Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Thinking out loud
I jot a lot of things down on Facebook. Just stuff that occurs while I'm reading something. It's a way of keeping track of my writing ideas, and throwing them out for appraisal. But I've only got about 140 FB contacts, so I never really think about who's reading it. It's funny that when I'm jotting things down on FB, I tend to think that it's for public consumption, even though the number of contacts I have there is quite small. (They're almost all professional contacts, news services, research orgs, lobbyists, etc.) But when I'm writing here, to you guys, I tend to think of this as my private conversations with the 500 friends who drop in to chat every day, and therefore less public. It's funny how our brains work.
Speaking of which, the latest research is in and yes, we are actually addicted to Facebook and similar social media. Does anyone use email for anything but subscriptions any more?
"That little zing you get when someone likes' your picture or sings your praises on Facebook? That’s the reward center in your brain getting a boost." I read a study once that showed rats would get so addicted to a similar dopamine zing that given a choice between the thing that clicked the dopamine thing and the thing that gave a pellet of food, they chose to starve.
Dopamine, baby... and it's the drug of choice for a lot of us post-divorce wave kids or others raised by the hippie narcissists who didn't get the affirmation from our parents we were supposed to get in early childhood. Which is why most people of my generation, the Xers, are all attention hounds. Another cyclically depressed Gen-X friend of mine called all the positive interactions you get on Facebook and blogs and twitter and whatnot, "love bubbles". She admitted to me that she had allowed herself, especially when in the throws of a depressive attack, to become helplessly enthralled to Facebook because every five minutes or so there was a possibility of that tiny zing of affirmation.
Love Bubbles. She quit Facebook. Successfully. A few months later, she entered a Discalced Carmelite monastery. I don't know if the two things are related.
(BTW: just to let y'all know, reject nearly all FB friend requests I get from people I've never met.)
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It's funny the pope should mention being all fixated on what some people have called "the pelvic issues", because I said something about it at LifeSite's staff meeting this August. I think it might be part of the reason the conservatives had such a shock hearing the same thing from the pope that we get from the libtards from whom we hear it as a constant refrain.
Trust me, I'd love to write about something else. I'd love to write about anything else, frankly.
I'd love to have the issues I cover include more stuff about the economy, to talk more about the application of Catholic social teaching, economic ethics, to our large social and economic problems. I'd like to write about environmental issues. About art. About nature. Movies. I care about pollution and environmental degradation, about exploitation of workers in developing countries, about the persecution of Christians in Islamic countries, about prison and criminal justice reform, about fitness and health, GMOs and Monsatan. Hell, I even care about fashion and pop culture. I would like to write about what it means to be interested in these things, in nearly all aspects of the human world, through the lens of Catholic social teaching and philosophy.
But all the New York Times/BBC/CBC/Guardian/MSNB/CNN (etc) know anything about seems to be, not to put too fine a point on it, sex.
Get a Mainstreamian journalist alone for a second and play word-association. Say the word "Catholic" and he instantly thinks "gay marriage!" or "abortion!" or "no contraception!" or "war on women!". Not because any of them has read so much as the Wikipedia version of what the Church teaches on any of these things, but because it is simply his lifelong habit. An almost Pavlovian response.
It's not us. It's the culture. Flipped through any of the magazines at the supermarket checkout lately? Scrolled down the latest music videos on YouTube? Watched any sitcom produced in the last 40 years?
Sex is the way the Bad People have decided to destroy our civilisation. So sex is what we have to talk about if we want that not to happen.
Trust me, it's not the Church that's fixated on sex.
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Also, here's Teddy the Talking Porcupine eating a pumpkin.