Alice’s Restaurant

social media

Why do we call it social media?  It’s not at all socially responsible and it is certainly not socially civil.  Its users will blast you with profanity if they disagree with your viewpoint and castigate your intelligence when you don’t march in step with their thinking.  So, instead of ‘social media’ let’s name Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. ad nauseum THE SCOURGE.

The Scourge is our punishment for relinquishing the ability to think and behave responsibly.  Undoubtedly, 95% of those folks, the ones who prolifically pound their keyboards cussing you and me with various impossible acts which we should perform upon ourselves, they would not have an ounce of courage in an up-front, face-to-face encounter.  So there, I’ve said it.  You just take your FB, Twitter, Instagram and assorted other forms of self expression and stick them where the “sun don’t shine.”  Hah! How’s that make you feel? Got a problem with that?  Here’s my address, I’ll be waiting out front at sunup.

You might ask, “Larry, what’s got you so riled this morning?”

Thanks for asking.  I woke up at 1 o’clock AM humming a few bars from ALICE’S RESTAURANT.  Trust me.  Strains from Moonlight Sonata or Frank Sinatra are welcomed music wafting through my head at 1 AM, but not Alice’s Restaurant.  Just like me in the 1960s, Arlo Guthrie also had a hair up his butt about society, particularly the government, the military and the Vietnam War.  I’m over all that 1960s crap, but I still like humming ALICE’S RESTAURANT –

“And can you imagine fifty people a day? I said FIFTY people a day
Walkin’ in, singing a bar of ALICE’S RESTAURANT and walkin’ out? Friends,
They may think it’s a Movement, and that’s what it is, THE Alice’s
Restaurant anti-massacre movement! And all you gotta do to join is to
Sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar”

The anti-massacre movement Arlo wrote about was the resistance to our government’s military draft which was expediting young American men to the jungles of Vietnam. During those years, the journalists whom we trusted to present factual, unbiased news reporting included names such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley & Chet Huntley, and Edward R. Murrow.  They gave to us straight-up news – no hype, no entertainment, no bullshit.  We listened to the newscast for half an hour or sometimes an hour and we were then informed citizens able to form rational opinions.

We could have a draft again in America’s future if the current Administration, believing it can institute anything deemed necessary to achieve its military ends, conscripts our young warriors to the sand jungles of the Middle East.  Sadly, today we don’t have much professional journalism to inform us truthfully of world events and political shenanigans.  Instead, we have a proliferation of ‘social media’, most of it posing as newsworthy journalism.

But, thank God I still have at 1 o’clock AM a place to go, a song to sing.  Join me?

“You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant
Walk right in, it’s around the back
Just half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant”

🎶🎶😴

It has never been about Alice or her restaurant.  It was and always is about taking the protest to the streets, to the leaders in DC, speaking truth to power.  Some things never change – the inherent corruption of unbridled power is one.

Pete Seeger knew that, Bob Dylan sang it, Joan Baez and Arlo Guthrie had messages that I still hear today.  Times really haven’t changed a whole lot since 1968 and Vietnam.  You can still get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.

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to facebook or not to facebook

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…..that, my friends, is the question of importance this morning.  On the one hand, Facebook is informational and I’m able to follow the groups and organizations such as SPLC, AU, Media Matters, and my Congressmen which keep me informed about issues of significance in my life.  On the other hand Facebook is filled with a litany of stupidity and ignorance that somehow also creeps into my daily routine.

Friends on Facebook?  Yeah, right.  I am “public”, anybody can read me.  Of those who follow me are 7 people whom I do not know, and one girlfriend from the foggy days of the 1970s.  She scares me more than any of the others.  Assuredly, I can access the privacy settings and make myself virtually inaccessible, but, what’s the point in that.

No, as a blogger friend has noted, it should be called “Fakebook”.  I like that.  It just rolls off the tongue and it is a much more accurate description of what a man can expect when he signs up.  Although, during the 2016 campaign, my cadre of Facebook “friends” showed their true colors and most of them deleted me.  Hmmmmmm.  maybe there is a redeeming value in Fakebook.

I am virtually friendless on social media but, I now know who the loyal people are in my life.

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“sticks and stones”

The following report from CBS News takes a sobering look at the dramatic increase of teen suicide in the United States.

It is revealing that social media is on the hot seat for its role in not only condoning cyber-bullying but also promoting a form of communication which virtually eliminates the need for face-to-face personal contact.  Anonymous, impersonal tweets and posts tend to be decidedly more aggressive and confrontational. Social media connections are the perfect forum for bullies; they are  the mode of choice in abdicating responsibility for our actions.  We see its rampant scourge on Facebook and Twitter as our society no longer monitors what is socially acceptable conversation in our correspondence, verbal or written.  The days of Emily Post, though a welcome memory, are old-fogey and obsolete.

In 1956 a little boy in the third grade classroom sat in front of his classmates sobbing after being ridiculed and bullied repeatedly by an older boy on the playground.  He had been shoved to the ground and kicked, his clothes were torn and dirtied.  His teacher delighted in reproving the boy’s presumed cowardice and , in the presence of 23 classmates, chortled,

“sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

She was wrong.  The bruises healed; the clothes got mended and washed , but the words used to thrash the boy being raised by pacifist parents were infinitely more hurtful.  Our vulgar, thoughtless, hurtful, racist, bigoted words are like daggers.  Our inconsiderate, violent actions leave more than bruises and scars on the innocent victim.  So it is with our behavior on social media.  It is a telling indictment of what we have become.

The children of this generation are paying the price for our obsession with materialism and self-involvement.  Today when, and if, the family sits together for dinner it is commonplace for each, including the parents, to have a communications device next to the knife, fork and spoon.  Each family member interrupts the time together to obey the device’s ring tone.   Folks, our devices are not eating utensils, our devices are not baby sitters, and most definitely our devices are not meant to teach our children ethics and values.  Our device is not a god which demands obeisance and veneration.  It is merely a manufactured device.  Think about it.  Teens are committing suicide at an alarming rate.  Why?  What are we teaching them by our behavior and our attitudes about life?

Certainly, we cannot place all blame on social media.  That, in essence , is excusing ourselves from taking responsibility for the world we have created, i.e., social, spiritual, financial, and political.  We, collectively, no longer provide the stability of home life, the joy of spiritual communion, the support of family values, and the connections of community to our children.  We view them as mini-adults, we admire their free-spirit and independence, we mistake their obsession with celebrities as growing pains.  But, they are children.  They need guidance, support, instruction, and the correction which only mature parents can provide.  Most of all they need love and understanding.

Have you ever considered suicide?  I have.  If we are honest with ourselves I think all of us have thought about it…..but not at 12 years old.  Good Lord, I was too worried about girls, tomorrow’s biology quiz,  and the zits on my face when I was twelve.  What have we done to our babies?