David Weiss of Los Angeles (aka David Was) grew up in Oak Park and attended the University of Michigan. He formed a band in the 1980s with fellow Oak Parker Don Fagenson (aka Don Was) called Was (Not Was). He posted aboiut this decision the other day on Facebook (original is below) and expands it for Deadline Detroit.
By David Weiss
I scribbled the below screed after wasting another weekday morning poring over my Facebook feed, wondering who'd up-thumbed me or commented on my habitual Trump-Thumping.
My wakeup routine was something like this: scan the indispensable New York Times and Washington Post for the latest calumnies out of the White House; pop in on the New York Post for the more salacious stuff; then head over to Facebook to see who was chattering about what and whom. But why?
Because misery likes company? Out of a sense of community? Or just to be another semi-informed smartass anxious to prove I was on the right side of the political spectrum -- which is no great achievement when the object of your infection is one Donald J. Trump and his merry band of oligarchs and plutocrats. Mnuchin, Kushner and Pruitt -- just saying their names all in a row should only set into motion the magical Rumpelstiltskin Effect. Poof! They all vanish in a cloud of swamp gas!
But I digress, and yet again I grandstand. The whole point of bidding farewell to Facebook with the extended paragraph below was to avoid the daily temptation to achieve soapbox glory with a few well-placed barbs, the result of which was hurrahs and huzzahs from fellow choristers, or acidulous retorts from people I have never even met, nor ever intend to.
The net result: the world kept spinning, the echo chamber was forever chock-full of self-admiring Narcissists (yes, like myself) and hope remained the elusive thing with feathers (and who looks a lot like Robert Mueller).
But I think what griped me most of all was that a preponderance of faceless Facebookers seemed to have reduced their Information Intake and output to simplistic GIFs and memes -- a kind of shorthand code for fellow travelers, no matter one's ideological persuasion. This kind of stick-figure, primary-color rendering of a complex political landscape is an insult to the dogged editorial labors of the NYT and WaPo, which ought to be required reading for anyone with time enough to waste posting cute cartoons about serious subjects -- from gun control to nepotism to money laundering. It's called the Fourth Estate, and without it we'd be no better than Putin & Co. It is our last bulwark against tyranny and privilege.
A final word before I forever hold my peace: I immediately suspended my Facebook account after disgorging the polemic below, then drove over to the Jewish Family Service office some 20 minutes away -- to see if I could offer my newly liberated time to some needy cause or another, as I'd self-righteously urged others to do. They told me thanks for the effort, and supplied me with a website address where I could better explain my need for penance and self-sacrifice.
Oh well -- back to the dreaded Internet, the last refuge of scoundrels and La-Z-Boy Revolutionaries.
My Facebook post:
If one added up the cumulative hours Facebook Junkies spent posting simplistic memes and slogans, and if that time were instead spent contributing to the community in any manner whatsoever, small but palpable changes would ensue that would benefit the world at large. But the nano-endorphin rush that social media dabblers get from "likes" and such far outweigh any visceral need to participate in the civic world itself.
What's even sadder is that 90% of the puerile, armchair activists wasting their lives in self-aggrandizing posturing are usually being read by ABSOLUTELY NOBODY at all, or by an "audience" you could count with half the fingers of one hand.
My humble suggestion: get off your do-nothing posteriors and donate two hours a week to the cause of your choice; turn off the bleeping idiot-box (computers have replaced television as the opium of the masses) and hit the pavement instead of posing as prophets and pundits from the comfort of your den. You know who you are: conservatives and liberals alike, hiding behind your keyboards and screens and pretending to give a whit about anything except who's paying attention to your recycled aphorisms and pithy inanities.
As my main man Freddy Goethe wrote: "Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean." Guess what, folks? Nobody cares what you think. Rome is burning and y'all are playing a tiny, out of tune fiddle that nobody can even hear. Or as my other goombody, Friedrich Nietzsche said: "“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” Facebook proves that point and then some: We are the Irrational, Unthinking Mob we have all come to fear. And now we all have a voice. As a great statesman once said: "Sad."