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Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Facebookization of America

Image result for blowhards      Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah!


As a writer, one of the things I hate most about the 21st century is the Facebookization of our communications. We have embraced over-the-top hyperbole to such as degree that everything is capitalized and dramatized. Every issue is surrounded by superlatives and contains it full complement of exclamation points. Every missive ends with a laughing or crying or winking or frowning emoji, the words themselves obviously considered too weak to stand alone.

These are examples of what I found on my newsfeed in just one morning Facebook run-through.


"Every judgement about women DESTROYED in just over one minute!"

"NY Times throws Ted Cruz off bestseller list for cheating, conservatives go INSANE!"

"Watch former confederate flag-defending hypocrite Haley flip-flop on its banishment!"

"Pink SLAYS flat-shaming trolls!"

"Politically incorrect cartoon NAILS the media double standard!"

"Toning down the rhetoric won't change as racism is as rife in the Republican base as maggots are in rotten food."

"In the U.S., you are free to live as you wish unless your white, straight, Republican, a gun owners or southern."

"BOOM - the awesome cartoon nails Hillary!" (Three for the price of one here - boom, awesome, nails.)

"Toby Keith has a BRUTAL message for Barack Obama about GUN RIGHTS!"

"Ted Nugent has a message for all Trump haters and its AWESOME!"

"Oh. My. Gosh. Megyn Kelly just went OFF on the White House!"


And this goes on day after day. No one ever simply responds effectively to their critics, they CRUSH them, or ANNIHILATE them or DESTROY them! Everything is beyond excellent, it is AWESOME or INCREDIBLE or AMAZING. And some things genuinely are awesome or incredible or amazing but we don't save those words for those things that really qualify. We use them for the just good and the simply okay as well.

We don't disagree with certain politicians. They can't just be wrong in our eyes, rather they must be EVIL beings who want to DESTROY America!

Naturally, I think the worst of the excess is perpetrated by the right but I don't deny that my side does it too.

What I wonder is where do we go from here? Can writers actually keep readers interested in mundane words when they have become so habituated to hysterical rhetoric? What will we call wonderful things when you label your fast food burger incredible and your new shoes fantastic?

How will we recognize true evil when a president trying to do the best he can has that awful adjective hung around his neck?






Sunday, July 05, 2015

The Inevitability of Change

Image result for royal poinciana trees    Image result for frigate bird



          Image result for southernmost point key west



Image result for everglades     Image result for florida keys sunset pictures


It's easy to take something for granted when you've experienced it so many times and I suppose I'd gotten rather blase about the Florida Keys. I've been there often since my kids have lived there so many years. But this time, I took my friend, Brenda, so I got to see it through new eyes and that helped me appreciate southern Florida all over again.

When we left Indiana, it had been gloomy and gray and rainy for so long, we longed for sun and warmth and riotous color and we found all that in the Keys. Brenda got to see many firsts - the weirdly twisted gumbo limbo trees, Frigate birds like flying Batman logos high in the sky, the Royal Poinciana trees in full spectacular bloom, the vast sweep of the Everglades, the incredible Keys sunsets, the southernmost point of the United States.

Beyond my daughter-in-law's pier are a line of mangrove islands that create a kind of protected harbor between them and the seawall. Many boats, extremely upscale cruisers and yachts and sail boats, anchor out there. We'd go out each night to sit on the benches at the end of the dock to watch day turn into night. The boat people have a tradition of blowing conch shells in tribute to the sun as it falls below the horizon leaving shades of tangerine and fuchsia and scarlet and gold behind. It is an eerie, otherworldly sound.

During the day, we admired the blooming bougainvillea spilling down the sides of fences and watched pelicans and seagulls cruising above. Sometimes, we spied an iguana and other smaller lizards. Sitting on Lisa's balcony, we heard the rustling of the graceful coconut palms and palmettos.

We drove to Key West one day over the Seven-Mile bridge where the waters swirled in hues of royal blue and emerald, turquoise and sage under a powder blue sky. We ate grouper and shrimp po'boys and sandwiches mounded high with barbequed pork.

It was exactly what I needed to find a new lease on life after John's death. The vivid colors and hot sun and plants and animals so different than what we're used to at home encouraged me to acknowledge that life isn't static but filled with constant change. There is nothing to do but accept it and move on to see what good can be found in what comes next.