I really wish people would shut the fuck up about Game of Thrones. I’m currently reading book three and am just about at the Red Wedding, and while I have had several key plot points spoiled for me already, I still don’t know what the big deal about that scene is. So please don’t ruin it for me. I’m generally cautious about spoiling shit for other people, because try as we might to appreciate the hows and whys of the story, knowing the what beforehand can’t help but ruin it, if only just a little. I guess I should know better than to go on Facebook the day after the penultimate episode of the season airs. I find that most media is best absorbed at a distance, so that one does not skim the day’s headlines and think that the world will be ending this afternoon. The main problem with the internet (and social media specifically) is that it’s so immediate. Something happens on the other side of the world and everyone here knows about it within the hour, if it takes even that long. Is that really necessary? I don’t need a million Facebook statuses commemorating the death of somebody none of us even knew. If you’re going to do that, please make sure it was somebody who was really important to you, somebody whose death really hit you. Roger Ebert’s death was like that for me. So was Christopher Hitchens’. It shouldn’t be too hard to see their influences in my writing.
Let me be clear about something: I’m not saying that it’s wrong to take a minute after something big happens to express your shock that Michael Jackson just died on Game of Thrones or whatever. I’m just saying that I hate the way that so many people’s first impulse upon hearing or seeing something interesting is to share it on Facebook or Twitter or what have you. I see interesting stuff all the time, but I don’t share it all on Facebook. There’s this moving article by Chaz Ebert about dealing with her husband’s death a month after the fact. Even though I didn’t know Roger personally, I know just how she feels. There’s this video, which is NSFW and which I definitely didn’t watch five or six times yesterday just because I liked seeing him bounce that ass. And then there’s this New York Times post, which I didn’t read (actually, I did), but is probably very informative.
I remember the morning of November 5, 2008. It had been a pretty crazy night. Barack Obama had gotten elected president and the students in my town held what was basically an impromptu parade. I didn’t go out, instead staying in to finish a project, but it was still, as Joe Biden might say, a big fucking deal. Then I woke up, went to class, and heard that Proposition 8 had passed, making gay marriage illegal in California (again). That’s the definition of mixed feelings right there. But I didn’t realize just how upside down everything was until I logged onto Facebook and saw that I had received FIVE invites from marriage equality groups. I posted a status saying that was a little excessive. Some obnoxious girl (whom I later severed ties with in a rather public and dramatic fashion) told me I was being complacent. I got very annoyed.
I don’t think people quite appreciate just how private a means of expression a blog truly is. It’s not quite like a diary or even the same as a journal so much as just a means of airing your personal grievances anonymously and publicly at the same time. I bring this up because I feel that in our very exhibitionist age, it’s important to understand just how easy it is for information that we don’t want shared to be shared, and why it’s even more important to understand that once it’s out there, it’s out there, and if we don’t make too big of a deal of it, it will probably be forgotten fairly quickly with no harm done. Barack Obama had the good fortune to grow up in a time in which people were not constantly taking pictures and recording videos at parties, and so we do not have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that there are photos of the POTUS snorting coke, for example. But there might be someday. I’d be a little more worried if there were pictures of him forcibly cutting off a gay kid’s hair, for example, but it’s not the existence of the pictures that would really trouble me. (Ironically, I have no desire to ever run for president, which seems like almost a waste, as there are no nude or even very humiliating images of me floating around anywhere.)
Digression: It drives my inner Grammar Nazi up the wall to see people using “I” as the object of the sentence. If you are the subject of the sentence, you say “I”. If you are the object, you say “me”. We were all taught at a very young age to say “somebody else and I” instead of “me and somebody else”, but now people have taken that too far and are saying “Somebody bought somebody and I a gift” rather than “Somebody bought somebody and me a gift”. Just perform a simple test: If you take the other person out of the sentence, is “I” or “me” correct? You’d sound like an idiot saying “Somebody bought I a gift”, wouldn’t you? This is a mistake I’m starting to see even in journalism, where the editors, if not the writers, should really know better. The next time I hear or see someone make this mistake, I will bludgeon them to death with a bust of Teddy Roosevelt. (I dunno, it just seems like the most practical weapon.)