From my friend Perry:
I’m thinking this morning of all the benefits that “Social Media” have brought us.
The first that comes to mind is the way that it operates like the propaganda department of the NSDAP, reducing all complicated issues to minimal-length slogans.
Indeed, Twitter has explicitly restricted us to 140 characters for all thoughts, thus assuring that only the simplest possible ideas can be expressed. However, even Facebook has managed to provide a forum in which complexity in ideas is to be shunned, and conformity with simplistic, memeable positions is to be lauded. (The platonic form of the “good person” in our brave new world holds only those ideas that fit into three or four words on an image macro.)
Also, now that the Church of Manichean Thinking is our national religion, accepted for all purposes by people of all political stripes, all actors in all events must be either 100% good or 100% bad, and all events must have (for narrative purposes) a “good guy” and a “bad guy”. (Any flaw whatsoever reveals that one is completely satanic.)
All political positions in the Church of Manichean Thinking must be categorized as either “completely in agreement with me” or “only a [insert bogeyman] could say that, so you must be [insert term for vilest evil].”
All events must be categorized as either being so horrible and important that they portend the end of the earth, or nearly the best thing ever, though frankly only the former happens, because good things are too boring to notice, let alone discuss.
Another wonderful feature is how our news media now take their cues from Twitter and the like, thus providing us with 24 hour overstimulation of our emotions. I can now reliably tune in to NPR, the “serious” news broadcaster, and hear what is, for practical purposes, a slightly longer form version of my social media stream. (Or should I really say “sewer”, because “stream” brings to mind something sun-dappled and bucolic, while what I get from Twitter and Facebook is more like the output from a factory whose sole purpose is the production of toxic waste and excrement.)
Lastly, let me note how soothing and pleasant it is to watch the outrage machine drunkenly lurch from one crisis to the next. Indeed, the only thing that gets the machine to stop focusing on the current civilization-ending evil that must be stopped at all costs is the appearance of the next, which inevitably happens within days, for the public now has the attention span of a three year old on a sugar rush.
It’s all the sort of thing that makes me proud to be a [insert name of group it is currently acceptable to be part of].