I turn my laptop on in the morning already knowing that the battle continued raging even while I was asleep.  Indeed, shots were fired in the middle of the night.

“You have to ask yourself, are you here for the revolution?  Are you a revolutionary or what?”

I’m definitely a “what.”  And the correct category is…?

“Are you a patriot?  Are you fighting for liberty?  We are continuing our fight against the useless bureaucrats in D.C.”

“How can any liberal support Hillary?”

“How can any conservative support Kasich?”

“Bernie will smash the banks…”

“Trump will keep those illegals out…”

Remember when the Internet used to be all about posting pictures of babies, lunches and kittens?  Believe it or not, I really miss that time.

“You people are privileged and don’t know what it’s like to struggle…”

Hey, everyone!  Here’s a video of Chirpy!

“You people have never had a real job or paid taxes–you don’t what it’s like out there in the adult world…”

“Old and square…”

“Young and dumb…”

Chirpy is a parakeet.  He likes to play the synth…

“Racist…”

“Politically correct sheeple…”

“Fascist…”

“Communist…”

Watch him play the Game of Thrones theme!

“You Nazis should get sent to camps…”

He even whistles along!

“You SJWs should get shot into a ditch…”

And isn’t it hilarious how the cat is watching him from below?

Right?

Guys?

“Let’s burn everything down!”

“Let’s burn everything down!”

It’s not too late.  We don’t have to burn everything down.

 

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Here I sit, the winner of my own private civil war, and what have I gained?

Bombs were thrown and insults were lobbed back and forth.  “Liberal Demoshit.”  This was a fight in the family, so relatives jumped in.  “Well, you’re a right wing piece of shit.”  The battle had to end with the final shot–the unfriending.

Granted, the guy in question is an asshole.  He has a virulent hatred of the President and the First Lady.  And he doesn’t do a very good job of hiding the fact that his hatred has a lot to do with their skin color.

It should be easy to crow over how stupid he is.  But there is no feeling of triumph after a debate with a Trump supporter.  There’s no satisfaction in having to cut off a part of my family.  There’s only an empty sensation.  I hate conflict.  I hate fighting and mudslinging.  My “uncle” hit me with a low blow, but I allowed myself to get dragged down there with him, and became just as much of an idiot as he was.

And it’s a bad sign of what’s been happening, more and more, to all of us.  We can’t be friends if we’re on the opposite sides of the political party divide.  And now it’s even difficult for members of the same party.  I bite my tongue and stay quiet about the worries I have about a potential Bernie presidency, because I don’t want more unfriendings in my life.

I get the premonition that someday we’ll be standing there, looking at the charred, smoking remnants of our homes, our family relationships, our country.  We’ll shake our heads sadly and say:  “Yeah, it all started with an online argument….”

 

My blogging friend nananoyz recently posted about giving up her Candy Crush addiction. Naturally, this brought to mind my own online obsession…

Every day, I tell myself that I will only spend a little bit of time on it. And every day, I end up scrolling down and down, down the Facebook newsfeed rabbit hole, getting sucked into that swamp of pop culture detritus and endlessly repeated memes. After a while, everything runs together…suggestive selfies and announcements of a death in the family…funny dog videos and petitions about animal torture…inspirational quotes and sad break-ups and Darth Vader toys and cocktails and people Liking each other and telling each other how beautiful and awesome and amazing they are in a giant skin-deep clusterfuck of momentary connections…I can’t stop to think about any of it anyway, because there is the next thing to see and the next…

An hour or so later, I surface again, my brain dulled, my eyes glazed over, my attention span shrivelled down to that of a fruit fly with ADD, so that I have a hard time focusing for the length of a stupid Taylor Swift song. “It’s okay. Tomorrow I’ll only a spend a few minutes on it.”

But the compulsion to shoot myself up with junk remains, and the Facebook dealer is always there, giving its goods away for free, tempting me with those shiny pictures and videos. What if I miss out on stuff? OMG! I have to check Facebook!

Lord knows, if I didn’t, I might actually end up caring about something important….

If I post a picture of myself wearing a fashionable hat, will I be fabulous?

If I post a picture of myself wearing heels, will you love me?

If I post a picture of myself having drinks at the bar, will my life be exciting?

If I post a picture of me and my boyfriend grinning into the camera, will my relationship be happier?

If you Liked me, does that mean you like me?

If I post about how much I love myself, will I love myself?

If I’m having one of those days when I’m curled up in a ball in my room, but I still drag myself to the computer and post about how fantastic my day is, will my day be fantastic?  Will I be accepted?  Will I become one of you?  Will you give me the secret password to your world?  If I keep talking, will what I say mean something to you?

Or will I turn off the computer and go sit in the sunlight in my garden, where I don’t have to be anyone or say anything?  What’s on my mind right now?  Absolutely nothing, and it’s beautiful.

Turns out that scientists have been unable to find any trace of time travellers on the Internet.  I know–I didn’t realize there were scientists looking for signs of online time travel, either.  Physicists at Michigan Technological University decided to adopt the strategy of coming up with two phrases–“Pope Francis” and “Comet Ison”–that were not in popular use before 2012 or 2013, and Googling for any earlier use of these words, to see if a time traveller may have been dropping hints on the Internet.

But nope, nothing.  So either time travel doesn’t exist, or our future selves are so spiritually enlightened that we no longer waste our time endlessly surfing the Web.  Since that second option is unlikely, I’ll go with “time travel doesn’t exist”.  Unless whoever travelled in time just didn’t care about either Pope Francis or comet Ison.  Maybe they were too busy predicting the rise of twerking?

Looks like we’ve got no time travelling, no prophecy–we’re stuck with the good old-fashioned method of guessing what will happen.  Some of our guesses are pretty good.  Presenting this article from back in 2004: 

Remember the name Barack Obama. You’ll be hearing it a lot as this election season unfolds.

Mr. Obama, a Democrat, is tall, thin, youthful and very smart, and he’s running (sometimes literally, depending on the schedule) for a U.S. Senate seat from Illinois.

He’s got a million-dollar smile and he’s charismatic. At the moment he has a substantial lead in the polls. If that lead holds and he wins in November, he’ll be only the third African-American to take a seat in the Senate since Reconstruction.

His partisans describe Mr. Obama as a dream candidate, the point man for a new kind of politics designed to piece together a coalition reminiscent of the one blasted apart by the bullet that killed Robert Kennedy in 1968.

The article describes Barack Obama as the future of politics, but doesn’t get everything right.  The hilarious part of the prediction is that Obama will help the country’s politics be less divisive….I think the writer may have been overestimating the sanity of our nation.  Well, nobody is going to guess correctly 100% of the time…unless you are a time traveller reading this, in which case, tell us what the hell happens with Ted Cruz?

 

Yesterday, as always, I was spending my time on the train obsessively checking Facebook on my phone, as were about half of my fellow passengers.  Once in a while, I stop and realize it–I spend more time than ever following every little thing my friends say, and yet less time than ever in my life actually talking to friends face to face.  

I’ve always been an introvert.  I would get anxious about making a phone call, even if it was to a person I liked (sometimes especially if it was to a person I liked).  I had to push myself to go out and meet people, and still have to.  So our new “chatting with each other through tech gadgets” culture actually makes things easier for me.  I feel much more comfortable commenting on someone’s status on my phone than I would be using that phone to speak to them.  I’m more comfortable spouting my opinions in a blog than at a dinner party.  So this feels fine to me, except for small moments of doubt when I wonder if I should be spending my time playing with real cats as opposed to viewing cat pictures.  (Answer to that question:  no, because I’m allergic to cats.)

But I can only imagine how difficult this new world might be for people who, unlike me, need human interaction.  What would it be like to be a gregarious extrovert in a world in which all you get are virtual hugs and pokes on Facebook?

Then again, the extroverts are probably still doing those things that always made me nervous, making phone calls and meeting their friends.  That’s why they’re out partying on a Friday night and I’m here blogging about modern modes of communication.  Well, that and I’m working tomorrow, so I can’t stay up.  Good night, everyone in online land.

What I used to think Facebook would be like:  An exciting rendezvous with friends, during which we share our secret hopes and fears, express our controversial opinions, and have philosophical debates….

What it is actually like:  A formal dinner party with acquaintances, co-workers and neighbors, during which we make small talk about the weather, quote funny stories we heard on the news, show each other pictures of cute cats and babies…and there are salesmen constantly trying to crash the event.

Mind you, I don’t think this has anything to do with Facebook’s lack of success on the stock market…If Facebook was the kind of place I’d like it to be, its stock value would be even lower.