My terrible addiction to Facebook
The last scene in the movie Escape From L.A. is a hologram Kurt Russell about to enter a code into some super-device that will permanently shut off all electronics on the entire planet. The code, of course, is 666, and after being pleaded with by the corrupt President of the United States to consider the consequences, Kurt, ahem, Snake Plisskin enters the code, the world shuts off and he enjoys a cigarette. End of movie.
The movie was, for the most part, a retread of the original, Escape From New York, but I’ve been thinking about that scene the last few weeks; What if someone shut the world off and everything just went blank? Dark. No buzzes or hums. No planes tearing through the sky. No sirens or horns or brakes screeching. Of course that is a romantic notion for about five minutes.
I can see some heavy-lidded kid, stoned out of his mind nodding in agreement “Yeah, that’s how things should be, man, we don’t need all this stuff,” spreading arms to illustrate the vastness of ‘this stuff’, “none of this is necessary,” and maybe on some higher level, a spiritual level even, this fictional stereotype of a stoner would be right.
But there would be an ugly side to such serenity. Hospitals wouldn’t be able to treat patients, water would no longer be pumped into your house and it wouldn’t be long before people, in a panic took the streets; looting and pillaging without fear of consequence.
And also, perhaps even more importantly, how would we keep up with everyone’s status on Facebook?
Yes status’ have become big business in the cyber world and it isn’t too hard to imagine an angry mob, worked into a blood-shot, foaming frenzy if they couldn’t let everyone know that they were going to the gym after work and then kicking back with a nice glass of wine. How would one deal with the stress of the work week without feeling the ecstasy of release by updating the world that: Jane Hatesherlife can’t wait for this week to be over. Work sucks!!!
I realize I’m already dating myself by saying “Facebook” status instead of Twitter status, but, sorry, Facebook has had a strong year or two, and before I go recognizing some flash in the pan I’m going to need to see some kind of staying power.
I’m not above any of this. I’m not in curmudgeon mode, shaking an angry fist at all these crazy 21st-century kids and their weird technology in some Andy Rooney-style wave of senior angst. No, no no, I’m part of the problem. In fact, if this gets published the first place I’m going to post it is on Facebook. I’m on that rotten site three or four times a day reading updates, finding out what Kevin’s Top Five Favorite Beers I Later Vomit are, or what Paul got on the What Crime Are You Likely to go to Jail For? quiz or 25 Random Things about Sheila, which only wound up being 23, because 2 and 17 are the same thing, and telling us your boyfriend is in an “awesome band” isn’t really about you is it Sheila?
Of course the alternative is even uglier though isn’t it? I don’t want to be one of those people who prides themselves on not being on Facebook, like it’s some kind of accomplishment that they’ve managed to overcome this immeasurable wave of social pressure. You know, the ones who simultaneously pat themselves on the back while saying something like: “I just don’t feel the need to broadcast everything I’m doing” or “I don’t get why people go on those things” Well neither do I, but I’m there anyway. We don’t need you. There are plenty of people willing to give up intimate details of their life without any prodding, so you can go on being mysterious while I paddle through the minutiae.
I’ve found myself, alone, in the late hours of night saying “What the hell am I doing?” out loud to myself once realizing that I’ve clicked on the results to a “What Mythological Creature Are You?” quiz from someone I don’t even think I know.
We’ve all become cyber-junkies and digital voyeurs and it is fun for a few minutes, but then it starts acting like a drug; never as good as the first time but you keep going back to it for some reason.
So anyway, that all brings me back to my little Snake Plisskin daydream where, while he is wasting precious seconds taunting his enemies with shutting down the world, I tackle him to the ground and grab the box from his hand before he can punch that 6-6-6 in and rid me, and the world, of this terrible addiction.