Thursday, January 15, 2009 is P*ssing Me Off

I usually enjoy reading and its interesting perspective on the news and culture. However, two articles it featured today have seriously annoyed me. Let me give you a fair warning: these articles are wildly different, so don't try to find a connection between the two. There really isn't one beyond the fact that they are both objectionable. Hang on folks, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

The first one is about Facebook and presents some arguments as to why there are some people who don't join it. Farhad Manjoo says that people who do not join Facebook basically boils down to an elitist, holier-than-thou attidue. He encourages these people to give up and join since everyone else is on it. However, not only did Manjoo's article not present a compelling case for me to join Facebook, it actually made me want to continue to be a holdout. Besides subjecting readers to the sort of taunting peer pressure most of us were warned about in DARE (Drug Abuse Resistence Education), he also makes some generalizations that are not true (and rather offensive)

I have several reasons for not joining Facebook, but I don't look down upon anyone who decides to join it nor do I consider myself better than the millions of people who use the site. Besides the face that my lack of photographs would make my page look very austere, I find that I get easily addicted to things online. If I ever started using Facebook, I have no doubt that I would be on it at all hours, reading updates. The other reason I don't use Facebook is that I don't want the added responsibility of knowing what everyone I know is doing at any given time. For instance, I don't want to know that a former student of mine is out partying. Some people like being hyper-connected and informed; there is nothing wrong with that, but it isn't for me.

The other Slate article that angered me concerns Barack Obama's letter to his daughters, which was published in Parade and which he wrote as a response to a question posed by the magazine. Besides the fact that Emily Bazelon is outraged about this letter instead of some more grievous problem or occurrence (such as George W. Bush's cavalier attitude towards the last eight years), I was particularly offended by her interpretation that this is "a burden" on the Obama children. Um, I think that Ms. Bazelon and I should talk burdens. You place a burden on your child when you decide to run for vice-president while knowing that your unwed teenage daughter is pregnant. You place a burden on your child when you repeatedly are unfaithful to your wife/ her mother and you hold the highest office in the land. You place a burden on everyone when you decide to start a war based on lies and faulty intelligence and then don't have the gumption to admit that you made a mistake. Those things are unnecessary burdens. Publicly expressing your love for your children is not a burden.