Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ten Commandments for Facebook, According to Me.

1. Thou shalt not air your dirty laundry on Facebook
You are not Taylor Swift. You should not be naming names. There are two couples having giant, ugly, nasty-ass breakups on my Facebook feed right now, and it's gross. Stop it. Have some class. Or at least get more creative about your revenge.

2. Thou shalt not post incessant pictures of what you ate all the time.
a.) no one cares, b.) now I'm hungry, c.) when I realize I'm actually spending time looking at the half-eaten fish and chips you ate this summer I feel bad about my life.

3. Thou shalt not make your default a picture of your kids without you in it.
Come on, people. Think about this one for a second.

4. Thou shalt not invite me to get free stuff.
Uggs, iPads, laptops...if you think you're seeing any of it I have this friend who's a Nigerian prince who would LOVE to chat with you. Aaand by now some Slovakian teenager has your credit card number, so that's good.

5. Thou shalt not post pictures of thy friends in compromising positions.
Solo cups and shot glasses are one thing, your friend puking while she still has forties taped to her hands and a guy in a flatbrim and two polo shirts is licking her face is another. Come on. Be nice. Actually, all I have to say on this subject is: New Year's Eve 2009. Thanks a heap, bitch.

6. Thou shalt edit.
"breakfast, chemistry from 9-12, then homework." Fascinating. "watching the office and having a sandwich" Scintillating. A picture of your leg after you had a cast on it for three months, or of a boil you got lanced on your back. Delightful. A lot of people don't understand that the Internet is this magical place where you can be whoever you want--you can project exactly the image you want. I'm not saying lie, but before you hit "share," ask yourself: Does anyone care? Does this have to do with my bodily functions? Should I perhaps reevaluate my life if I'm telling Facebook how gassy I am?

7. Thou shalt not confuse Facebook for Twitter.
If you must live-blog a sporting event/television finale/your trip to the dentist, get a Twitter account. That's where that kind of thing belongs. If you blow up my feed with fifteen updates about the One Tree Hill finale, you're probably getting defriended. (Isn't it fun to think about how ten years ago no one would have any idea what that sentence means?)

8. Thou shalt not confuse Facebook for Livejournal.
If you must tell the Internet about your feelings, get a Livejournal. Or if possible some friends/a therapist/a goldfish. "Joe Schmoe is bummed" is ok, "I'm such a terrible person but i have so much love to give, why doesn't anyone love meeee" is just awkward. Come on.

9. Thou shalt remember that it's just software.
Some things don't belong on Facebook. If you're offering your sympathy, send a card. If you're dumping somebody, do it in person. If you're Facebook chatting with someone down the hall, walk down the hall and talk to her. If you're still playing Farmville...maybe go outside and see some real plants. Get a little vitamin D. You're looking kind of peaked.

10. Thou shalt not be that dude who never checks Facebook.
If you're going to have one, use it at least once in awhile. People actually do a fair amount of their social planning/scheduling on Facebook now, and it's just obnoxious if people think they can reach you but you don't go on for weeks. It's Zuckerberg's world, we just live in it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Strongly Worded Letter About Jesus and Stuff.

This is a letter to the editor that I wrote tonight, regarding a column that The New Hampshire ran this week. I don't know if I'm allowed to really write letters to the editor since I'm actually on the editorial staff, but anyway. I'm pissed. That's 80% of why I have a blog.

In his Oct. 19 column, Nick Mignanelli writes “I think it’s kind of charming how liberals are so quick to drag religious institutions that they inherently despise into the death penalty debate.” (emphasis mine.) I am a liberal and a Catholic, and Mignanelli does not speak for me.

Christians are to be imitators of Christ. That means working for tolerance, love, charity and peace--and those interests are best served by liberals. Jesus said love the poor. Jesus said “sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven…It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:17:21-25). Sounds practically—gasp!—socialist.

If Jesus were here today, he’d be pro-welfare, pro-healthcare, and most certainly anti-execution. (Mignanelli seems to have forgotten that Jesus was a victim of the death penalty.) And if he were around today, Jesus would not be hanging out with Pat Robertson and crowing about how public schools aren’t allowed to display the Ten Commandments—he’d be in the roughest part of the projects, serving lunch at a soup kitchen. That’s why I’m a Christian. And although Mignanelli doubtless considers me a “cafeteria Catholic,” he should not make sweeping assertions like “liberals inherently despise religion.” That’s a remarkably ignorant statement, plain and simple.

Mignanelli says “In addition to their nominal stance against the death penalty, doesn’t the magesterium of the Catholic Church also have some strong feelings about abortion, family planning, and stem cell research? It’s interesting how liberals would never cite the Catholic Church’s expertise on those issues.” This is true—because the Catholic Church’s “expertise” on those issues is null. Here’s a secret—most Catholics don’t listen to the Church for family planning advice, either. The Catholic Church is run by celibate men. Men who have neither sex nor families cannot dispense sound advice on family planning. The Church still insists you’re going to hell if you use condoms, take hormonal birth control or use any other form of artificial contraception—even within marriage. A few diehards in Rome and elsewhere would still tell you that if a thirteen-year-old girl with Down syndrome gets raped and becomes pregnant, she’s going to hell if she gets an abortion. Is that the “expertise” Mignanelli is referring to?

I care deeply about my faith, and I’m a liberal--but people like Mignanelli are the reason I don't always tell my sane, liberal friends that I'm a Catholic right away. I'm conflicted about it enough without wannabe teenage pundits like this giving the church of Mother Teresa, Oscar Romero and Dorothy Day a bad name. If you are going to be a conservative---marginalizing the poor, giving advantages to the rich, oppressing immigrants and gays and promoting the death penalty--don’t do it in the name of Christ. And stop calling me and the thousands like me “cafeteria Catholics.” I’m a soup kitchen Catholic.

Some of the pissier stuff got left out of the letter, because I'm classy like that. Now watch this, because it's awesome:

I'm totally going to hell, guys.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thanks for the Tip.

Sometimes, I just really hate being a journalism student. Journalism is one of those jobs that everyone thinks they're an expert on, whether they have any actual experience in it or not. In that way it's not unlike being mom, or the President of the United States. Everyone has opinions about The Future of Media, everyone remarks that "the newspaper business is really tough right now" (Thanks, Uncle Harry...WE KNOW) and everyone has ethical tips, story tips, tips on how to pretty much act like Dustin Hoffman in All the President's Men. I know I'm just a kid, but I actually go to school for this. All this stuff that you're imparting to me like life's great secrets? I talk about it, think about it and write about it every day. I was, in fact, fully aware that most people read the news online. But thanks.

Another thing people like to tell journalism students: there's no money in it. (Gosh, I don't know why they haven't given you your own show on MSNBC!) I've basically resigned myself to this, although there are days when I think that owning a new car at some point in my adult life might be nice. Realistically, I should bag a rich guy and call it a day, but my boyfriend is also a journalist and I have to say I'm pretty attached to him just the way he is, so I guess we're really up a fiduciary creek. (But you know, together. Aw.) By the way, I saw the Facebook movie last weekend--Mark Zuckerberg was a billionaire by the time he was 23. I'm going to be lucky if I have health insurance by the time I'm 23. (I know I should under Obama's new healthcare program, but as long as millions of people with guns and an eighth grade education are listening to Glenn Beck I'm not counting on that puppy just yet.)

I should lay off old people--they're just making conversation. My real favorite is when people comment (anonymously, of course) about how an editorial is bad "journalism." Excuse me, but are you fucking kidding me?

But you know what? We keep on plugging, we future journalists of America, even though some of us are inevitably the future service industry workers of America. Sometimes I think I might want to get into something else before it's too late, but really, it's never too late. Maybe I'll go to grad school and be a teacher. Maybe I'll get into nonprofits. Neither of which are much more profitable than journalism, so maybe I'll really sell my soul and go into advertising. (Granted, most of my ideas about advertising come from Mad Men, but if there's even half as much drinking and midday sex as there is on that show you can sign me up.) For now, though, it's journalism for me. The thing is, I just really love to write and I really love hearing people's stories. And I'm really bad at math.

I would appreciate it Pete Seeger could just be my grandpa. Well, him and Joe Biden.