I whacked someone on Facebook today. I simply could no longer stand the inane, self-righteous, hypocritical pabulum spewing from this person like oil from a busted BP well head, so I had to off him. And this has made me wonder about the nature of “friends” on Facebook, and why the hell we treat such empty euphemisms like obligations.
At least, that was my working assumption before today—before I put hot lead in someone’s virtual ass. My post-whack analysis is that most Facebook “friends” (and yes, I will keep putting that word in quotes) are usually a medley of people you sort of had something to do with once somewhere. Whenever that was, you felt no obligation toward them whatsoever. But now that they’ve become “friends” you feel an inexplicable need to tolerate them.
I’m intrigued to understand how this kumbaya insanity took hold so powerfully in a medium only a few years old. I mean, be honest, if any one of half the people on your “friends” list cut you off in traffic, you’d curse them without even thinking about it. If you then pulled up close enough to see who was driving, would you say, “Oh jeez! When I thought you were just some asshole cutting me off in traffic, I cursed your name with holy abandon. But now that I see you’re one of my ‘friends,’ I’ll extend to you the blind deference I give to all of my euphemized acquaintances”?
Which is not to say that “friends” doesn’t include friends, or that those friends can’t be people you haven’t physically interacted with in years. I have people on my list that I have not seen in 25+ years, but I still consider friends based on a connection forged back then that I believe worth maintaining. And it doesn’t even mean friends can’t include people you have never met in person. For me that’s not a prerequisite for being a friend. I’ve helped several friends out in various ways over the years, though we’ve never physically met, and likewise.
On the other hand, I have the kind of person I offed today, who I felt ambivalence toward ‘back then’ and ambivalence toward now, or just before he started vomiting stupidity all over my status updates. Ambivalence doesn’t equal deference. And yet, for weeks I let the drivel slide, as if I owed this person a filled bleacher seat in his audience. Why? I really can’t say for sure. It just seemed the civil thing to do; a gesture of tolerance among “friends.”
Now that I’ve made my first hit, the whole thing seems beyond silly. I’ve excoriated people in the flesh for saying things less ripe with ignorance than what this dimwit said every day. No doubt, there are those on his “friends” list who “like” his mantras of stupidity. I know this for a fact because they “like” them all the time. Whether or not they’re friends among “friends,” they at least care enough to tolerate what he says and probably won’t whack his ass anytime soon. Good for the zany lot of them.
Over here, I’m getting my Scarface on. “You wanna play ‘friends’ with me?”