Something happened to me last week and I’m still annoyed. I’m bothered enough, in fact, to write this blog post about it. I should probably be writing a humdinger of a post that employs insight, humour and the parenting issue du jour ,and wraps it all up in an eminently shareable package that will garner crazy mad pageviews. That’s what I usually do. But today I just want to complain on my blog and not even bother with a big shiny image and the perfect metadiscription, like it’s 2008 or something.
Here’s what happened.
I was messing around on Facebook because I was either procrastinating or taking a break when a link caught my attention. It said something like, Following the Jay Z and Solange saga? Want to see even more pictures? Clearly the answer was YES. There are more pictures?! I only thought there was a video. This is going to be perfect. I can’t think of a better way to trick myself into thinking that I’m not actually avoiding work than by staring vacantly at more pictures of the Knowles family.
You would have done the same thing.
But there were no more Jay Z pictures. There was only an overly moralized scolding about how we’re not paying attention to the important things in the world and then there were pictures taken from other news stories this past week. There were pictures about the kidnapped Nigerian girls and of arrested Iranian youths and, I don’t know, like, Vladimir Putin or something. I didn’t really look.
At first I was mildly disappointed and then I was slightly annoyed. Then I became downright irked. You didn’t just use Beyonce-Jay Z linkbait to shame me, did you? Why don’t you just rip the magazine out of people’s hands at the coffee shop and ask why they’re not reading real literature? There are people right now playing volleyball at the beach instead of volunteering at soup kitchens. Quick, set up a beach volleyball league so you can lecture everyone who shows up about how selfish they are and throw aprons at them.
I will not even get into the hypocrisy of using the entertainment news story of the day to score pageviews for your own website and then scolding people for falling for it.
But it’s not just this one story. I don’t even remember what it was or how it came into my Facebook feed. It’s several times a day across various social media platforms people complaining about how the rest of us are shallow, celeb hungry idiots who aren’t paying attention to the real news and issues and events. Even if we do start talking about a serious news story, the choir comes out wonder why we only care about this story and not that story or that other one.
If there are important issues and stories some people wish would get more attention, I don’t understand why they don’t just start talking about those issues. Do they think tricking people into listening to them and then smearing them with shame is a more effective tactic?
Are we not allowed to do both? To sit down quietly and catch up on all the important world news stories that are reported on faithfully by all the major news organizations every single day AND ALSO to steal five minutes of mindless pleasure scrolling Facebook for baby pictures and celebrity gossip?
What else is the point of the internet?