|"Waiting for the Stage," by Richard Caton Woodville (Smithsonian Museum of American Art)|
Facebook is kinda curdling, along with everything else. Getting weird and unpredictable. It changed its entire look last week, then allowed me to change it back, which I did, hungry for consistency. Then Facebook told me that it would change over again anyway, soon, and then I won't be able to change back.
What's the point of that? Either change or don't. It's like they're playing with us. I guess given how stuck we are with Facebook, we should consider ourselves lucky Facebook doesn't start doing all sorts of random shit, turning the screen 90 degrees, so we have to sit with our heads angled hard to one side to read.
Because we'd do it. We're addicts. So I guess we're lucky Facebook doesn't start fucking with us, just because it can.
I'm not sure what the point of the thing is anymore. Scrolling the news feed, I see how messed up my friends are, what nutbag conspiracy crap they've fallen for, or how they've wandered into some distant pasture of irrelevance. Arguing is pointless.
Unless of course they say something that reflects exactly how I believe. I'm fine with that.
Odd stuff keeps happening. Monday I got 15 Facebook friend requests. On an ordinary day I get none. Or one or two, from youths in Ghana, or lonely hearts in the Philippines.
Some Q-Anon infiltration squad? Organized Targeted Individuals? I looked at them, and they seemed fairly normal people. Russian bots designed to do damage once admitted? No ... seemed really real. Not the usual fashion shot of some busty young lady with an Urdu man's name. But actually people—all men—with hundreds of friends and posts.
I sent them all this message:
"So I got 15 friend requests this morning, which is very unusual, and I'm wondering what is going on. What prompted you to ask to be my friend today?"One replied:
You appeared in my friend suggestion, and you are my favourite Chicago columnist.Good enough for me! Another:
You came up in my feed last week though I didn’t see you before. I related to your Drunkard book so long ago and appreciate your writing. I can see why you might be suspicious in this climate so just ignore the request if you’d like.Of course not! Welcome to the party! A radio host wrote:
Your line of work, my line of work, and our mutual friends!
Okay then. C'mon in. Everybody who had a halfway sensible answer was friended. The rest, the majority, deleted. Obviously, some microscopic circuit clicked and I was dangled in front of a horde of Facebook users and 15 bit.
No, this isn't really going anywhere. I had a column slated for the paper for today, and here, about the Republican National Convention. But it got spiked, which doesn't happen much. Not a quality issue, I am told, but more a space issue, a game of musical chairs that I lost. Or something to that effect. Anyway, I'm not dwelling on it. Things happen. It isn't that my fierce truth was yanked back by the Powers that Be. More likely they opted for real news over the same old Neil Nattering. Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you. Some days I have two columns in the paper, so it seems fair play there should be a column day where I have none. As to why I'm not posting the column here anyway, well, call that a judgment call. I might want to cannibalize it later in the week.