, Reflections Appropriate to Any Time Spend on Twitter

I hate your stupid opinions.

I hate reading them. I hate hearing you express them. I hate the way you just repeat things you’ve heard. I hate the way you never pause to examine if anything you’re repeating is true.

I hate the way Social Media has made us dumber. I used to read the newspaper when I was a kid. Mostly the Washington Post, mostly the editorial section, because even in my youth I had intuited that the “news” was a bowdlerized version meant to be shoehorned into a narrative by the crusading Journalists who pretended to speak Truth to Power while actually speaking MiniTruth to everyone else. That meant I read some people who I agreed with, and some I disagreed with.

But I read it, in silence, with no expectation of doing anything with it other than integrate it into my thinking. I didn’t run around the house or neighborhood letting everyone else no my opinion of it. I didn’t assume anyone cared for my particular take of Colbert King’s column.

Today, that would be done by Re-Tweeting it to everyone who “followed” me, with some manner of “sick own” or cretinous applause, such as “This!” or “READ THE WHOLE THING.” I wouldn’t be reading it to read it, but to decide whether it was Of My Sort or not, and make a big deal about it accordingly.

Social media has turned us all into bad journalists. And there were already plenty of those.

So, no, your reaction to the President’s last tweet, or the Olympics, or whether Black Panther is the GREATEST THING SINCE THE LUMIERE BROTHERS INVENTED CINEMA, or whatever one media clown said to another media clown, is not important. It won’t add anything. It does not create, it will not enlighten. It doesn’t exist on its own. It’s just a shout in a noisy room.

And it’s making you angry, and it’s feeding the devil you most want to crack down on. Because you get more of what you pay attention to.

And just in case you decide I’m not practicing what I’m preaching, understand that I could write a nice rant about the Olympics if I wanted to, because there’s very few things I detest as much as the Olympics. Watching the Olympics is about as much fun as watching… other people ski and ice skate.

Let that sink in.

And of course, you have to hear about their inspiration Life Stories first. As if I’m supposed to be interested that some derp had to get up early to practice flinging himself down a mountainside. I assume you have to practice to be good enough for the Olympics.

To say nothing of the fact that the costs of hosting these tedious games can bankrupt cities:

But honestly, I already don’t feel like saying anything else about it. I don’t want to argue with people who want to wonder how in the name of Cheese and Rice the Chinese judge couldn’t give the South Korean girl full points for landing that triple salchow. I don’t want to listen to you tell me “Figure Skating is too a sport, rather than a subjectively-scored performance art!”

I. Do. Not. Care.

And if I spend time arguing about it, I will have to care. I will have to come up with a tendentious definition of “sport” specifically rendered to exclude people who have trained their lives away to do something incredibly difficult that I’ve never even considered attempting.

Is that an addition to anyone’s lives?

No.

So let’s all consider not sharing. Not re-tweeting. Not owning, or applauding, or cross-posting, meme-ing or swiping right.

Let’s try reading, and thinking. Let’s try doing. Let’s try keeping the noise down.

Now get off my lawn.

The Olympics Make No Sense

I don’t get anything about what I’ve been watching for the last few days. Maybe for the past few Olympics. Things were simpler when I was a kid, when the Olympics were nothing more than the Cold War in athletic form. It seemed to matter then; I seemed to care. But every passing of the torch leaves me sitting in blinking bemusement on my couch, asking a series of snarky questions that all amount to “what the hell is going on?”

So am I drunk, or did I actually watch the Queen of England pretend to parachute from a plane with the actor who plays James Bond? And is it no more than a sign of creeping age that I can not help but wonder if her father was even asked to do anything remotely theatrical at the last London Olympics in ’48?

And could Danny Boyle really come up with no better way to illustrate the change from an industrial to a digital Britain than an ersatz After-School Special set to every last hit song from the 1960’s forward, the message of which seemed to be that cell phones lead to house party sex? And why did the one song NBC had to cut off for station identification have to be “Pretty Vacant”, which would seem to be the theme of the whole exercise?

But more important, do we really need all of that to interest us in the Olympics? Must every opening ceremony be a three-hour multimedia infomercial for the host country? Can’t they just run the torch in and make with the volleyball?

Of course, if everything just started with the Parade of Nations, I’d still find myself crabbing about, of all things, clothes. I don’t know why the Russian team was wearing cowboy hats and the American team was wearing berets. I don’t know who told the German team that they looked good dressed as Teletubbies. I don’t know why the British team went with the Gay Astronaut look. All I know is that the dishdashas worn by Arab athletes looked stately and dignified by comparison. Clearly the terrorists’ mind control experiments are a success.

And then, two weeks of gymnastics, the figure skating of the Summer games. Every four years I have to re-learn the difference between a lutz and a salchow, and every four years I feel the compulsion to yell at a group of teenage tumblers regarding their failure to Stick The Landing. Meanwhile, a 33-year-old skeet shooter from El Monte, CA, just became the first American athlete to win five individual medals in five consecutive Olympics. They couldn’t show that instead of the Men’s Semifinal Qualifying Non-medal Heat?

For more on the inherent creepiness of girls’ women’s gymnastics, see Stacy McCain.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to shout “USA! USA!” louder, so I can avoid the quadrennial complaint about the lack of javelin and fencing coverage.