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Archive for April, 2010

The debate is still going on. Where should those people accused of terrorist acts be tried, in our civilian courts, or by military tribunals? It’s hard to believe that we’re still having this debate, given the facts of the entire situation. In my opinion these defendants should be tried in the civilian courts.

I continuously see and hear these defendants referred to as “enemy combatants.” That term is almost always applied to a person who is officially a member of a recognized military organization. During World War II, German and Japanese soldiers were “enemy combatants.” During the Vietnamese war, soldiers of the North Vietnamese Army were enemy combatants.

To apply this term to suspects like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the others involved in the 9/11 attack is to elevate their status. To have them tried in front of military tribunals recognizes them as being soldiers, part of an army that we are formally at war with. Al Qaeda is not a recognized military organization, it is not the military force for any country. It is a group of demented, idealistic, religious fanatics who engage in criminal activity. Nothing more.

The military has a horrible record in the prosecution of alleged terrorists. According to the latest statistics that I’ve been able to find, since the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, there have been a total of 20 terrorists tried before military tribunals. Of those 20 accused, there have been a total of 3 convictions.I’ve done the math for you conservatives who at this moment are screaming about what a badass way tribunals are to deal with terrorists. The conviction rate of these suspects is 15%.

On the other hand, Since the 9/11 attacks, there have been 593 cases in which terrorist suspects were tried in civilian courts. Of those, 523 resulted in convictions. That is a conviction rate of 88%.

It’s not rocket science. Let’s see, 3 convictions by military tribunals, 523 convictions by civilian courts. Am I the only one here who is left scratching my head, wondering why this debate is still ongoing? The conviction rate in civilian courts is almost 6 times that of military tribunals.

But I’ll admit, it does sound badass to say that we’re going haul them off to be tried before a military tribunal.

Put that aside, though, and go back to my original statements. Do we really want to grant these people the status of recognizing them as some kind of officially sanctioned military organization? Do we want to look at them simply as good soldiers? Really? Is that what we want to do? If we allow them to be tried by a military tribunal, that is exactly what we’re doing – granting them a status that they do not deserve. To treat them as anything more than the scumbag criminals that they are does a disservice to all military personnel everywhere.

And given the record of military tribunals in these cases, we’re also giving them a much better chance of walking free.

But hey, if that’s what Cheney and his cronies want, well… They do know what’s best, always.

Or so they would have us believe.

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At least, that’s what an old Texas Tourism advertising campaign would have us believe. I’m taking exception to that claim. While a lot of things may be bigger in Texas, that description most certainly does not apply to the intelligence level of some of the people who make the laws there.

In fact, the intelligence level of at least two of those folks is quite tiny. Microscopic, actually. Nearly impossible to find. In fact, I would venture that the existence of any intelligence within the minds of these two men is nothing more than a theory, sort of like quantum physics.

Texas is one of those states that has banned same-sex unions. While I completely disagree with that ban, I’m not from Texas (thank God for small favors), and I have no right to tell them what to do. It’s their state, and they get to make up the rules there. Besides, it really is only a matter of time before the U.S. Supreme Court rules that a ban on same-sex unions is unconstitutional. I’m not worried about that.

Ladies and gentlemen, consider the following:

Two Republican state officials who spearheaded Texas’ constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage have filed a court brief opposing a gay divorce in Dallas.

State Rep. Warren Chisum of Pampa and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, a former state senator from Palestine, filed the amicus brief in Dallas’ 5th District Court of Appeals on Friday, April 2.

What am I missing here? If you cannot legally get married or joined in a civil union in Texas, if Texas does not recognize same-sex unions that were performed in another state, then why do they need a ban on same-sex divorces? In fact, how can they even entertain the thought of granting such a divorce, since according to Texas, the union does not exist in the first place?

When I first learned of this, I scratched my head for a moment. I thought someone was pulling my leg, but then I checked the source. It’s true. Suddenly, I had a little movie playing out in my head.

{Fade in: The scene is a small, wood paneled room with a spittoon on the floor. Joe Bob and Tex are seated at a small table, chawin’ their ‘baccy, sippin’ rotgut whiskey, and occasionally managing to actually hit the spittoon when they spit.}

Joe Bob: “I dunno, Tex. What’re we gonna do ’bout them filthy dee-vee-ants that’s all tryin’ ta marry people of the same sex? Gals kissin’ gals, boys kissin’ boys… It’s disgustin’!”

Tex: “I hears ya, Joe Bob. We did keep ’em from bein’ able ta get married here, but they’s jest runnin’ off ta Massa… Massa… Massa-sumthin’, whatever the fuck they call that Yankee state up thar. Then they’s comin’ back here and corruptin’ our younguns!”

Joe Bob: “Yep, and sooner or later, them liberals on the Supreme Court is jest gonna make the whole damn country let them perverts get married, ya know. We got ta do sumthin’!”

{Twenty minutes of silence, broken only by the occasional sound of spitting. Joe Bob and Tex put forth a mighty effort to form a train of logical thought which will help them to prevent the Lone Star state from being overrun by queers. Then Joe Bob’s face breaks into a triumphant expression.}

Joe Bob: “Tex, I got it!! I knows what we can do ta stop them fags an’ dykes!”

Tex: “Whatchoo thankin’, Joe Bob?”

Joe Bob: “This is what we do. We finds a way ta put a ban on same-sex dee-vorces. Then, even if the whole dad-blamed country has ta allow them freaks ta get married, they’ll think twice ’bout comin’ ta Texas. We won’t never let ’em get a dee-vorce!!”

Tex: “Joe Bob, you is a right genius!! That’ll fix ’em!”

Okay, look. I’ve known a few people from Texas. Most of them were nice people, and a few of them are actually quite intelligent. To them, and to those few other Texans who don’t fit my stereotype, I apologize.

But come on – these are the people who gave us George W. Bush, for God’s sake! As I recently asked one person I know from the Lone Star state, what did the rest of us ever do to Texas to deserve that?

How can you ban people from obtaining a divorce when you don’t even recognize that their union exists in the first place? But then, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, given some of the other comments that have been made by one of these guys:

Chisum said, “If they want to go back to their state, whatever state they came from, and get the marriage — or whatever they call it — dissolved there, that’s OK with us, but it’s not the state of Texas that needs to be doing it.”

Chisum added that he doesn’t believe same-sex divorce is a civil rights issue, because being gay is a choice.

“Everyone has the ability to get married,” Chisum said. “All they have to do is find someone of the opposite sex.”

To say that “being gay is a choice” makes about as much sense as saying that being a Jew in Nazi Germany was a choice. Why on earth would anyone choose to deliberately make their life a living hell by “choosing” to be gay?

I was told recently by a Texan that the Lone Star state sends its worst politicians to Washington, and keeps the best ones within the state government. That’s a frightening thought, given Dubyah, and now this. If Texas keeps her best politicians within the state, and this is what they come up with, then I fear for their future.

The more I hear coming out of the state of Texas, the more I begin to feel as though secession might be a good thing, after all…

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I’ve always believed that there is no such thing as coincidence. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that my mother waited until she’d seen some sign or signal that I’d be ready to hear her final farewell to me. But then, maybe that truly is the case. Who knows? Stranger things have happened, I suppose. They do say that truth is stranger than fiction. It’s odd that what happened today comes just three days after I wrote the last blog entry about my mother.

It had taken me that two month stretch of time to feel as though I was ready to talk about her in the way that I did. Three days after I did that, she reached out and touched me again.

I received a letter from her today. When I saw it, my hands began to shake, and I had a difficult time opening it. It wasn’t a long letter, just two pages on looseleaf notebook paper. And today, I finally managed to completely let myself go in terms of letting myself feel her loss. I’ve cried, but not as freely as I did today. Until now, I’ve always made myself stop. Today, for the first time, I was able to let myself cry until the tears stopped on their own.

She wrote about some of her memories of me. Of how the only way to get me to nap as a baby was to put me in a stroller and take me for a walk. Of her memories of me as a little boy, and how happy I was then. Of when I was in the sixth grade, and one of my teachers was her sister, and how my aunt told her recently that I had been one of the smartest kids she’s ever taught. Lots of nice, happy memories that she has of me.

She talked of how she regrets what she called her mistakes with me. How she’s always felt that she made a serious mistake in being so strict with me. Of how she felt like she had placed too much responsibility on me when I was a kid. She talked of how much it hurts her to see me when I’m in one of my bipolar episodes, knowing that there’s nothing that she could do to help or change that.

Finally, she asked me, for her, to do everything that I can do to look for a way to live the rest of my life in peace and happiness.

There was more that she talked about, but it’s of a much more personal nature, and I won’t share it here. Those things are between her and I. What was so amazing to me was that even in her last weeks, she wasn’t concerned with herself, really. She was still thinking of the people she was leaving behind. She wrote these letters, she told me, and arranged to have them mailed two or three months after her death.

I was given a very special gift today. My mother gave me something very beautiful and precious. After I’d had enough time to grieve and come to terms with her death, she arranged to say one final farewell to me. To share with me some of her best memories, and her regrets. To let me know that where ever she is right now, her love is still with me.

Thanks, Mom. I love you…

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The Church In Crisis

I have avoided this topic for some time now. Those of you know me intimately will know why, for the rest of you, let’s just say that this is a sensitive subject for me. No, I was never personally involved in such a situation within the church. Nevertheless, I was raised as a Catholic, even though I have long since rejected that faith. The situation has now reached a place where I feel compelled to throw my voice into the fray.

I want to say here that I was lucky, in terms of my experience with the clergy as a child. The priests that I dealt with were not, as far as I’ve been able to learn, ever suspected of bringing harm to any child. I had good relationships with a couple of them. One used to take some of us hunting with him, and went out of his way to make sure that we had a good, positive male adult role model in our lives. My issues with the church, when I turned my back on her, were about much different situations.

With the continued stonewalling by church officials, coupled with my discovery and viewing of an excellent documentary about this topic, I’m going insane with keeping my mouth shut. The stories that are now being brought into the light, the absolute refusal of the Catholic church to take any responsibility for what has happened, these are crimes of epic proportions.

If church leaders are not careful, if they do not accept responsibility for what has happened, make whatever meager amends it’s possible to make to victims of childhood sexual abuse; if they do not immediately take a hard line regarding the sexual abuse of children within the church, they are risking having the label “Child Abuser Refuge” bestowed upon them.

We are learning, with new cases coming out every day, that for at least fifty years reported cases of child sexual abuse have been hidden, covered up, swept away and ignored. What this has created is an atmosphere that seemingly condones the sexual abuse of children. Indeed, in cases where victims have come forward and pointed a finger at their abusers, those victims have been treated as and made to feel like enemies of the church. Made to feel as though they are in the wrong for trying to expose those who would bring harm to children. Made to feel as though it is their fault that this abuse was inflicted upon them.

But, I suppose, what else should one expect from a church that insures it’s continuation through the wholesale inflicting of guilt upon its members?

If there is anyone reading this who has any interest in this topic, I would strongly urge you to watch the documentary “Deliver Us From Evil.” This film follows the efforts of victims of child sexual abuse inflicted by a priest in their quest for answers, for justice, and for a simple apology from the church. Their efforts prove fruitless; and in fact, they are victimized yet again by the reaction of the church hierarchy to their pleas to be heard.

Something that I learned from this documentary was of great interest to me. I have always been under the impression that, as a head of state, the pope has diplomatic immunity from prosecution. Why then, in 2005, and again in 2008, did Benedict find it necessary to ask president George W. Bush for immunity from prosecution? Is diplomatic immunity not sufficient to insure that he doesn’t have to face any legal consequences for both his actions and his inactions? But what really struck me was the fact that good old Dubyah, in 2008, granted that immunity to Benedict.

What a great president he was.

Under eight years of the Bush administration, we saw ever tightening and more harsh penalties for those who would prey on children. That’s not a bad thing, in most contexts, unless the law is abused. But that’s another discussion. The point is, under Dubyah, prosecution of child abusers, particularly those who perpetrate sexual abuse on them, became more and more vigorous. But, when it came time, Dubyah screwed up. He sent a message that says, in effect, if you are powerful enough, we won’t bother to prosecute you for the sexual abuse of children.

Victims of child sexual abuse must so very happy to know this.

Benedict was once the “go to man” for issues that concerned the sexual abuse of children. He was charged with handling the reported cases of such incidents. What did he do?

He covered it up. Whenever possible, he made sure that his first consideration was the reputation of the church. In his mind, indeed, in the minds of the vast majority of the church hierarchy, it would seem, making sure that little or no news of such cases ever came to public awareness was the primary concern. It doesn’t take a fucking rocket scientist to see the flaw in this logic. Had he been vigorous in the prosecution and condemnation of such incidents, cooperating fully with the legal system, the reputation of the church today would be in much better shape than it is.

Let’s take a look at Fr. Oliver O’Grady, the priest who is documented and interviewed in the documentary, “Deliver Us From Evil.” O’Grady has freely admitted that over the span of some twenty years, give or take, he molested at least twenty-five children in northern California.

O’Grady is something of an anomaly. He actually served time in prison for his crimes, something that is relatively rare in the cases of clerical abuse of children. He spent seven years behind bars. I won’t get involved in a discussion of whether or not this was an appropriate sentence.

What is interesting is that the abuse went on for so very long, and was perpetrated on multiple victims, even after it had been reported to the church. O’Grady, by his own admission in the film, was moved from parish to parish as his abuses came to light. Documents were destroyed, bishops denied having any knowledge of his crimes, and he was allowed to continue to rape children for more than twenty years.

This is the kind of behavior that has resulted in the worldwide outcry of rage against the church. That rage has been compared, by Benedict, to the persecution of the Jews. Which implies, of course, that the church is blameless.

I would be remiss if I did not mention this little item here. It would seem that the church, at least from an anecdotal perspective, takes the sexual abuse of children to be more serious when the victims of the abuse are boys. Priests who molest little girls are not dealt with in the same way as those who molest little boys. It’s almost as if the church is saying, “Well, you know those females. They’re evil. You can’t blame a man for having a sexual response to a female, no matter what her age.”

There are some disturbing conclusions to be reached from that attitude.

First, that the church somehow sees little girls as being less important than little boys. Second, that when the abuse is perpetrated on a little girl, it is somehow her fault, because she happened to be born female. But perhaps what is the most disturbing is the impression that somehow, it is a worse crime to be inclined towards homosexuality than it is to rape children.

I have been asked at times if I don’t feel bad about the fact that I’ve turned my back on “my church.” After all, until her death, my mother was a devout Catholic. Don’t I feel bad for not supporting my church?

Well, no. It’s not my church. I’ve come to believe that it never was my church. I’ve come to believe that the church has one interest only: its own self-preservation. I’m not talking about individual members of the clergy, with whom I’ve had some good relationships. I’m talking about the church hierarchy, the cardinals and bishops of Rome. The “government,” if you will. Those people, in my humble opinion, could give a flying fuck in the wind about the rank and file of the church, so long as they get to keep their cushy little jobs, and lord it over the rest of the faithful.

And in the meantime, the victims of child sexual abuse will continue to be forgotten by the church. They will be labeled as “enemies of the church.” Their pleas will not be heard.

And they will lose all hope for justice.

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And So It Ends

Mom - 5/24/2009

My Mom crossed over on February 3, 2010, at approximately 4:15 pm. She was at home, in her own bed, with my step-dad and I beside her when it happened. She was sleeping peacefully when she went.

I’ve only just now found myself able to sit and actually write this blog entry. I haven’t really had the courage to face this until now.

No matter how much you try to prepare yourself for something like this, you’re still never quite ready for it when comes. I was preparing to go to my parent’s house to visit and make a nice little meal for them when I got the call. It was my step-dad, telling me that I needed to get there right away. I made it with a few minutes to spare, and thankfully, I was able to be with her when the time came.

I am relieved that when she died, it happened at home, in her bed, rather than in a hospital room somewhere. The television was on (Law and Order – she loved that show), the volume was low but audible, my step-dad was on the bed with her, and I was sitting beside the bed. She was able to leave us quietly, in comfortable surroundings, with people who love her deeply beside her.

I don’t know if I can actually write what I would consider to be a fitting tribute to this woman. I suppose that if I were to sum her up concisely, the best description of her would be that no matter what happened to her, no matter what life may have thrown at her, no matter how hard things might have been at any given time, I never once in my entire life saw her show even a shred of self-pity. She was a woman of incredible strength and fortitude, who never let anyone or anything keep her down. This world is truly a little bit dimmer because she has left it.

The picture that you see at the top of this post was taken at the large family gathering in May of 2009, when we had everyone together so that she could  be with them one more time. Remembering her that day, I’m now amazed – again – at her foresight. It’s a wonderful thing that we all can remember her that day, while she was still alert and able to enjoy the company of her family.

I’ve realized a pretty basic truth, but one that I’m only now understanding. I’m grieving, and I’m filled with sadness that she’s gone. But I’m not sad for her. I know, in my heart of hearts, that if anyone on this earth has ever earned whatever rewards may be waiting on the other side of this existence, it is my mother. I’m sad for myself, for the rest of us who now have to go on without her physical presence in our lives. The mourning, the sadness, the funeral – these aren’t for her. These are for us, to try to give us a way to cope with her passing.

For years, I’ve been one of those people who shakes his head at the platitudes and small comforts that people try to offer when there has been a death.  To me, they always seemed so futile and pointless. Nothing that anyone says can really ease the immediate shock, grief, and pain. So, I was surprised to find just how comforting those little words are. After she died, while she was still in her bed, family members and friends who live nearby began to arrive. Every embrace, every whispered, “I’m so sorry,” or  “She’s in a better place,” or  “She’s not in pain anymore,” all of those things that I’ve always felt were so pointless; those things brought me a level of comfort that I desperately needed at that moment.

Even this is not so much for my mother as it is for myself. This is one of the ways that I manage to cope with and process what’s happening for me. By writing about my Mom, by trying to put words down that will let other people have some sort of a glimpse into who she was, I also process for myself that she is in fact gone from us. Not completely, but gone physically. This whole thing that I’ve been doing since she was diagnosed with cancer has not been for her, but for me. The dead have no need for comforting, no need to be held up and paid tribute to. These things are for the living, for those of us who need to try and cope with this harsh but oh, so common part of life.

At times in the process of writing this series of posts,  I’ve wondered, “What am I going to write for the last post? How am I going to end this series?” As I write this, I’m realizing that there won’t be a “last post” about her. This series will continue, really – it has to. Perhaps indirectly, and probably with less and less frequency, but it will continue. It’s part of how I’ll manage to keep her alive inside of myself. Because I do believe, really, that death is not an ending. As someone who is very close to me put it on the day she died, I need to “bear in mind that she has not ceased to be, but relocated to a level of being that you and I can’t reach…”

That really is such a very simple, very beautiful way to put it. She is there, she’s just in a place that is so much better; a place that none of us who are left behind can reach, until our own time to cross over comes. I can’t claim to know what that place is. I’m convinced that it is different for each of us, based upon our own beliefs. I also believe that it’s a much better state of existence. After some of the things that she weathered throughout her life, I have to believe that where ever she may be now, it is a better place to be.

I will not say, “Goodbye.” That word, in situations like this, signifies an ending to a relationship. My relationship with her will never end, as long as I am alive and keeping her in my memories. She will be a part of me for as long as I exist. And I will hold her in my heart and love her, just as I have always loved her.

I will say, “Farewell, Mom. So long for now, until I see you again on that other level of being…”

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Social Networking

Well, it’s been some time since I’ve been here to rant. After a conversation with my daughter last night, which took place entirely via Facebook posts, I’ve decided to come back with this.

There’s been an explosion of social networking not just in the United States, but around the entire planet. On the surface, this may seem to be a very good thing. Before we delve into that, though, let’s take a look at some statistics.

Facebook has more than 400 million active subscribers, 50% of whom log on every day. More than 35 million users update their status each day, there are more than 60 million status updates posted each day, and among other statistics, Facebook pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans.

MySpace has now hit 100 million users, but their usage statistics are a little harder to come by. The average MySpace user spends 266 minutes per month logged into the site, but it does seem to be falling behind Facebook.

Twitter is even harder to find stats for, because they either don’t keep any detailed statistics, which is unlikely, or they simply won’t release the data, which is probably the case. It is estimated, however, that Twitter receives well over 10 million unique visitors each month.

On one hand, social networking is nothing new. We all have a network of friends and acquaintances. These are the people we talk to and interact with on a face-to-face basis every day of our lives. With the advent of digital social networking sites, though, things are changing radically.

In some cases, these sites can provide something to some people that they’ve never had before, or that they once had, and have lost. People who have become homebound for one reason or another often use social networking sites as a way of maintaining contact with the outside world. I have heard of agoraphobics who view social networking on the internet as an enormous blessing, because otherwise, they would seldom, if ever, be able to make any kind of human contact. That’s all well and good, and in that sense, these sites provide a very welcome service.

Those users, though, are really just a tiny fraction of the total number of people who subscribe. For the most part, users are just every day, run-of-the-mill people. They use these sites as a way to stay in contact with friends and family. But these sites are changing the very definition of what constitutes a friend.

The average Facebook user has 130 friends listed on their page. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve had 130 friends over my entire lifespan. Not the way that I define friends, anyway. People log on to their social networking site, and start to give the world an almost minute-by-minute account of what they’re doing.

Now, that’s nice, up to a point. I’m sorry, though – if you think that the world will stop because you haven’t notified all 130 friends on your friends list that you are now going to take a break so you can go pee, then you have vastly overestimated your own importance to the world.

Don’t get me wrong. I was using social networking online before it was ever called that. At the risk of dating myself here, we called them online “bulletin boards” or BBS. There’s a difference though. The BBS was more like writing a letter, and waiting for a response. The social networking site takes place in something that is almost, but not quite, real time.

There are some serious concerns about this almost instant form of communication with anyone in the world. At the risk of sounding like my mother, a February 24, 2009 article in the New York Times puts it this way:

Is Social Networking Killing You?

Well, no, probably not. Or at least, not literally. But two British scientists have recently suggested that spending all day, and – admit it – much of the night networking on a computer might in fact be bad for your body and your brain.

No less an authority on the brain’s workings than Susan Greenfield, a professor of pharmacology at Oxford University and the director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, told a British newspaper on Tuesday that social networking sites remind her of the way that “small babies need constant reassurance that they exist” and make her worry about the effects that this sort of stimulation is having on the brains of users. Lady Greenfield (she’s a neuroscientist and a baroness) told the Daily Mail:

My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.

In the House of Lords debate, Lady Greenfield also stressed that social interactions conducted through computer screens are fundamentally different from spoken conversations — which, she said, are “far more perilous” than electronic interactions because they “occur in real time, with no opportunity to think up clever or witty responses.”

Lady Greenfield told the Lords:

Real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitized and easier screen dialogues, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf. Perhaps future generations will recoil with similar horror at the messiness, unpredictability and immediate personal involvement of a three-dimensional, real-time interaction.

The entire article is fascinating. You can read it here: The Lede

I really don’t want to sound like Scrooge. But I have to wonder here – if, as some people that I know and love do – people are spending a significant amount of time posting short messages to Facebook or Twitter or some other social networking site while they’re on the job, just how much productivity is being lost in the workplace?

So, on to the rant part of this – you knew it was coming…

With very few exceptions, I really don’t want a minute-by-minute account of your day. Yes, there are exceptions to that – family, close friends, etc. But for the most part, I don’t want to know.

I honestly don’t care what your horoscope is for today. If I was interested in anyone’s horoscope, it would be mine.

I don’t care that you just threw up in the urinal in the men’s room at your local bar after drinking for four hours. And I particularly don’t want to see the lovely picture you took of it with your cell phone, and then felt compelled to post on your Facebook page.

I don’t think that most of the people I know would feel compelled to pick up the phone and call me every time they see someone picking their nose. They think nothing, though, of hitting a Facebook page with that announcement, and every other minor occurrence in their day.

I resent the fact that it seems to be reaching a point where my worth is judged by how many friends I have on my Facebook account. I have fifteen, by the way, and all but two are related to me in some way.

I really do love the internet for the way that I can meet and talk with people from all over the world. That’s been fascinating to me, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve met some amazing people, and I’ve met some not so amazing people. And I’ve met some real assholes. But that’s the same in real life.

What scares me, to some degree, is the way that internet socializing seems to be changing the way we all relate to one another. Not just strangers, or people we meet in passing. The internet is much like real life in that sense. But the way that we relate to those who are closest to us seems to have been affected by this phenomenon, as well.

The upside to social networking is the chance that I’ve had to meet people whom I would never have come into contact with had I not met them online. The downside is that I’ll never really get to know those people, not in any real way. Not the way that I would slowly develop a lasting friendship with a person I could see and talk to in person on a regular basis.

I don’t know – maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe I never will. I pretty sure that I’ll never be a Facebook addict, though. I’ve gotten over some addictions in my life. I really don’t want to give myself a new one…

Now, I’ll sit back and wait for a rebuttal…

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