The Idiots Guide to the Universe It's a big weird world, best to be snarky!

16Jul/14Off

The Idiocy of Argue-tainment

Photo on 7-16-14 at 6.32 PMI have been distancing myself from social media a lot more often recently. I have also found myself happier because of it. Why? The largest form of entertainment available via social media, on sites like Facebook and on news article comments, is arguing. Look at many articles on the Internet, it could be about puppies and there is some idiot conservative muppet who starts complaining about Obama, on the other side you have some idiot liberal muppet who starts complaining about guns. People really like to be right, I am no exception. But I have really tried to control my desire to argue, or point out when others are wrong. It is far more difficult than I thought it would be. Frankly, I have some friends that believe some pretty bizarre stuff. I also have friends that post at least on anti-Obama something EVERY - SINGLE - DAY. Now that's not to say I don't have liberal friends that don't post their own slanted drivel that is just as ridiculous and foolish, that certainly happens as well.

In general we as a society are becoming so simple minded. We only think in catchphrases, talking points, and memes. Trying to explore an issue to it's depth with someone and you are met with their political party platitudes and presumptions before you can even get started. At this point I am fairly convinced that if Barrack Obama cured cancer, the conservatives on the Internet would say that it is so he can take profits away from the hard working healthcare industry. If Speaker of the House, John Boehner, were to cure cancer , the liberals would accuse him of trying to subvert the Affordable Healthcare Act and protect the corporate profits of the healthcare industry. Why? Because they are on the other side, and for some reason, that little D, or R next to their name demonizes them in the eyes of many to the point of savage disavowel that they have any redeeming qualities. Once someone is from THEM, then surely you can't agree with anything they say. The argument begins. The thing that is always lost, is love for your fellow man. People always seem to forget that it is people that ultimately are effected. Maybe, just maybe if we stopped arguing long enough we could look at an issue and say "What happens to the people? Whose lives will be effected, and how? "

It's not just politics, it's religion, sports, science, literature, film, and much more. Look at the arguments over whether Twilight or Harry Potter is better, Star Trek or Star Wars, Conan or Kimmel, even kittens or puppies will be argued about. What have we accomplished through all of this? It has made us more divisive as a society, more inclined to react quickly than to think something through, more likely to be wrong, and far less likely to have a civil conversation.

The odds of you and I agreeing on every point in this life is pretty slim, if not impossible. I still get irritated when I see things. In many cases I might even type out and delete a response I get so frustrated or angered by it. I don't like this reaction, it's not healthy. It can be little things about religion or politics, or even big things where people are just flat out wrong. One of the biggest things that get my goat is strongly held beliefs in conspiracies, and things that are not based on fact. I just need to let it go. We all should let it go, but I can only control one person and that is me.

There is no reason that we, as a society, should carry on with this argue-tainment any longer. If we all just start to ignore it, it will go away. I don't know what will replace it. I would love to say meaningful discussion on a deep and philosophic level. But I am a realist, I know that that would just devolve into arguing again. But it would at least be interesting to see what happened. So next time, don't post the sarcastic comment. Don't share the disparaging meme. Don't share something that is clearly partisan and meant to belittle others. How often does someone really change their mind because of a Facebook post, a Facebook comment, a meme, or a comment on an Internet article. Quite simply, 99.9% of the time, it is narcissistic mental masturbation. The only person that gets anything out of it is you. Sure someone might argue back, and you may post another quip, but in the end, neither of you changed your mind and neither of you has come to any clearer revelation.

So later this week, I am going to purge my friends list on Facebook. If I unfriend you, it's not because I don't value you as a human being. It is for the simple reason that I find many of the things that you post frustrate me to the point of wanting to argue. It is a personality flaw with me where I want to argue. It doesn't mean that I no longer value your personal friendship. It just means that I don't need the added stress and blood pressure that comes with me wanting to argue the points with you. The best part of Facebook is the meaningful connections I have managed to maintain with many people, and I would surely not want to lose that. I have already unsubscribed from several community groups because I find myself thinking less of my local community because of them.

The other side of this is that I am trying to be cognitive of what I post as well. I have been making an effort to not post things that are disparaging about specific beliefs, or ideologies. I am trying not to troll for arguments. I try to speak more in generalities. The World Cup certainly helped since it gave me something fairly benign to discuss. But I definitely have some strong opinions about things, some of these are things that people base their lives on. So it isn't always easy.

If this little experiment of purging my friends list doesn't work, and I still feel myself frustrated or wanting to argue, I will just simply walk away from Facebook and social media all together. What would I do with all of that time? What are your thoughts? Comment below.

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