How Utterly Useless (A Certain Part of) Facebook has Become

So, Facebook used to be that social networking site that allowed you to see pictures of what your friends have been up to, that site that allowed you to read about interesting events in your friends’ social lives, and even that site that helped you reconnect with lost friends from elementary school or something along those lines. These features have not necessarily disappeared from Facebook, but unfortunately, nowadays Facebook seems to be clogged with “fan pages” that link to pictures that usually say trite (rarely intuitive) sayings or quips about life in general. In other words, Facebook is slowly turning into a sort of Memebase or Reddit, with the guise of still being a respectable social networking site. It wouldn’t be a personal problem, except for the fact that I have to spend a good fifteen minutes to even find a post that’s from one of my Facebook friends rather than a post from one of these fan pages.

You could simply responds, “Why don’t you just un-fan the fan pages?” That does seem likely a dandy solution. But these Facebook fan pages have a way of cohorting. What I mean by this is, five or so different fan pages will post the same picture and the same time, or even multiple pictures at the same time, as if they have been planning to piss me off the next time I check my Facebook. So even if I remove my connection from half of my fan pages, I’ll still be seeing the same useless, uninspiring photos. To be honest, I do not know much about how computer viruses or spam bots work, but the fact that several Facebook fan pages often post the same picture at the same time, with the same caption, bothers me. It appears as though the original creators of the fan pages have somehow given up control of the fan pages to a virus or a spam bot. What really irks me is how often times, the picture or photo has NOTHING to do with the topic of the fan page. A few examples from my Facebook news feed: The title of the fan page is, “I Missed Your Call By a Second, I Call Right Back and You Don’t Answer!”, and the title of the photo is, “Spectacular Shots of Mountain Reflections”; The title of the fan page is, “I was awake at midnight on 01/01/2010”, and the title of the photo is, “Spectacular Photoshop Fail!”; and the title of the fan page is, “Shouting random numbers when someone’s trying to count!”, and the title of the photo is, “Girl wtf was that” (unfortunately, I can’t link to the photo…). I think you see my point. This growing disease of Facebook is beginning to piss me off. It serves no purpose to what Facebook is intended, and needs to be solved in some way another (and no, as I already stated, simply un-fanning the pages won’t work.)

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The Most Classless of Classless Pranks

This story is surely old news in today’s media standards, but the issue is so astounding me I must report on it anyways. As many of us know, Princess Kate Middleton of England is pregnant. One day after she was admitted into King Edward VII Hospital in London, two Australian radio hosts from 2Day FM, an Australian radio section, phoned in a nasty prank call to the hospital, according to the Huffington Post. Supposedly pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, the Australian radio hosts inquired about information regarding Princess Kate’s condition. Quoting from the Huffington Post, the radio hosts actually managed to get a hold of Kate’s personal nurse, and the conversation went “something like this”:

Fake Queen: “Kate my darling, are you there?”

Real Nurse: “Good morning ma’am, this is a nurse speaking. How may I help you?”

Fake Queen: “Hello, I’m just after my granddaughter Kate, I wanted to see how her little tummy bug is going.”

And I’m sure we all know how it all went from there. If for some reason you don’t happen to know, the personal nurse revealed information about Kate, and, when she later found out the call was a prank, the nurse committed suicide. This post was not meant to be a synopsis of the events, but rather more of a sort of comment on the Australian radio hosts. Mel Greig and Michael Christain (those are their names), first of all, are not evil people. Let’s just assume from the start they are average human beings who regularly make mistakes. On the other hand, the mistake was rather huge, and childish. Radio hosts aren’t exactly known for class to begin with, but this particular prank really sets the bar to a whole new level. I know this really sounds like I’m attacking the character of the radio hosts right now, but I promise you, I’m really not trying to do so. All I urge is that radio hosts need to be more aware of the possible consequences of their calls and conversations beyond the present moment. I’m sure we all know that words can hurt, and when those words are displayed for millions to hear, well, then, that means those words can hurt millions. To be cliche, I have heard the saying somewhere or other that “With great power comes great responsibility”. In this instance, power overtook responsibility, and a life was lost as consequence. May this apply to all blog readers and writers as well. Known your own strength.

The Horrifying Abomination that is Honey Boo Boo

Honey Boo Boo. Even the name sends waves of anger flashing through my brain. First of all, even the title of this popular TV Show gives me chills – in a bad way. Has America really arrived at the point where we allow childish language to permeate into television titles? Thinking about it a little more, ABC stands for “American Broadcasting Corporation” (acronyms.thefreedictionary.com). NBC stands for something of a similar sort. Honey Boo Boo stands for “Holy Dear Jesus God, Get This Crap Off My Television Screen Before I Vomit All Over It!” This show is a grievance to all humanity. As the great American political leader Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Indepedence,

“[W]henever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. “

Although it may not seem an obvious connection at first sight, Honey Boo Boo can insert itself into this equation as well: Firstly, Honey Boo Boo is destructive, certainly for the mind; therefore, it should be the right of the people to abolish it and eradicate it from existence. In its place, we shall institute television programs that do not turn our brains into malleable mush.

And so I declare the grievances of which Honey Boo Boo stands culprit:

I.) Honey Boo has taken over the minds of millions of Americans. It is of no secret the usurping and controlling nature of this television show. The entire success of Honey Boo Boo rests on the ability of America to laugh at its own failures – a critical mistake that we cannot make.

II.) Honey Boo Boo does not serve any sort of educational purpose whatsoever. What does one learn from watching Honey Boo Boo? How to mispronounce words? How to dress like a sack of potatoes? How to become the scummy monsters of the Earth?

III.) TLC has recently approved more episodes of Honey Boo Boo. TLC stands for “The Learning Channel.” I believe this connection is blatant enough.

IV.) Honey Boo Boo is turning an innocent child, Alana Thompson, into an object of American social media. She, essentially, is devoting her life to making herself and her family look like a gaggle of fools. Therefore, not only is Honey Boo Boo melting American minds, it is melting that of Alana. Essentially, by watching Honey Boo Boo, America is encouraging its children to act with stupidity and ignorance.

To keep this at reasonable length, I shall stop at that point. But I shall say this: America. Stop Watching Honeey Boo Boo. For our country’s sake. Please!

Finally, a Post of Enjoyment!

I have come to the realization that the majority of my blog posts, especially those of recent times, have been rather dark and “scary”. In order to maintain that sense of balance between seriousness and humor which most humans share, this post shall be of a more light-hearted nature. Sounds fun, no? Let us begin!

Today, I wish to talk about a favorite website of mine, and that would be Memebase. Memebase, as one could likely deduce from its denotation, is a base of memes. However, this is obviously of no help to someone who does not understand what a meme is. A meme is essentially a picture with text overlayed on top of it – the purpose is to express some form of sarcastic complaint or point about a particular topic. The appeal of memes is their ability to poke fun at just about any topic. This is why I read memebase.

I want to, of course, provide a couple examples of specific memes which I particularly enjoy. The first and foremost one is the “Willy Wonka” meme. The purpose of the Willy Wonka meme is primarly to provide counterarguments (often condescending) to popular social, economic, political, or religious beliefs. As an example:

As one can see, a Willy Wonka meme (it’s official title being “Condescending Wonka” or sometimes “Creepy Wonka”) is designed in a sarcastic manner, often using rhetorical statements to get a point across. In other words, Willy Wonka does not really want one to explain his or her problems; he uses the phrase “Please tell me….” in order to reveal the discussed subject’s ignorance.

Another favorite meme of mine happens to be “Overly Attached Girlfriend.” As one can presume from its title, Overly Attached Girlfriend is a photo of a girl with rather creepy-looking eyes, with overlayed text usually describing some sort of stereotypical girlfriend-y sentiment. Since I am obviously not an overly attached girlfriend myself, I believe another example of a meme will better serve my purpose:

See what I mean? Absolutely creepy, I tell you.

As one can tell, memes are one of the most effective ways to provide arguments and sentiments on the nuances of society: they are funny yet informative, quirky yet serious, kind yet slighting. They provide a unique balance to any sort of argument that, say, an essay, or a speech cannot provide. All hail memes! Just joking, that would horrendously absurd.

More on the Negativities of Social Media

To anyone who has read this blog before this moment, it is no secret that I despise many of the oppressive, unfortunte qualities of current social media (for example, Facebook, Twitter, or just about any other interactive site on the internet). Social media tends to increase stereotypes, as alluded to my post on yoga pants. Social media tends to turn us into zombies. Social media tends to reduce and limit beneficial interactions between parent and child. However, most importantly, social media brings into reality the dangers of child predators.

This topic came into mind while I was viewing a Katie Couric special last night. In this special, Katie Couric highlighted the inherent correlation between social media (again, tweeting on one’s iPhone, facebooking on a laptop, et cetera). However, this special was not your run-of-the-mill news report, with the news anchor reading scripted lines off of a sheet of paper. This television special was extremely effective. Why? Katie Couric utilizied an impressive list of sources to assert the dangerous connection of social media and child predators. Katie Couric had personal information – she herself is a mother of a teenage daughter – and outside information; among the members of the audience were child sex predator experts; and as for the critical sources, Katie Couric interviewed three child sex predators and asked for their views of various nasty subjects related to child sex predators.

Unfortunately, as I did not record the show, my specific details will be somewhat scant – sorry about that. But anyways, Couric interviewed three child predators : one of them was a college professor in his 50s; one of them was a 45-year-old man looking to have sex with underage teen girls; and the third was only 23-years-old, who set up a web site to entice girls into sharing nude or scandalous photos of themselves.

These child predators were not cautious as to their details. All of them openly admitted their apparent attraction to underage teenagers. All of them spoke with fluency and confidence in their voices when they so openly orated their personal encounters with child pornography and sexual intercourse with underage teens. And all of them gave similar advice to the parents of underage teens: RUN.

The candor of these three child sex predators absolutely shocked me. In this case, it is apparent that even child predators (obviously the common sources of child pornography and child predator-ing) are unable to, or perhaps do not even wish to, provide real, chilling details about the horrible child sex predator epidemic in the United States. If I were a teenager’s parent, I would take their advice: Get rid of the iPhones. Get rid of Facebook. Get rid of Twitter. Don’t trust anyone. And, of course, if worst comes to worst – RUN.

One of the Scariest Movies of My Life

I hate horror movies.  Their sole purpose is to scare people.  With humans crawling up walls and demons parading around the screen, horror movies often seem like an unrealistic expression of human fear.  Perhaps this is why I don’t connect with them.  I have yet to see a movie such as “Paranormal Activity” or  “House At the End of the Street”.  Why?  They simply don’t grab my attention.

A particular movie (not a horror movie) which did give me a fright. in the way I believe movies are intended to do, was the movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson.  In the movie, Liam Neeson plays a father, who is a retired CIA agent.  His daughter, a college-aged girl, goes on a fancy, lengthy vacation to Europe, starting off in Paris.  In Paris, Liam Neeson’s daughter gets kidnapped and is sold into an expansive human trafficking system that focuses on the sale of “virgin” women.  Over the course of the movie, Liam Neeson’s main goal is to retrieve his daughter from the human trafficking system.  The movie, I will say now, for those who have not seen it, does have a happy ending, as Liam Neeson successfully gets his daughter back.

The primary reason the movie “Taken” was absorbing and thrilling for me was its realistic nature provides a more immediate, genuine sense of fear in my brain than stereotypical horror movies do.  Unlike many horror movies, which focus on the concept of some arbitrary demonic power or evil spirit (such as in “House At the End of the Street“), “Taken” articulates a much more secular evil – the evil of treating human beings as objects or inferior creatures.  Kidnapping and sex trafficking are very real dangers present in today’s world.  Every year, scores of women, often tourists, are snatched from their hotels and sold into the human trafficking system as sex objects.  Taken from a report by unglobalcompact.org, “95% of victims experienced physical or sexual violence during trafficking (based on data from selected European countries)7• …43% of victims are used forforced commercial sexual exploitation, of whom 98 per cent are women and girls)8 (7 The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Stolen smiles: a summary report on the physical and psychological health consequences of women and adolescents trafficked in Europe (London, 2006).         8 International Labour Organization, Forced Labour Statistics Factsheet (2007)

“Taken” created many real-life connections in my brain: the possibility of situations similar to those in the movie happening in real life is extremely frightening and scary for me.  Unlike horror movies, I simply cannot dismiss the movie “Taken” as absurd and illogical.  Although I do admit the superb combat abilities of Liam Neeson against the terrorists who kidnapped his daughter (and the eventual success of rescuing his daughter) are somewhat romanticized, the movie does not rely on an flimsy premise ( a general demonic power or evil demon) or on context (such as how many horror movies rely on the atmosphere of Halloween-time for profits).  To conclude, the movie “Taken” presents the secular evil of the human trafficking system in Europe as a realistic, crystal-clear danger.  This is why the movie is so thrilling and captivating for me.

(P.S: I’m extremely anxious for “Taken 2”!)

More Celebrity Failures: Rihanna

She fell in love with him.  He said he loved her.  Then, he beat her.  They separated – and now, they’re back together.  This seems like he plot to a horrible Lifetime movie, doesn’t it?  I wish it were so.  Unfortunately, this story is all too true – specfically, these are outlines of the celebrity relationship between Chris Brown and Rihanna.

The two met and started dating sometime in 2008.  They were known as a very romantic couple, often seeing publicly kissing and hugging.  It seemed like a fairytale relationship: A successful rapper pairs up with a successful singer.  What could go wrong?  Well, obviously something did on Sunday, February 8th, 2009, when Chris Brown was arrested on assault charges, suspected of beating Rihanna (specifically in the face).  Long story short, Rihanna and Chris Brown obviously separated from each other.  Over the next several years, Rihanna and Chris Brown continued to work separately, each releasing their own profitable albums and singles.  It appeared as though the water had calmed and the fish were swimming in separate schools.  However, this past Monday night (in the present time), Rihanna and Chris Brown were seen together, leaving a hotel and sitting together at a nightclub.  It marked the first time the press had concrete evidence of their pair’s reunion – although there had been some suspicions of this over the last few months or so, the press this time managed to take photos of Rihanna and Chris Brown, once again, snuggling and kissing.

Rihanna reunited with the evil in her life.  She even felt as though the public and the press criticized Brown too harshly.   In an interview with Oprah Winfrey on August 19,2012, “She went on to explain to Oprah that at first she was angry, frustrated that Chris would hit her, but after seeing the devastating backlash that Chris Brown had to endure she actually felt bad for him. “I felt like the only person that people hated at that time was him,” Rihanna said. “It was a weird and confusing space to be in because as angry, hurt and betrayed as I was I just felt like he made that mistake because he needed help,”.” (Z6Mag.com, 2012).  I simply don’t understand Rihanna’s recent actions.  I suppose it is natural to feel some lingering sympathy for the one you once loved.  But why would one reunite with one of the greatest evils in their life?  Does Rihanna not recognize the rampant possibility of another beating?  The answer is: obviously not, because she continues to play Chris Brown’s game.  In addition to all this, at least of Monday night, Chris Brown already has a girlfriend – who isn’t Rihanna.  So not only is Rihanna denying herself freedom from the tyranny that is Chris Brown, she is also encouraging his immoral deeds.  In one way, Rihanna does have some merit in her words: yes, Chris Brown does need help.  But it also appears to me Rihanna believes she can provide that help.  Well, to be frank, no Rihanna, you can’t.  Let Chris Brown solve his own issues before you hurt yourself.  Again.