Friday, November 30, 2012

Fear and Loathing in Social Media, Part 1

I think I always knew that the balance between writing about our family and preserving our privacy would be tenuous.  And make no mistake, we're private people.  We don't participate much in social media, blogging excepted.  I've had close to this very conversation with the Head Honcha over at Deus Nos Conjuxit.

I've told Majesty many times that I wanted to be completely, utterly truthful with CJMP, since it's somewhat of a family history.  But just like any history, an author has to be selective - sometimes extremely so - about what to include and what to leave out.  And I leave out a whole lot.

So I've tried to be absolutely truthful, but not particularly open, if that makes sense.  Why?  Because privacy is truly important.  And because people are jerks.  Aaaaaand because some people are just downright crazy.

Two stories for you today, illustrating why I sometimes desperately hate the internet.

I'm Sorry, What Did You Say You Do for a Living?
I stumbled across a website recently and quickly realized that it was entirely dedicated to a specific religious dispute.  One guy got crosswise with another guy, everyone chose up sides... and one side got a website design firm!  Boy, that sounds healthy, doesn't it?

 I was familiar with many of the people mentioned.  Some of the alleged slights were from a decade ago, and were at times difficult to even parse out.  It was rabbinical hairsplitting at its very finest.  Worst.  Whatever.

The site was shameful and it made me mad.  Incredibly, there was a "CONTACT US" link at the bottom of the (anonymous) site that linked to righthandman@heaven.org or whatever.  I fired off a curt, but mostly nice, request.  I said they should be ashamed of themselves and the site, and I encouraged them to take it down.  Its usefulness, I said, if it ever had any at all, had long since passed.  Made it perfectly clear that I considered myself their Christian brother, but I was absolutely appalled by what they had done.

And then I totally forgot about it.

I checked my email weeks later (it's not one I use often) and there's a note in there from an unfamiliar address.  Yep, you guessed it.  This guy had torn into me hammer and tong.  Ripped me up, down, left, right, backwards, forwards.  Quoted lots of scripture.  Lots.  Repeatedly implied I wasn't a real Christian.  Y'know, like him.  He mocked.  He just dripped with this sneering sarcasm.  He was... well, bear with me as I use the technical theological term:   an unparalleled jerk.

I thought, "Who IS this guy?!" and looked him up.  He's a preacher in the Midwest.  That's right, ladies and gentlemen, I had just had my head handed to me by a preacher.  Friends and neighbors, there's something very, very wrong with that.

The Best Argument Ever for Comment Moderation
You'll be shocked to know this, but this isn't a bigtime blog.  I don't get an onslaught of comments.  Friends and wellwishers will post a note or two, and that's about it.  So I was pretty surprised to see a completely anonymous comment, posted at the freaking crack of dawn Wednesday.  I would just describe it to you, but honestly, I can't do justice to this degree of snarling insanity.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Jack, Meet Rudyard.":

Tax havens. Entitlement. Bad teeth. Dead eyes. Narcissism. Cute kids with the right clothes. Yes, behold the fall of the American Empire, writ large on electrons which shall vanish after not too long a time; hopefully before the author of this garbage expires. Long live white people. Until they stop.

Posted by Anonymous to Captain Jack Makes Port at November 28, 2012 5:14 AM
Say, were you casting about for a definitive sign of American collapse and Western cultural decadence?  Look no further!  There's a kid's blog in Texas that is going to destroy us all!  Repent!  Repent!

Man, there's so much fun to be had here that I was tempted to give it a post of its own.  Apocalyptic warnings?  Check.  Cheap ad hominem?  Check.  Unhinged race baiting?  Check.  Nonsensical conclusions?  Check.  Arcane grammar?  Double check.  Drive-by insults?  Got 'em.  A veiled death wish?  Yes!

Listen, there are cranks everywhere, sure.  But it's more than a little disturbing that this sort of pseudointellectual crank is on our blog, looking at pictures of our kids, apparently seething with vitriol.  Why would someone bother with material they found so offensive?  I have no idea.

The End (of this Post) Is Near!
 The underlying problem is that somehow, somewhere, we decided that we could say absolutely anything on the internet, no matter how awful it was.  Think about it:  This 42 year old unemployed circus clown, dressed in his jammies and writing from his mom's basement person would never, ever say this to me in person.  Nobody would.  Because there's a general fear of getting your lights punched right clean out.  But anonymously, it's totally okay, it's moral.  You're still a nice, sensible, wonderful person.  That's not the real you.

But that's not true.
"The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks."  -Luke 6:45
I don't have much of an overarching point here, other than to encourage us all not to be jerks... not in real life, not in your words online.

And if you see comment moderation suddenly pop up around here, just smile and nod to yourself, knowingly.

Continued in Part 2.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

Get Back, JoJo

Get back! Get back! / Get back to where you once belonged
1.  Jack and I went to pick up some garlic at the store (For pesto and fumigating for VAMPAYUWHS.  He's obsessed with VAMPAYUWHS.  Great.).  Get Back came on the radio right before we get out of the truck.  Insistently, Jack asked me with this very serious, WhatchootalkinboutWillis look on his face, "Daddy.  Daddy.  Why do they tell him to get back?" 

Just for fun, I give you the full rooftop concert video.  It's only about 20 minutes or so.  It's really great... until the cops show up.  Incidentally, Paul's Most Interesting Man in the World look here is what I think I'm shooting for:  Savile Row from the neck down, Grizzly Adams up top.  All I need is the full beard, man!

2.  The Hissle is Jack's term for what Caroline does when she gets all kinds of tickled.  Here's the method to reenact it, because we think it's really better experienced first hand:  Put your teeth together.  Now scrunch your nose up towards your eyebrows, making those nostrils just comically huge.  Yes, it's pretty attractive.  Smile while crinkling up your eyes deviously.  Now breathe in and out excitedly through your nose, preferably right in someone else's face, making a noise somewhere between a whistle and a hiss.

You are now hissling.

3.  Proper Jack 'o Lantern care and nutrition?  Pro tip:  Jack feeds them acorns.

4.  We hate, despise, abhor, and loathe ragweed.  If you are a ragweed, or associate with ragweed, you're not welcome here.  Adios.  The whole family has been sick for weeks.  Weeks.  I'm investigating napalm availability on Amazon.com.

I'm out.  All I got.  But hey, THE BEATLES!  Right?  Right?  Okay, I'll stop.

The Beatles - Rooftop Concert (London Original... by STARDUST72