Sure I’m in a rage about the 157 House Republicans whose narrow opinion clouds them from seeing the changed world of marriage which has flourished with same-sex couples, or the 195 House Republicans who voted against birth control protections, say wtf?!?!?, or the equally damaging climate setback Joe Manchin decided, upending efforts to save our one small planet currently on fire, or the U.S. Secret Service who accidentally deleted texts from, yes, you guessed it, January 6th. Did your brain just explode???? What a week. Clearly these media headlines are gut-grabbers, but the best news, often the small news, is worth our full attention if only we’d allow it to be. As we endure these July heat-waves, calmer is cooler, so hear me out. Let’s go straight to some good news.
And just when we thought life was a given a never ending treadmill of home to work and back again with no reprieve COVID 19 showed up and slammed the door in our face. No questions asked just shut tight with whatever we might face all alone without our gyms and theaters and courts and spectacular spectaulars. Holy shit peeps, this got real zero to sixty, and somehow we’re all still flying high like trapeze artists. I don’t know about you, but I feel as if I am swinging without a net, just one second to the next, all unchartered, all frightening, all unknown, and yet, we are all doing it with finesse. Huge shout out to my teacher buddies and administrators, the special educators and para educators, and everyone else moving the cogs in the school system round and round and let’s not forget the scores of students sitting alone in their bedrooms or surrounded by family in shared spaces or those homeless kids seeking shelter and still logging in to google hangouts and zooms and youtube or whatever platform they can to stay connected and stay in school and stay sane and yeah still learn. You are all my heroes right now. Class of 2020, you are people we will write poetry about, sing hallelujah for decades about, for you are relinquishing prom and yearbook deadlines and graduations dates and final everything. You are stronger than you think. And we will find a way to hold on. A way to swing through the paces, and make this look effortless. A way to make this all work like magic.
The whole world is Twitter mad once again, and even though I hold the platform at arm’s length, it is hard not to be obsessively scrolling over the tweets bouncing back and forth like discordant sound. Even if you try not to get embroiled, headlines and soundbites echo the 280 characters driving a wedge between us all. Thanks to these Twitter tantrums, hate talk replaces straight talk with the ease of a click. Perhaps that was not always the intent of social media.
“At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with “Twitter uprising” or “Facebook revolution”, as global media tried to make sense of what was going on.
But despite western media’s love affair with the idea, the uprisings didn’t happen because of social media. Instead, the platforms provided opportunities for organization and protest that traditional methods couldn’t.
In the words of one protester, Fawaz Rashed: “We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world.”” (Maeves Shearlaw).
But over the past two years we have witnessed the lack of ‘coordinating’ in these minute messages, in fact, dialogue across spectrums has sunk to the worst form of discourse thanks to a lack of social norms in social media posts. Or just some new allowance that we can’t back away from perhaps.