Tuesday, January 13, 2009

High Status or "I Promise You-This is Affecting Me More"

You don't have to donate time. You don't have to donate energy. You don't even have to donate your efforts. You can just donate your Facebook status. It's the new trendy way to show people you care about something, you know, when you don't care enough to actually do anything real about it. You just care enough to donate your Facebook status.

This isn't always a bad thing-I thought people donating their statuses on election day to remind people to vote was cool. But I gotta say, I'm pretty appalled by the newest trend-donating your status to show people just how much carnage and destruction your side has suffered in the recent Gaza bombings. So if you support Israel, your status might say something like, "12 Hamas rockets & 5 mortars hit Israel so far today. 1 rocket hit an educational institute." Or if you support Palestine and Hamas, it might say something like "In 17 days 919 Palestinians killed by Israel including 284 children & 100 women, 4260 injured."

I have to say, I think Facebook has really found a new way to trivialize the Israeli/Palestinian conflict like never before. What these status updates do is turn what's going on in Gaza from an extremely complicated foreign dispute to a plain old competition. They might as well say, "My side has suffered the most. We win!" or "My side had so many people die today-I'm prepared for your pity." Give me a break.

This type of crap drives me nuts. It's not a race, it's not a sporting event, it's people's lives. It trivializes it. There's just no other word for it. You really want to show people how much you care about it? Find someone who supports the other side and talk to them. Or just remind them how many rockets they shot at you in the past week. That'll probably breed a ton of understanding and unity.


David Pratt said...

David is donating his These Gentlemen status to Daniel Strauss. He has been right for 5 consecutive posts.

Damo said...

An interesting point and a poignant example, but at least status updates like these keep people AWARE of issues. I agree that people need to dig deeper and try not to represent intensely divided political issues as if they are team sports. But when 99.9% of the populace is "on the sidelines" of the conversation it is easy to pick a "team" and run with it.

This is a fatal flaw our species keeps repeating. What we are looking for should not be ideological victory over our perceived enemies, but rather workable solutions to complicated, divisive issues.

Otherwise we just keep creating new enemies. The cycle stops when we figure out how to stop fighting, accept each other, and "share the bounty of the land."

Who wants to be the first to call me a hippie? BRING IT!

Scotty said...

What Damo said - the point of the numbers is to raise awareness of the human toll, not just to tabulate it. The point of the statuses is to let your Fbook friends know, loud and clear, where your sympathies lie, but not who has the high score (at least, I hope not). I don't think that anyone's really reducing the Gaza crisis to a sporting match.

However, to borrow from Bill Maher, a pithy statement like "donating your status" is like putting a little American flag on your car after 9/11 - it's literally the least you can do. You want to make a difference? Go protest. Rally support. Donate to relief efforts. Do something effective.

I don't even pretend to understand the half of what's going on over in Gaza, other than that people are fighting and dying over a pile of rocks they all want to call home. Of course, if war came to soil upon which I felt I had a rightful, ancestral claim, damn right I'd fight for it.

To the Zoning Board of Livingston County, Michigan: I can unleash the fire of a thousand Facebook statuses upon you. Don't fuck with me.