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Category Archives: judgments

All the lonely people, where do they all belong?

Earlier this week, I was directed toward this article in The Atlantic about how Facebook is the downfall of society as we know it.

Now, it’s a long article. TEN PAGES. I know you’re totally all busy people and don’t have time to be reading ten pages from The Atlantic. So what did I do, because I’m the most helpful human being in the history of all the world? Printed this sucker out and red-penciled it for you while I read it. I know. You’re probably all totally impressed right now. Don’t be too impressed. I did it at work. And when my coworkers came by, I pretended I was proofreading something work-related. I know. It was evil. But also the smartest. And the most multi-tasky.

In a nutshell: the author hates Facebook and spends ten pages telling you how it makes us all lonely and eschew REAL-LIFE social interaction for fake internet relationships.

Oh, you want me to go into MORE detail? Or, you don’t WANT me to, but you’ve come to expect such from one such as me? Sure. Sure, I can do that.

The author, Stephen Marche, has a theory. The theory is, as our social networking grows quicker and our social networks broader, our real-life interaction – which, to him, is the only way to keep the evil, evil loneliness at bay – disappears. Therefore, we’re a nation of lonely, sad people, just sitting in front of our screens, hanging our hopes on other sad, lonely people who aren’t real friends at all.

So alone. Sooooo aloooone.

He backs this up with nebulous facts and figures that, to the critical eye, seem to have little to do with the situation at hand. For example: “A 2010 AARP study found that 35 percent of adults older than 45 were chronically lonely, as opposed to 20 percent of a similar group only a decade earlier.” Well, that’s sad. And I feel sorry for these lonely people. However, according to this website I found with a quick Google search, only 32% of people over the age of 45 are even using social media, as opposed to 67% under the age of 45. If you look a little further down on their infographic, it even breaks down Facebook users by age – and only 19% of total Facebook users are over the age of 45. So this, to me, doesn’t seem like the best use of facts and figures. Shouldn’t a study have been used testing the loneliness levels of those UNDER the age of 45, since they’re the ones more likely to be using the product that’s being vilified?

He also brings up other statistics about loneliness: we’re more likely to be in non-traditional families and live alone (which he follows with a “heh, heh, but of course THAT, ALONE, doesn’t mean you’re lonely, heh heh”) and that people who are religious tend to be less lonely (followed by a sentence about how probably also religion might NOT help with the loneliness – um, way to waffle, Marche.)

He says the best way to measure loneliness is to use the UCLA Loneliness Scale. Well, you know I researched that puppy. Here it is, in case you wanted to know how lonely you are.

Ten pages. The article was TEN PAGES LONG. And what it boils down to is this:

  • The author is transparently biased against social media.
  • The author thinks that – and I quote – “Facebook is primarily a platform for lonely skulking.”
  • The author thinks that looking at other people’s triumphs on social media will make you more depressed about your own life.
  • The author thinks that America’s national pastime is loneliness; that, through our pioneer spirit, we have fostered loneliness, and that will be our downfall.
  • The author thinks that, because of social media, we are no longer able to either interact with others meaningfully, or be alone with ourselves, and this is dangerous.
  • The author thinks that we are the loneliest we have ever been, and has facts and figures he says back up this assertion.
  • The author does not believe that friendships can exist anywhere but in real life – “The ‘real thing’ being actual people, in the flesh.”

Well. That’s a lot of assertions. Good thing this article was TEN DAMN PAGES LONG MARCHE.

The title of the article is “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely.” If you go into an article already knowing what your stance is, probably make it more of an assertion. “Facebook is Making Us Lonely.” Something like that. Right? I mean, I’d punch up the title by putting in some ALL CAPS or a song quote or something, but not everyone can be as awesome about titles as I am. I know. I’m sorry.

Now that we know what Marche thinks, let’s talk about what I think. What, you thought I was going to let this go? Nope. That’d be unlike me.

Let’s take his assertions one by one.

Social media is the devil.

Well, social media is what you make of it. It’s an excellent tool for a lot of things. Let’s take Facebook. It’s great for staying in touch with far-flung loved ones (for example: how would I have seen a photo of Baby Girl Awesomesauce less than 12 hours after she was born, were it not for Facebook? Email, I suppose. But it’s a lot easier for a dad who’s just dealt with a whole day of his wife’s labor to post a photo on Facebook for everyone to see than it is for him to fiddle around emailing it to his contact list but make sure you don’t email EVERYONE, I mean, you don’t want to email, say, PayPal, or that guy you had a fight with that time, or whatever. Oh, and by the way, Baby Girl Awesomesauce a., is BEAUTIFUL, b., has the most wonderful feet, c. will hereafter be known by her new blog alias, which is Ceevee) and it’s excellent for keeping up with what’s going on locally if you’re involved with something like theater, because there’s always something going on, and I could never keep up with it all if it weren’t for Facebook event invites and such. It’s also got a lot of crap on it. “Please repost if you believe in not killing puppies with makeshift potato guns” and such. I know. But if you’re intelligent, you can either skim over that, or you can hide those people from your feed. There are always going to be asshats. That’s just the way of the world.

Social media is also a must if you’re in any facet of the entertainment industry, all the way from Oprah to the lowliest little blogger named Amy. You make networks and connections and you sell your product and you put yourself out there. Not using social media to its full advantage is like trying to run with your ankles tied together. It’s ridiculous. (Also, it bears note that at the bottom of the article in The Atlantic, there’s a link to the author’s Twitter and Facebook pages. It’s like RAAAIIINNN on your WEDDINNNNGGG DAAAYYYY. Don’tcha think?)

Facebook is primarily a platform for “lonely skulking.”

"And the towel boy snickers as he walks by the lonesome skulker." Virtual internet cookies to whoever gets that bastardized reference withOUT a Google search.

Um. Well, first, wow. I can see someone saying this about Twitter more than Facebook, to be honest. You can be a lot more anonymous on Twitter than you can on Facebook. I mean, I guess what the author means is, you’re there reading everyone’s status updates and not interacting and being all troll-like or something? And sure, there are people who do that. But why are you friends with those people? That’s your fault. Don’t friend weirdos. RULE NUMBER ONE DON’T FRIEND WEIRDOS.

Also, this wasn’t marketed as an op-ed piece, yet the author’s opinion on Facebook came through loud and clear. Listen. I am not head-over-heels with Facebook. It has its problems. I know that. I don’t check it as obsessively as I check Twitter. But as a tool? It’s kind of invaluable. I mean, I got to catch up recently with a friend from high school I haven’t spoken to in almost twenty years. One of the GOOD ones from high school. One of the few. Where else would you get to do that? Would you stalk him and send him a letter, for the love of Pete? Facebook can be annoying, sure. But, as with anything else, it’s a good tool, if used properly.

Heh, “lonely skulking.” Does it help you create a mental image of this author if I tell you his regular gig is as a writer for Esquire? Thought it might.

Looking at other’s triumphs on Facebook will make you more depressed about your own life.

Dammit! My friends are so HAPPY. I HATE THEM.

Well, again, that’s on you. If you are so insecure about your own life that you’re all green-eyed monster whenever one of your friends has a triumph, that’s really your issue, not theirs, and not Facebook’s. Do I sometimes see something one of my friends has done and have a fleeting flash of envy? Of course I do, don’t be insane. I’m not a robot. But I’m secure enough in my own life, and the amazing things therein, to say, hey, listen, I’VE GOT IT PRETTY DAMN GOOD OVER HERE. Also, I love my friends. LOVE THEM. And if they’re triumphing? I’m celebrating that for them. I have some of the best friends in the world. I want all good things for them. It would break my heart if all they posted were negative things. So when two of my friends got engaged last week? I cheered out loud. When I read that Ceevee was born and saw her perfect little footprints? I cried a little, thinking of how I’ve known her mom for twenty years and am so, so happy that she’s now a mom and that Ceevee is perfection and she’s married to a great guy and I couldn’t be happier for her. There are no sour grapes in that. There’s pure, unadulterated happiness. I want all of my friends to have the most amazing things in their lives. Don’t you all want that? And if you don’t – well, maybe shine the light on the beam in your own eye, you know? If you can’t rejoice in the triumphs of the people you love – well, I don’t want to be judgey, but there might be a hole in your life you might want to look into filling somehow, and Facebook’s not going to do that for you.

America’s national pastime, brought upon by our pioneering spirit, is loneliness 

We're so LOOOONNNEEELYYYYY

Now, this is just kind of stupid, to be frank. Who can judge such a thing? I can just see this guy coming up with this while “lonely skulking” at his computer, all Mr. Burns-y rubbing his hands together, thinking he’d reinvented the wheel with this theory. (In additional “I thought of a cool thing, Momma!” news, he says the great American poem is Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” the great American novel is Melville’s Moby-Dick, and the great American essay is Emerson’s “Self-Reliance.” Who appointed you poobah of choosing such things for me, Marche? I’m an American and I’d choose otherwise. I bet a lot of other Americans would, too. And you didn’t even throw in an “arguably” or something. You put it as these ARE the great American works. Wow, I’m glad I know now! I can just stop reading, then!) I don’t even have a rebuttal for this point; it’s just that foolish. Also, being alone does not always mean you are lonely. This is a point which Marche brings up, actually, a number of times throughout the article. However, he then goes on to say that cowboys, pilgrims, and astronauts, all American icons, all struck out on their own, and are deified in our culture; being alone, they must have been lonely, and therefore, we worship loneliness. You’re double-talking, Marche.

Social media does not allow us to interact with one another meaningfully; nor does it allow us to ever be truly alone, which we all need.

Let’s just ignore the fact that the whole essay is all “YOU SHOULD NEVER BE ALONE YOUR SOUL WILL WITHER AND DIE” and therefore ignore the second half of this assertion, ok? It’s how he sums up the article. The end honestly reads like a junior-high kid who just learned how to write a five-paragraph essay but didn’t realize you’re not supposed to introduce new information in the last paragraph. Is the fact that, with the addition of social media in our lives, we’re never truly alone, an interesting one? Yes. Does it belong in this essay? No. It’s stuff for another essay altogether. This is akin to a beginning chef adding JUST ONE MORE ingredient to a dish, and being surprised when it flops. You need to know when to stop.

As to whether social media allows us to interact with one another meaningfully – well, I’ll go into that in more detail in a moment. But I’ll bring up an example. Jim – you all know Jim, right? Jim’s one of my favorite humans – is doing a walk to benefit ABOARD’s Autism Connection of Pennsylvania. Through mainly social media, in just one week, he beat his goal of $1,000 in donations to go to the charity. (He’s still collecting! He’s not done! Click the link and help him DOUBLE his total, how about? It barely hurts at all, promise.) Is that not a meaningful interaction? People who’ve never actually met Jim, or his family, donating money because he’s an amazing human being and he’s walking for a good cause? I could bring up hundreds of other examples. Thousands, probably. People whose lives have been saved because the support of their social network. People who’ve married people they’ve met online. People who’ve started businesses, donated organs, money, time, hell, things as inconsequential as made each other laugh. Who are you, Marche, to say these are not meaningful social interactions? 

We are the loneliest we’ve ever been. 

You can tell how lonely this guy is by the sad, sad mirror. And pouty duck-lips.

Well, I cast some light on one of the statistics that Marche used to come up with this assertion above.  And over at Slate, the actual author of one of the studies quoted says that the study Marche used isn’t considered a good source – he thinks that the results somehow came out skewed. This seems to be an example of someone skewing the results to fit the picture they want to paint. Listen, when I was in high school, I was on the yearbook committee, and we did this shit ALL THE TIME. We did these senior polls, and if we didn’t like how they turned out, we’d manipulate the numbers until they looked better. It happens. On a small level, in a podunk high school, and on a bigger level, like in The Atlantic. Or on Fox News. Ahem. Sorry, Dad. Moving on.

Friendships can’t exist anywhere except in real life. 

This is what bothered me the most about the article. This is what made me stabby. This is what made me sit down and write this post.

OK, so I took the UCLA Loneliness Scale test I mentioned above. I scored barely above the average, which means I’m only slightly more lonely than your average Joe or Jane.

Had I taken that same test a year ago, before I discovered social media (mainly Twitter – I was on Facebook, but just barely, a year ago, and Facebook’s never been my drug of choice)? I would have scored much, much higher. Dangerously into the red on the old loneliness scale.

Now, I know I’m not your average American. I know I’m not good at the social interaction and I actually PREFER the social interaction I get with a keyboard and a screen. I’m not saying I eschew the face-to-face interaction. I’m just not overly good at it. I never have been. You’re a lot less likely to say something ridiculously embarrassing or to spill spaghetti sauce on your blouse if you’re interacting with a computer. Also, I kind of have social anxiety where my whole chest closes up when I have to be social? So my circle of friends was small.

Introduce social media into that – well, maybe it doesn’t work for some people. It’s worked wonders for me. I’ve met people from all over that I just adore. People that I would never have met otherwise. I started blogging. I built a community that I never had a chance to build in real life, due to issues in childhood and trust issues and anxiety issues and issues issues issues ad infinitum.

So Marche tells us that the people you meet online aren’t REAL friends. Huh. Well. I do have to wonder what his definition of friend is. His seems to be “someone you see in real life regularly.” And that’s it. End sentence. And maybe that was a definition of friendship pre-internet. But doesn’t that seem limited now?

To me, a friend is someone you can share your day with. Your secrets. Someone you can rejoice with and commiserate with. Someone you worry about and love as fiercely as family; someone you’d do anything for; someone you look forward to interacting with, someone you laugh with, someone you can have long, rambling talks with. Someone who accepts you just exactly how you are, yet isn’t afraid to call you out on your bullshit. Someone who knows you’ll always be there, someone you know will always be there.

Does this seem fair? Does this seem like a fair definition of a friend to you?

I have these people in real life. Of course I do.

However, I have these people on the internet, as well. People that I’ve met through social media. People that I’ve met – virtually, perhaps, not in real life, but virtually – that mean as much to me as the people I’ve spent real-life time with.

“What? You’re FRIENDS with people you met via SOCIAL MEDIA? INCONCEIVABLE!” I can hear you now, Marche. And you know what Inigo Montoya would say to that, right?

I’m not saying EVERYONE I’ve met via social media is my immediate BFF. Don’t be absurd. It’s much like real life; some people you click with, some you don’t, and some you downright loathe. However, you’re meeting people who have similar interests, so you find a lot more people you click with.

People that immediately discount relationships that either began on or continue on the internet as “not real” make me insane. They also make me aware that they either tried social networking and were utter failures at it, or refuse to try it at all. It’s rude to discount internet friendships and relationships as not real. They’re just as real as the friends in your life that you can touch and see. “But you don’t KNOW them!” Well, do we really know anyone? Do we, really? I mean, you could be best friends with someone and hang out at their house all the time and still find out that they’re a drug addict or they beat their wife when you’re not around or something. We’ve all heard interviews with people who knew serial killers or mass murderers – knew them IN REAL LIFE – and it’s always the same thing. “They seemed so NICE!” Friendship is a big old scary leap of faith. Every single damn time. No matter if the person is sitting there right in front of you, or if that person is across the world from you.

There’s no difference, none at all, between an in-the-flesh friendship and an internet friendship. (And, not to throw a wrench in your works, Marche, but as the year progresses, here, I have plans to MEET some of the internet people. IN REAL LIFE. Therefore making them IRL friends, right? There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio. You know the drill.) The people I’ve met online that I consider my closet friends – they’re right up there with my closest friends that I have dinner with and I hang out with in person. They’re ALL my real-life friends. Because they’re all my friends. Because – I’m going to tell you a secret, ready? They’re all people. They share my joys and my sorrows and they’re there for me. And vice-versa. And I love them to distraction. And I want to smack Marche in the face for implying that my friendship with these people is somehow sad or wrong or pathetic. The only thing pathetic here is being judgmental about my life, and the lives of so many of us, Marche. We’ve found our people. Who cares how we got here?

So, IS Facebook making us lonely?

No. It’s not. If you’re lonely, go out and do something about it. Get therapy, talk to someone, I don’t care how you decide to deal with it – just do something about it.

But screw you for blaming social networking for the ills of society, Marche. For some of us, it’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to us. It’s making us LESS lonely. It’s making us feel part of something bigger and better than ourselves. And if you don’t see that – well, I just feel sorry for you, honestly. I wish you had a good friend to talk to about your feelings. Me? I’m good.

I have plenty.

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Show me that smile again; don’t waste another minute on your homophobia.

OK, we’re talking about celebrity shenanigans today, so buckle up, kiddos. I don’t want to get pulled over, seriously, cops get really mad about not having your children in carseats. Remember when Brit-Brit was all “That’s how we DO it! We’re COUNTRY!” when she was driving around with her kid on her lap and got pulled over? SO PUT ON YOUR SEATBELTS. I can’t afford a ticket right now.

Oh, I didn’t do my daily “how’s Amy’s sanity” check-in. Let’s do that. Amy’s sanity is…somewhat intact? Four more days of work. The end is in sight! Sort of! People are getting testy testy TESTY over there. Whoo! However, I have yet to bathroom-weep, even though they stole my Twitter. I’m kind of irrationally proud of that. Which means that probably tomorrow, there will be bathroom-weeping, but that’s the way it goes, I suppose.

So, yeah, it’s going. People who do such things, if you are so inclined, please continue to send me adorably supportive and/or sarcastically bitter emails, which make me laugh and feel like I’m in a warm bubble bath of love. Thanks ever so.

Anyway, so today, let’s talk about celebrities and the shenanigans they’re currently causing. What’s that? Do I think I’m TMZ? Who cares? Oh, no one, probably, and no, I don’t think I’m TMZ, at least not the last time I checked. But I’m currently incapable of thinking too deeply, and when I want to turn off my brain: CELEBRITY NEWS.

First: Oh, WTF, Courtney Love. DUBYA TEE EFF.

This is how I like to remember her. All adorable loud Riot Grrrl. This was my favorite iteration of Courtney.

OK, so I know, I KNOW, that Courtney Love is a hot mess. I know that. I KNOW. I am not unintelligent. However, here’s the scoop.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I love, and will always love, Courtney Love. Even when she’s being an utter looney and doing horrible things and being destructive and hateful and crazy heaped on top of crazy topped with a cherry of crazy.

In one of the darkest times of my life, Hole was the soundtrack. And Hole, say what you will, helped me keep it together. And, even though she’s got major issues, I feel a kinship to Courtney Love. I’m not saying I think we could be BFFs and hang out and yell at hairdressers together or whatever, but I just feel BAD for her. She’s SO MESSED UP. There’s drugs and a dead husband and her own daughter doesn’t seem to want anything to do with her and mental issues and she doesn’t ever seem to get any help, or if she does, it doesn’t seem to take, does it?

Anyway, her latest thing (ugh, SIGH, Courtney) is that she went on Twitter (AGAIN) and ranted and raved that Dave Grohl was hitting on Frances Bean, and she wanted to shoot him, and that he was in love with Kurt the whole time. And it was, as always, typo-ridden and just over-the-top-weird.

And Frances Bean responded with a very adult, “Um, that never happened, Twitter should ban my mom.” Only, she said, “While I’m generally silent on the affairs of my biological mother, her recent tirade has taken a gross turn.” Her BIOLOGICAL mother. Ugh. OUCH. Seriously, say what you want, but Courtney did seem to, to the best of her abilities, love her daughter. Who has completely cut her off, apparently. This is heartbreaking.

Also, have we SEEN Frances Bean lately? GORGEOUS, you guys. Utterly stunning.

Anyway. I don’t know what the solution here is, honestly. I mean, it’s not up to me to solve the world’s problems, so who cares if I have a solution. I’m not Dr. Phil. But this is just the saddest. And I’m pretty sure one of these days we’re going to hear that Courtney Love is dead, you know? It’s surprising it hasn’t happened yet. And it will make me really sad. Listen, I’m not saying my heart is intelligent? Quite the opposite. It’s very, very stupid. But I have a Courtney Love thing. You know how I’m relentlessly loyal to my people? Courtney Love is my people. Sorry if that is an embarrassment. But my heart hurts for her. She’s like that kooky cousin you kind of shake your head over, but you still love. And she helped get me through a bad time. So, yeah. I’ll always love her. And worry about her. A lot.

On to similarly upsetting topics.

KIRK EFFING CAMERON.

OK, so you know Kirk Cameron, right? Growing Pains. Mike Seaver. Best friend named Boner. Always getting into kooky jams and scrapes, but always learning important lessons. About LIFE.

SO SEXY, right? I mean, the muscle shirt, and the red pants, and the feathery hair? That jacket won't even STAY on those intensely muscled arms. TOO SEXY NO NO NO.

Well! Let’s play “where are they now,” shall we?

So the Kirk Cameron you see above, with the pants of redness and the jacket that is just TOO COOL to be worn, just all slung CASUALLY over his shoulder all sexy-like, has turned into this:

Also, that's a lot of forehead, Captain Homophobe.Guess there's no feathering that hair now, yeah?

Kirk Cameron became a born-again Christian. Now, I have nothing against born-again Christians, per se. As long as they aren’t loud. And hatey. But Cameron? He’s the loudest of the loud and the hatiest of the hatey.

On Piers Morgan in early March, Kirk Cameron “explained that he believes homosexuality is ‘unnatural… I think that it’s detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.'”

Because, you know, there’s no one who knows the mind of God more than a born-again Christian self-righteous asshat. AND, the mind of God is apparently FILLED WITH HATRED AND JUDGERY.

Also, he has this website where you can learn about things like:

  • His super-good movies, where he refuses to kiss on-screen, because that’s breaking his marriage vows! Apparently, everything he does on screen is for REALSIES, you guys. Also, you can learn about his role in those Left Behind movies that my mom used to be obsessed with and that gave me the willies. Because if I end up left behind with judgey assholes like the Kirkster, I’m going to hitch a ride with one of the four horsemen right out of Dodge, no joke.
  • His ministry, where you can “break out of your comfort zone and share the everlasting gospel with atheists, agnostics, cult members, and family members – it is more of a thrill than bull-riding or sky-diving!”
  • How his words were TWISTED by the EVIL PIERS MORGAN! Who is probably AN INSTRUMENT OF THE DEVIL! And how he regrets NONE OF WHAT HE SAID! However, no one should mistreat the gays or the bisexuals. They should just say things like how unnatural they are. That’s not “mistreating” them. That’s just “professing his faith.” (I don’t know where he stands on transgender folk. HOW WILL I SLEEP TONIGHT KIRK.)
  • How he’s doing some sort of tent-revival about how to save your marriage! WON’T THAT BE A HOOT!
  • A video where Anderson Cooper interviews Kirk Cameron about what he thinks about that time all those birds died! (Spoiler alert: Kirk Cameron thinks the gays did it with their gay thought-beams of gayness. JUST KIDDING. He has no idea. Because he is NOT A SCIENTIST. Also, Anderson Cooper looked disgusted throughout this interview. Smart man, that Anderson Cooper.)
  • He has six kids. Has he mentioned? Six. Hey, he has six kids. Can he mention it again? SIX KIDS. (It’s because he doesn’t believe in birth control. You know. Because of JESUS.)

Alright, let’s just get this out of the way right now: Kirk Cameron, I never thought you were hot. I always thought you had an oddly-shaped head, and I’ve never been able to trust a man who uses that much product in his hair. I was all about Sean Astin when I was young. Sean Astin and Ralph Macchio. I know, looking back, these are also not the smartest choices, but at least they haven’t turned out to be hatemongering douchemonsters.

If you were a true Christian, you would not go around furthering an agenda of hate. You would love everyone. You say you’re just going by the Bible. Right? OK, I can play that game, too. I taught churchschool, Poindexter. I know my Bible. How about this: John 13:34-35, New International Version (NIV): 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Are we ignoring this one for the “NO GAYS NO GAYS” one? Because I think, were Jesus here standing in front of us right now, and were given the Sophie’s choice of “Hey, Jesus, you get to pick one of these edicts, but ONLY ONE, so choose wisely: a., ALL GAYS ARE EVIL BAD EVIL BAD FOREVER EW EW EW, or b., As I have loved you, so you must love one another. So, which’ll it be, Jesus old buddy old pal?” I’m pretty sure you and I BOTH know, Cameron, which one he’d choose. Right? And it wouldn’t be the one you’re spouting hate about all around the town. I think Jesus leaned a little more toward the love and a little less toward the judgey hate. Also, now, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there a “Let he who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone?” in the Bible? I’m pretty sure there was. And I think we all know the outcome. NO ONE WAS WITHOUT SIN. Including you, Cameron. INCLUDING YOU. I mean, your crimes against fashion in the 80s ALONE are enough to condemn you to at LEAST a few eternities in one of the minor circles of Hell once you perish, I think we can all agree?

Anyway, I’ve decided there’s more than a little a “methinks the lady doth protest too much” going on here, especially once this study came out the other day: Study Finds Homophobes Often Have Repressed Homosexual Tendencies.

I mean, I kind of always KNEW this? But I love that science backed it up, finally. I’m not going to recap this. It’s totally worth the click. It’s not going to give you a virus. But here’s a teaser sentence: “the study shows homophobia as a defensive response to suppressed feelings.” So the next time you come across a violent homophobe and you think, hmm, why so homophobic? Yeah. There’s probably something more going on there. Like you always suspected. You can smile to yourself, a smile of knowing all the knowledge. Science backs you up.

In happier news, Cameron’s Growing Pains co-stars do NOT stand behind his rant. They were solidly “no no no” about it when it came out. So apparently he did not learn ANYTHING from the Seavers, and there needs to be a Very Special Reunion Episode of Growing Pains where they have an intervention and Mike comes out of the closet and all the Seavers nod knowingly and say, “Gah, FINALLY, Mike!”

Also, in related news, this happened today, and it made me insanely happy. But, since Funny or Die and WordPress apparently are mortal enemies, I can’t embed it, even though I’ve tried for like twenty minutes and I’m close to tears. So you have to click. It’s funny, I promise. Even though I’m so mad at it right now I could throw a ninja star at it.

OK. It’s late, I’m tired, I’m cranky as hell, and I want to try to get some sleep that’s not interrupted by panic attacks, what do you say?

Happy Friday, all. Love your faces. Four more days, four more days.


Oh, and I will make myself so beautiful.

OK, I’m late to the party here. AGAIN. Listen, it’s the last two weeks of tax season? Deadline is April 17? AND WE ARE BUSY AS HELL. So a lot of things pass me by unnoticed. Dad’s always saying, “Did you hear about…” and mentioned major things, and I’m like, “Nope.” Because I haven’t. I barely have my Twitter feed open. I have come to rely on people to tweet me. It has become a sad and singular little existence, my sugar plums. But the light is at the end of the tunnel. I can barely see it, but it’s there. It’s on the way. Dim, but it’s there.

So I kept noticing this morning everyone mentioning the name “Samantha Brick” and I made a mental note to Google this because they were insulting how attractive she was. And I hate that shit so it was annoying me. But from the tone, I assumed there was a backstory I was missing.

HOLY HELL was there a backstory I was missing.

So you all know about this Samantha Brick thing, right?

Samantha Brick is a British freelance journalist. She wrote an article Monday entitled – ready? – ‘There are downsides to looking this pretty’: Why women hate me for being beautiful in the Daily Mail. (British Twitter people inform me that the Daily Mail is the tabloidiest of the tabloidy papers over there. True?)

The article is – well, it’s pretty much described in the title. Samantha Brick claims she is SO PRETTY that she has been discriminated against at work and forced to wear dowdy clothing and passed over for promotion because of her stunningness and the jealousy it instills in the other ladies she works with; none of her female friends will ask her to be a bridesmaid because she’ll look better than them in the wedding party; she gets free food, drink, cab rides, etc. wherever she goes; random people take her photograph; and all the women of the world hate her. Oh, and if you read the article and have a vagina and hate her? It’s because you’re jealous. Jealous because she’s beautiful. And you’re not. Beautiful. At all. Compared to her beauty. Her prodigious beauty.

OK, listen, I think we all have beauty and worth and blah blah blah sunshine flowers? And I’m not here to run down anyone’s looks? But do you have a mental picture of what this woman (bee tee dubs, she’s 41, not 21, so you can’t even blame the idiocy of youth for this nonsense) looks like? If not, fix one in your mind.

Here’s what she really looks like.

Um.

She’s…fine?

Kevin blogged about this today (WAY TO BEAT ME TO THE PUNCH KEVIN), and I was interested to see an intelligent guy’s take on this.  He thinks she’s unpretty and her eyes are cockeyed. 

I’m not going to say she’s UNpretty. I hate to be judgey. I really do. I mean, I totally am judgey, in my HEAD. If you say you’re not, you’re a liar. We’re all judgey in our heads, don’t even deny it. But out loud…um…well, we all have shit we’re going through and dealing with, you know? And adding an extra layer of cattiness to that really isn’t productive to anyone. I don’t go around falsely complimenting people, either, I just want to make that clear. If I think someone looks pretty or handsome one day, or something’s a good photo of someone? If I genuinely think it? I say it. Otherwise, I just keep my mouth shut. It’s rude otherwise. Also, if you keep dishing out false compliments, people stop trusting you when you say a real one. And you can’t sleep with a clear conscience. At least I can’t. I hate false compliments. They taste like ashes in my mouth. Sincerely.

That being said…how to put this delicately.

She’s kind of plain. Not UGLY, I wouldn’t say UGLY. She’s plain. Average. She’s FINE. She’s just nothing special.

And her eyes really are crooked. Nice call on that, Kevin.

So what the hell’s going on in this article? Is she trolling the internet? Is she TRYING to get all the hits? There were almost 5,000 comments on her article when I went over there to gank the link for this post. Most of them all “WHAT AN UGLY HOSEBEAST” but still, that’s 5,000 people moved to comment – and if my own comments and stats are any indication? Only about 10% of the readership comments. So that’s about, what, 50,000 hits, or so?

Also, Twitter blew up, as I mentioned. It’s what we do. We’re good at it. It’s one of the many reasons I love Twitter. Here, click on this. The hashtag (or, if you’re my dad, hashbrown) #samanthabrickfacts is full of people making jokes about her. Some are humorous: “She can’t walk through wooded areas in case she attracts many furry animals, singing to her.” Some are mean as hell and I’m not going to repeat them. The good ones make fun of her self-involvement; the bad ones make fun of her looks, or, worse, seem to vaguely threaten her? Way to be, weirdos of the interwebs.

If this paper really is a tabloid, I’m guessing content really isn’t that big of a deal to them? Are British tabloids like American tabloids, like, with “BAT BOY SPOTTED IN KANSAS CITY” and “WHITNEY HOUSTON PREDICTED HER OWN DEATH” and such presented as real news items?

Does it depress anyone else that the Weekly World News went out of business? I used to love looking at this thing at the checkout.

Who can answer that for me. Rod? Elaine? My new internet kid sis Emma who I would protect from a marauding herd of water buffalo if called upon to do so?

Or – and this is my inclination – does she really think this is the case? Does she really think she is SO PRETTY that it’s holding her back, that it’s causing rifts in her personal life, that it’s the root of all evil?

If I had to guess, here’s what I think the ACTUAL root of all evil is.

She has an inflated sense of self-worth, she’s kind of a twatwaffle, and no one wants to hang out with her. She, like most twatwaffles, doesn’t put the blame on her OWN plate, no no, why would you do THAT? She, INSTEAD, blames HER EXTREME BEAUTY. Because they can’t POSSIBLY dislike her PERSONALITY! I mean, what’s to dislike? She’s OBVIOUSLY the very model of utter perfection in word and deed. It can’t POSSIBLY be HER. It’s her GORGEOUS VISAGE. And, by extension, everyone who treats her poorly is such a jealous asshole!

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes when no one wants to hang out with you it’s because you’re a complete and utter douche-kebab, you know?

I mean, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe she lives in the part of France (the article says she lives in France) where all the people with facial deformities live, so she’s like a goddess, comparatively, I don’t know. I’m just saying, I can walk through my office – which is just your everyday average office – and every single woman in that office is as pretty or prettier than this chick. And no one’s sending them spur-of-the-moment flowers because they couldn’t help themselves. No one’s going all cartoon-goggly-eyed if they wear a skirt. No one’s telling them they can’t be in a wedding because they’ll upstage the bride.

Kevin mentioned this in his post as well, and I agree – I think all these amazing wonderful acts of kindness (which are actually, ZOMG, OPPRESSING her) are like Brian’s Canadian girlfriend in The Breakfast Club. No one’s actually SEEN them happen, but she SAYS they’ve happened, so they MUST have happened. “She lives in Canada, met her at Niagara Falls, you wouldn’t know her.” “Oh, ANOTHER man PAID for my CAB today, help, help, I’m being OPPRESSED because I’m so BEAUUUUTIFUL. When? Oh, when you were over feeding the meter, you wouldn’t have seen it, sorry.”

SHE LIVES IN CANADA I SAID.

I honestly am befuddled about this whole situation. I mean, I’m all for thinking you’re beautiful. I’d like all of us to think we’re a little MORE beautiful. I’d like even a quarter of this self-esteem, some mornings. But if this chick’s for real – um – there’s a fine line between self-esteem and delusional, isn’t there? I’m not saying she’s ugly. I’m really not. She’s just fine. And that’s IT. She’s FINE. She’s AVERAGE. And honestly, I don’t know if, say, Heidi Klum, who I think is just stunning, or Kate Winslet, who’s my total girl-crush, are getting all these random “people buy shit for me because of my stunning stunningness” or “all the ladies hate me because I SO PURTY,” you know? Even the two of them! Who ARE stunning!

I'd be half-tempted to give Heidi a free latte...

...and I'd give my girl Kate anything she wanted. She recently RESCUED someone's GRAMMA from a burning BUILDING. I LURVE HER.

So what the hell? Is it delusion? Is it a day-late April Fools’ joke? Is it trolling the internet, trying to get hits and get the name of either the paper or the author out there? What say you, minions? I’m genuinely curious what your take on this is. I’m just flummoxed.

I know. I know. I wouldn’t be saying all this if I wasn’t just so damn JEALOUS, Samantha Brick. *skulks off kicking rocks*

As I was just about to publish, my lovely Amanda also blogged about this. So check out Amanda’s take, because I adore her. If it matters, Amanda, I’m TOTALLY daunted by both your beauty AND your brains. But I don’t hate you for them. I LOVE YOU MORE.

(Title’s from the Hole song “Reasons to be Beautiful.” Have we talked about my Courtney Love/Hole obsession yet? Probably not. In a nutshell: I have a Courtney Love/Hole obsession. I know, but listen! Have you ever been in a really bad mood? Put on a Hole CD and scream along with the lyrics in your car while you’re driving. IT CURES ALL ILLS. I swear.)


Ice Weddings vs. Ghost Dogs: a very serious decision to make.

Well, in a very exciting move for people who like things that are EXCITING, our resident Science Fellow, Andreas, is up and moving his family to a WHOLE NEW COUNTRY next month. Aren’t you totally the most excited about this? He seems to be under the impression that probably most of the internet doesn’t find this in the least bit interesting. I BEG TO DIFFER, ANDREAS. Moving? To a new COUNTRY? That is TOTALLY exciting! I mean, it’s not like you’re moving into your mom’s BASEMENT across TOWN because you got laid OFF because you showed up at work HIGH or something. That wouldn’t be exciting. I wouldn’t have the least bit of interest in THAT. But this! THIS is exciting!

Oh, shit, we probably need his graphic. I keep forgetting that.

OK, so since this is TOTALLY the MOST EXCITING, I thought we should probably do a little background into this, so we can all get the most pumped with Andreas. Oh, don’t get me wrong. ANDREAS is TOTALLY pumped. But I think we ALL should be pumped. MOVING TO A NEW COUNTRYYYYYY! Come on, that’s really noteworthy, you guys.

So! Currently, Andreas lives HERE.

Does anyone notice the thing on this map that made me laugh so hard I totally spit lemonade on my computer desk?

THERE IS A CITY ON THE ISLAND WHERE ANDREAS CURRENTLY LIVES NAMED AFTER HIM.

I think he’s had a successful run there. I mean, they NAMED a damn CITY after him.

This is the Isle of Man. Do not call it England. People who live there do not like that. They also do not like to be called British. They are Manx. When Andreas told me that, I said, “Like the CATS?” and he said, “Yes. Just like the cats.” I like to imagine he said it with a long-suffering sigh. I think a lot of my friends receive my more bizarre conversational salvos with kind of a long-suffering “Oh, it’s AMY, what are you going to do, her brain’s wired a little differently than you’d expect.”

Andreas will be moving to:

Ta da ta DA! FINLAND! Which you all know I like to pronounce obnoxiously. Like Fin-LAYND. Andreas listened to my pronunciation a few weeks ago and said it was alright that I did that. I trust his judgement. He is Finnish, after all. Who else are you going to trust in these matters? So I’m kind of excited, because next month I can say, “My friend Andreas, who lives in FinLAYND” and it’s TRUE, unlike the months I was saying it and he actually didn’t even live there and it was a thing I’d made up in my head when I first knew him.

So then I thought, you know what would be awesome? I think we should probably compare and contrast some important things about the two places. That way, we can see what Andreas is leaving BEHIND and what he’s moving TO. And we can SCORE the two places. Won’t that be fun? Because I don’t know if it’s a good idea for Andreas to just willy-nilly move somewhere that can’t even win a simple compare-and-contrast competition on some weird chick’s blog. MAN do I hope FinLAYND wins, I really have my heart set on this.

Ready? Oh, isn’t this going to be the most fun? I’m pretty sure it is. I’m not sure if Andreas thinks it is. Luckily, as I type this, he is ASLEEP. Also, he kind of already gave me permission to geek out all over his move, and if I’m given permission I’m totally tracking mud all over your nice new carpet. It’s your own damn fault. Be more SELECTIVE next time.

First, let’s compare the flags of the two nations, which Jim helpfully pointed out a few weeks ago.

This is the Finnish flag. Isn’t that nice? It’s very restful. It makes me think the Finns know what they’re doing, and also would be calming about it.

This is the flag of the Isle of Man and I have to be honest, it scares the beejeebers out of me because it reminds me of THIS:

Right? It’s like one of those composite dolls the creepy neighbor future serial killer made in Toy Story. I don’t know what’s up with those legs and no head and such.

The internet tells me the flag of the Isle of Man is known as “three legs” and is based on a 13th century Manx coat of arms. It gives me the willies. I’d imagine that chasing me all around all the time.

POINT: FINLAND.

Now: coats of arms.

Here is the coat of arms of Finland:

This is nice! There is a scary lion with his tongue sticking out all ruffian-like, and swords, I do so like swords. And I like the color scheme. Nice job, Finland.

And the coat of arms of the Isle of Man:

See, I would TOTALLY dig this one, if not for that creepy leg-monster! I like the FALCON and I like the RAVEN (which some random website tells me are named Dexter and Sinister, how kooky and fun is THAT?) and I like the fancy CROWN and I like the nice WORDS underneath it which the internet tells me means “whichever way you throw me, I will stand” (UGH! That totally refers to those CRAZY CREEPY LEGS! I mean, I like it, it’s really motivational, until you think about those LEGS being THROWN at you and they’re all STANDING and then HOPPING toward you. This is nightmarish.)

POINT: It’s a draw. I like falcons so very, very much. But those legs make me unable to give this win to the Isle of Man. And that lion with his crazy tongue make me laugh. NO ONE GETS POINTS AND NO ONE LOSES ANY.)

Now, the FUN stuff. Shit, who are we kidding, it’s all fun stuff.

The mythology of the Isle of Man:

  • The island was ruled by a Celtic Sea God (sea gods are always awesome)
  • There is a ghostly black dog called “Moddey Dhoo” who wanders through a castle (castles and ghost dogs? excellent)
  • There is a fairy bridge that you have to wish the fairies good morning or good afternoon or whatever when you cross it or you will get bad luck
  • Peel Castle, where the most excellent ghost dog lives, is supposedly the Arthurian Avalon. It is also a VIKING CASTLE you guys. And so pretty! Look!

So, what do you have, Finland, hmm? I hope you’re up to this challenge.

Finland has:

  • its own WIKIPEDIA page about mythology. Oh, shit, Isle of Man, this isn’t looking good at all. You just had a little SECTION on another PAGE.
  • A whole very exciting creation story about us all being formed out of an exploding waterfowl’s egg (BAM!)
  • An awesomely-named God of Sky and Thunder – ready for this? Ukko. I’d totally worship a god named Ukko. A god named Ukko would GET SHIT TAKEN CARE OF.
  • Some sort of strange bear-issue where “the bear was considered the most sacred of animals, only referred to by euphemisms.” (I included this specifically for Ken. He does enjoy a good euphemism. I’m sure he could come up with some ursine euphemisms, were he called upon to do so.)
  • Ooh, check this, a “sampo,” which was a magical mill that made flour, salt and gold OUT OF THIN AIR. I could use that. I’d like something like that. “My soup is so bland!” “Wait, I HAVE SAMPO! Kachow! Zing!”

POINT: I have to give this to Finland. Only because they REALLY seemed to put a lot more thought into it. Come on, Isle of Man. Step it up.

Everyone’s favorite part of travel: FOOD.

The food of the Isle of Man – well, listen, I’m biased because I hate all the foods. But the national dish seems to be boiled potatoes and herring. I don’t…this sounds terrible. Just so bland and terrible.

They also enjoy chips, cheese, and gravy. I think this is poutine. ANDREAS. Do they enjoy POUTINE on the Isle of Man? I thought that was just a Canadian thing? I have nothing against poutine. It is DELICIOUS. It looks like hell but it’s very, very good.

Seafood is common. Because they are an ISLAND. I like that very much. I could live on seafood.  They also like lamb a lot. I’ve never had lamb, because, aw, lambs. But one time I was trickily tricked into veal and it was delicious. So probably lamb is very good, too. Baby animals are unfortunately quite tasty, even though you want to also cuddle them. It’s quite a conundrum.

Ooh, they also make over 578 TONS of cheese a year. I would like all the seafood and cheese and poutine. Nice job, Isle of Man.

How about YOU, Finland?

Finland has many exotic berries. Here are some: bilberries, lingonberries, cloudberries. These all sound like things you would find at Willie Wonka’s factory, and make me want to try them all immediately. I want fairy-tale berries!

Finnish people love fish. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I can dig that, Finnish people. I ALSO love all the fish. They ALSO love herring. What’s with people in Andreas’s two lands loving herring? I don’t think I’ve ever eaten herring in my life, now all I read about all day is herring, herring, herring.

Also, Wikipedia seems to think the Finnish people pick berries, mushrooms and fish all day long. I think maybe they have jobs, Wikipedia, but it’s a nice mental image. Also, yum, mushrooms. Andreas, will you mail me some delicious Finnish mushrooms if Finland ends up winning this thing?

However, Finland does NOT win my love for the fact that everything I read says “blah blah blah THEY LOVE RYE BREAD” and I’d rather eat the lunchmeat off my hand-area than eat rye bread, so deep does my hatred of rye run. Also, I read this thing that says when times were tight, Finns made bread out of rye and pine bark, and it was not good or easy to slice, but some weirdo dirty hippies are making it again and saying “IT IS GOOD FOR YOU.” Of COURSE they are. Those damn hippies. Don’t eat trees. You are not a beetle.

“The Finnish breakfast traditionally includes a substantial portion of porridge,” says Wikipedia. I like this because of the “substantial” part, and because it makes me think they’re all like the Three Little Bears over there.

Also, if you live in Lapland, Wikipedia says one of the things you’ll be eating is sautéed reindeer. Andreas! Will you be in LAPLAND?

POINT: Shit, I have to say Finland. Mainly because they, again, seemed to try harder. I don’t think the Isle of Man is giving this competition their all, really. Also, look at this: this is a dessert that the internet tells me Finland has to offer.

This is laskiaispulla. Sometimes it has ALMOND filling. Finland, if you end up winning this, I would like a whole shipment of these adorable things, but NOT your pine tree rye bread, please.

Tourist attractions! Yes. Now, Andreas will NO DOUBT want to visit some exciting tourist attractions, and so I had the FORESIGHT to look some up for him.

Were you aware that Lapland – where, as you’ll remember, you will be eating sautéed reindeer, is the HOME of SANTA? It’s true. And you can VISIT his home! It is called Santa Park.

On this utterly confusing website, we find out many things.

Santa’s favorite food is apparently “Mrs Claus Christmas pudding!” (Google Chrome translated this page for me. In a…befuddling way.) “Porridge recipe is very secret, and none other than Mrs. Claus do not know it. The Wizard Elves are, however, revealed one of the secret ingredients of porridge: “What-I-sting-it?” Spice.”

“What-I-sting-it” is my new favorite thing, and I will be saying it on a regular basis. NO, I don’t know what it means. Does that matter? It is AWESOME.

We also learn way more than we want to about Santa:

“Korvatunturi is also home of Santa Claus: for this reason it is not the secret cavities can not Santa Claus in addition to other than Mrs. Claus and elves.”

SANTA’S SECRET CAVITIES EW EW EW.

Also, there are creepy photos like this one:

Yeah, that’s a taxidermied reindeer that Santa’s grinning about.

BUT, best of ALL, you can GET MARRIED THERE!

Look! A spectacular ICE WEDDING! With a CANDLE and also ICE! Andreas, this is really the opportunity of a lifetime. I bet if you got married here Santa and his taxidermied reindeer would come. Think of the photos in your wedding album! NO ONE would have photos like this!

OK, Isle of Man. Time to step it up. What’s your claim to fame?

Well, there is the Mann Cat Sanctuary, where you can see many Manx cats. I’d like that.

Ooh, and the Curraghs Wildlife Park. You KNOW I’m a sucker for animals.

And many fine historical and crafty places. Um. This isn’t looking good, Isle of Man. Finland has ICE WEDDINGS.

POINT: Finland

OK, let’s tally, shall we?

Isle of Man: Um. Zero. Shit, I am so sorry, Isle of Man.

Finland: ALL THE POINTS. Except the one that was a draw where no one got points because they were both fine.

ANDREAS! Congratulations! YOUR MOVE TO FINLAND IS A VERY GOOD CHOICE! Will you take photos of ice weddings and reindeer and fairytale berries for me?

Dear Finland:

Please note that Andreas is one of my favorite humans, and, subsequently, take very good care of him. The Isle of Man attempted to KILL HIM IN A FIRE recently. Well, I suppose that wasn’t the whole ISLAND’S fault, but I think it might have been a factor. Either way, I was utterly distraught at the idea of losing him and totally had the most nervous of nervous stomachs because he makes my life a happier and better place every day. So, Finland, please take the best care of Andreas and his family. OR I WILL COME MELT YOUR ICE WEDDING CHAPEL WITH A MERKAN BLOWTORCH. Then where will Santa keep his taxidermied creeptastic reindeer and secret cavities?

Please feel free to send me mushrooms and cakes with almond filling. Thanks ever so.

Love, Amy.


Hands up! Hand over your wallet, cell phone, and – oh, yeah, your Facebook information!

So I apparently have to apologize to my dad. Well, HALF-apologize. Let’s not get crazy. I don’t just hand out apologies like saltwater taffy around here.

You have to be PRETTY special to be getting either an apology or a delicious chewy candy from ME, kiddos.

We had a conversation the other night and I was all, NO NO NO and he was all YES YES YES and, well, he was half-right. Dammit. In my defense, it was just cuckoo-bananas enough that anyone would have had the same reaction as I did.

Dad: Well, I hope you’re happy. Did you hear what your government is doing now?
(SIDE NOTE: the current government is mine. I OWN IT. Because I’m a dirty hippie liberal.)
Me: Hard to say. What’s the latest?
Dad: You are required to give your Facebook password to potential employers in order to get a job.
Me: WHAT? That can’t possibly be true.
Dad: IT IS TRUE. It was on the news.
Me: On the news? Or on Fox News?
Dad: I…LISTEN. You go into a job interview nowadays, they say, “You give me your Facebook password right now.” If you say no, they make you leave.
Me: MAKE you leave? What, like give you the bum’s rush? That can’t possibly be a thing. That’s like asking for your bank password. Or your email password.
Dad: It’s a tough economy. People have to give that information or they don’t get hired.
Me: Do you mean they’re asking for your Facebook USERNAME? Like, they want to see what you’re posting? I can see that, I guess. People post all kinds of nonsense and then don’t think to lock that down when they start a job search.
Dad: NO. Your PASSWORD. So they can see EVERYTHING.
Me: I can’t believe this is true. I’m going to research this.
Dad: Well, when you find out I’m telling you the truth, you’re going to call me up and say, “Dad, I am so sorry I called you a liar and broke your heart, as you are the person who fed and clothed me for eighteen years and you really deserve better than being called a liar by your only beloved daughter.”
Me: Yeah. Don’t hold your breath for THAT call, bub.

So I went online the minute we got off the phone and I found THIS. So at first I was all SHIT I’m totally going to have to make that call, I hate when he’s right about something. But then I read it and realized I’d only have to make HALF an apology. Because YES, it is happening. But Dad totally made it sound like it’s America’s new national policy. And also there are security guards to escort you off the premises if you don’t comply.

So apparently, 95% of employers search for you online before hiring you. Fine. I can see that. That’s understandable. I know a lot of people searching for jobs. They lock down their Twitter accounts, they make their blogs private, they make their Facebook accounts only accessible to friends. I mean, the internet has a long memory, so most likely the potential employer will find SOMETHING objectionable about you. I mean, I did a search for my blog the other day and you should have SEEN the pictures that popped up. I really choose some random photos for my posts, I can’t even describe. I mean, I laughed. A potential employer might not.

But ALSO apparently, some employers are getting all knicker-twisty when your Facebook profile is set to private, so they’ve been ASKING POTENTIAL HIREES FOR THEIR USERNAMES AND PASSWORDS. What the holy HELL?

I can tell you right now, I would laugh like a moron if someone asked me for a password at a job interview. I’d think I was being punk’d. I would look around for the hidden cameras.

Here, I’ll write you a little story. We like little stories, right?

JOB INTERVIEW STORY STARRING YOUR FAVORITE UNRULY-HAIRED BLOGGER

HR Rep: Well, that about concludes our interview. Just a few more questions, and I think we’re all set.
Me: Excellent.
HR Rep: Do you have proficiency in word processing software?
Me: I most certainly do. I think I tested 60 words per minute last time I took a typing test, and I’ve used pretty much every word processing software there is. If I haven’t used it, I can pick it up quickly enough.
HR Rep: Wonderful. And you have reception desk training?
Me: Yes, I’ve worked the reception desk at my past few jobs. I’ve gotten excellent feedback for my ability to handle a multi-line phone system.
HR Rep: Great. And here’s a pad and paper, please write down your Facebook username and password?
Me: Guhhhh?
HR Rep: Oh, you probably also need a pen. Here you go.
Me: I’m sorry. I think I must have mis-heard you. My Facebook PASSWORD?
HR Rep: Yes. Standard procedure.
Me: It’s standard procedure to ask for my password to a personal site? Where I keep personal information? About my family and friends?
HR Rep: Yes. We did a search, and you’ve set your Facebook profile to private. It’s only available to people you’re friends with.
Me: Yeeeessss…
HR Rep: So, in order to read it, we’re going to need that username and password. So just jot those down right there.
Me: I’m being punk’d. Right? Is Kutcher even still doing that shit? I thought he was too busy being Douchebag Jesus on Tiger Blood’s old sitcom.

He can walk on water, multiply the fishes and loaves, go see a totally indie band you've never even heard of and give you gonorrhea. All in a day's work for Douchebag Jesus!

HR Rep: I don’t…what?
Me: Where are the cameras? Is there one in this phone? Or in your coffee cup? I hate hidden camera shows. They always make the person they’re filming look like such an asshole. Remember the one where they made Justin Timberlake cry like a sad toddler who dropped his ice cream cone because they pretended to be the IRS taking all his guitars and he called his mom all, “MOM THEY ARE TAKING MY STUUUFFFFF???” I WILL NOT SIGN A WAIVER. YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME.

"Mom? The Government is taking all my guitars!"

HR Rep: I assure you, this is not a “punk’ing.” This is what we do now. To research candidates.
Me: To research candidates, you look at something they’ve set to private so no one can see it but the people they WANT to see it, and you don’t see that as a gross invasion of privacy at all.
HR Rep: Well! There is no need to take THAT tone.
Me: Yeah. I’m going to go now.

I know. I KNOW. It’s a tough economy. But I don’t want to work for a company that thinks it’s ok to ask such a question IN A JOB INTERVIEW. That’s an invasion of privacy. It’s why I set my profile to private. I didn’t set my profile to private FOR the job interview. I mean, not that THEY know that. But it’s been private since I joined. Because I keep my FAMILY there. No one needs to know my family. That’s no one’s business. I’d fight a horde of rabid raccoons with my bare hands for my family, I’m not dealing with internet predators, too. My Twitter’s public, go stalk that. Hell, use a little Google-fu and find my damn blog. Want to know all about me? HERE I AM NAKED, BABY.* (*no actual nakedness will occur, Ding Dong Joe.)

Ironically, I barely write anything on Facebook. I’m not even all that active there. Because I don’t like or trust it that much, and also, ironically enough, the people I know in real life don’t seem to give a shit what I say or do, and the people on Twitter seem to actually care. Which either says a lot about me, or about them. I’m going to assume them, because otherwise I look like an asshole, and no one likes that, now do they? I like Twitter better. I like some things about Facebook. Nephew photos. Notification of upcoming productions in the area. Advertising for my theater. Things of that nature. It’s a good tool, mostly for networking. But have I met FRIENDS on Facebook? Nope. Because a., I already know the people I’m friending, and b., I keep that shit locked DOWN. It is none of anyone’s BUSINESS. THERE ARE PHOTOS OF THE NEPHEW ON THERE. On Twitter, though? Have I met friends there? Yes. Has it enriched my life more than almost anything I currently am involved with? Yes. Do I love it more than most things (but obviously not pudding or Dumbcat?) Yes.

Here’s the scoop, as I see it. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T CARE. I’m telling you anyway. That’s how I roll, jellybeans.

According to that article up there, there are bills being considered in some states that would ban employers from discriminating against employees who refuse access to their social media. And some of these people who’ve been asked are pursuing legal action against the potential employers. Well, that’s all well and good, isn’t it?

But how are you going to prove that’s WHY they didn’t hire you? I mean, maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Probably you refusing the request tipped the scales. Probably it did, let’s be frank. But they can just say, “A better candidate came along!” and it’s such an employer’s market right now, the person they hired is probably comparable to, or better, than you, anyway. It’s a he-said-she-said situation.

Also, do you WANT to work for a company that’s this up in your business? Really? I’d want to stay far away from something like this. You just know they have keystroke tracking software, and they block social networking sites, and when they have the company picnic it’s totally not an open bar so you can only have one or two drinks before that shit starts to get pricey.

Listen, here’s the bottom line, whether or not your potential employer is ganking your Facebook password or not. (SIDE NOTE: Don’t give it to them. Seriously? Don’t. Don’t encourage that kind of behavior. No job is worth that. That is your private information. You don’t have to give it to them. There are other jobs that won’t ask. Interview for one of those. I’m utterly furious that any job thinks this is an acceptable thing to ask a potential employee. They are playing on our fear of unemployment and the job market being down and this shit has got to STOP.)

The internet lives forever. Therefore:

DO NOT WRITE ANYTHING ON THE INTERNET YOU’RE NOT WILLING TO OWN.

This means: no emo updates. No bullying. No tearing down your employer for making you work late without being a little jokey about it even though really you’d like to set their shiny new BMW on fire with lighter fluid. No overtly douchecanoe political shit. No flame wars. No trolling.

Think about what you write. If someone were to confront you with it: would you be embarrassed? Could you explain why you wrote it? Was it a joke? Watch your tone, because we’re TYPING, not TALKING FACE TO FACE. There is no CONTEXT. We have no FACIAL CUES to work from. Sarcasm doesn’t always come off well with type, unless you know the person well. Like, my friends? They know that anything I send them is to be read with a sarcastic mental voice. That’s why I love them and would share my Lunchables with them any time they asked. ANY DAMN TIME.

Listen, I screw around on here. A lot. But I also own that. I’m not embarrassed by it. I’m not embarrassed by my Twitter feed or my Facebook or any of my social media. Because I POLICE THE HELL out of them. I’m cautious and I work at it. YOU CAN BE, TOO. It’s not hard. Think about the person in your life you least want to embarrass. Is it a friend? A parent? A child? Now think of them when you’re writing something on the internet. Would they be embarrassed by what you just wrote? I mean, a little, maybe, sure, like, if you’re thinking of your MeeMaw back in Kansas who doesn’t approve of you talking to men, or something, that’s one thing. I mean, would what you’re doing make them say, “Not MY Jimmy/Alice/Jenny/Frisco Pete! He/She would NEVER write something like that!” Yes? Then you know as well as I do it’s a bad idea to w type it somewhere everyone can see it. EFFING ERASE IT AND TRY AGAIN. Don’t cry foul when someone sees it and that shit gets spread around six ways to Sunday. It’s your own damn fault, Nimble Fingers McCracken.

This got ranty. Listen. Don’t give potential employers a reason not to hire you. Just stop being asshats online. It is not a difficult thing to do. And, if you DO have an interview, and the interviewer is all, “Listen, I see that you write this blog, and…um…what’s a douchecanoe?” Own it, you know? What the hell else are you going to do at that point? “A DOUCHECANOE, good sir, is an awesome internet term. As you can see, my ability to dominate social media would be quite the asset to your firm.” BAM. KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK.

I have all the faith that you can do this. Well, MOST of you. Ding Dong Joe and Pervy Pete are total lost causes. They’re never getting hired again. It’s a good thing they run their own business. (It’s a strip mall out by the sewage treatment plant. The stores include a paint-and-bedazzle-your-own sweatshirt shop, a kiosk that sells off-name-brand perfume, and a Chick-fil-A.)

Anyway, I have to go apologize to Dad now and tell him that he is the smartest dad in all the land except probably it’s not an American requirement that people give this information and there are no security guards who strong-arm you if you don’t. Oh, he’s going to LOVE that he was right about something. SO SO MUCH.


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