Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: etiquette

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice

If you can’t say anything good about someone, sit right here by me.

–Alice Roosevelt Longworth*

Conventional wisdom says if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, you shouldn’t say anything at all. Most of us don’t live by this creed, but it rears its head more strongly when that person is terminally ill or has just died.

I bring this up because Senator John McCain is battling brain cancer, and he interrupted his recovery to rush back to DC to vote on whether or not the Senate should proceed with a vote on the nonexistent Obamacare repeal and replace bill. There’s a lot of insider baseball as to why this is appalling, but suffice to say, many people were not pleased about this. Several people pointed out the irony of a man who enjoys a lifetime of luxury health insurance paid for by the taxpayers rushing off his death bed to champion the right to take away health insurance from millions of Americans, and it did not go over well in certain sectors. Namely, old school media.

Let me preface by saying I wasn’t jubilant when I found out McCain had brain cancer. It made sense because he had appeared so befuddled at an earlier confirmation session (can’t remember which one. Sorry), and I thought it might be dementia. I was sad for him and wished him well, but it didn’t change my basic feelings about him–he’s a contrarian who enjoys acting all mavericky until push comes to shove, and then he votes with his party more often than not. In addition, he’s a petty man who really couldn’t handle losing to Obama in 2008, and he never got over it. I wrote about him many years ago, and my feelings about him haven’t changed.

When he gave a speech that journalists jizzed over, but then voted for the procedure to continue, anyway, there were some people (all white dudes. Not a judgment–just an observation) who said to wait and see. They thought McCain would eventually do the right thing in the end, that he really was just voting for procedure. Later that night, he voted yes on the repeal and replace bill, which didn’t surprise me one whit.

McCain is a craven politician, and he’s not been kind to vets among other people. He gives good interview, and he’s relatable to a certain portion of the population (again, white dudes), so they give him an endless benefit of the doubt. The journalists miss swinging on the tire swing with him, which is another reason they’re so soft on him. Not to mention the brain cancer thing. There was a woman on Twitter, an editor at BuzzFeed, I think, who scolded people for saying mean things about McCain. You can probably guess the response she got to her tweet.

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Let’s Talk Social Media Etiquette; Just Call Me Miss Manners

gotta have the last word.

Social media is not going anywhere, and since it’s become a mainstay in the way we converse, I decided to address a few issues I have with it. First of all, Facebook, stop switching my feed from Most Recent to Top Stories. Also, do not wish me a good morning, afternoon, or evening–it’s none of your business how I’m doing. Third, ‘suggested posts’ are ads, no matter what you call them. Stop it. Twitter, don’t sit there in the corner smirking; I have my issues with you as well. One, while I appreciate you taking out the @s as part of the 140 character count, making it more difficult to take people out of the conversation is not welcomed. Two, where you at on that banning trolls thing? Bueller, Bueller, anyone, anyone? Three, please show me the tweets of everyone I follow, not just who you decide I should see by some weird algorithm you’ve concocted. Actually, that last one is also aimed at Facebook as well. Oh, and while we’re at it, FB? The background color thing is silly as hell, and you can get rid of it at any time.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s move on to the real reason for this post. First of all, full disclosure. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I’m probably considered a heavy user, and I get most of my news from Twitter (followed by Google research in order to confirm), and I have several Twitter/FB friends with whom I would not interact in any other fashion. Side note: I don’t consider social media friends to be the same as IRL friends, unless you take the friendship off social media. It’s too easy to present a persona in small doses on social media, and, yes, we all have personae in real life as well, but a mask is much harder to sustain on a regular basis. It’s not to say that social media friendships aren’t important or valuable; they are. Friendships come in all different flavors, and this is just the newest kind.

With that said, I have been slowly pulling away from social media in fits and starts. I used to spend most of my time on FB, then I switched to Twitter when FB seemed too slow. Twitter was up to the minute and always happening. The downside to that is that everything on Twitter is ephemeral, and a new poutrage of the day seems to arise on an hourly basis. We’ve all been there. We see a tweet being RT’ed and all the outrage surrounding it (or praise, but it’s usually outrage), and we eagerly jump in to pile on the original OP. I would like to say that’s not my style. Even if I don’t agree with a tweet, I rarely out-and-out shit on someone for what they say. Sometimes, an outraged response is called for, but I think it should be a last result. It’s like when W. had the color terror alert thing and it was always on orange. We all just chuckled and laughed when we say that the terror alert was orange because it lost any meaning when it didn’t ever change. I feel the same about the constant outrage on Twitter; my tendency is to tune it out. I don’t want to be mainlining anger as it’s exhausting, and some people just want to be aggrieved all the time.

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