by guest blogger Renee James, humorist and blogger
Neologism of the day: Domamehy, pronounced "doh'-may-me-hi." No, this isn't a new menu item at Nobu, nor is it the new hot class at Equinox. It's a shortcut to the prevailing thought I seem to have these days whenever I spend time reading my Facebook newsfeed. It's a mash-up of "Don't make me hide you."
For the record, Facebook still offers plenty of connections, communication, and entertainment I find fun and rewarding. So there's that. But my tolerance for all things annoying isn't what it used to be. I can feel myself getting closer to becoming that cranky woman who shakes her fist and shouts, "Get off my lawn!" at the neighborhood kids.
The good news is I can quietly, easily, and with very little regret kick people off my cyber lawn--and I have. Regularly. Life is too short--even fake life on Facebook--to interact with individuals who make you insane with their inanity.
You know how it starts. One little update, one singular thought, one surprising point of view from a friend that gives you pause. A tiny pause, I grant you, but it's there. The post refers to a public figure, an event, or a conviction your friend feels compelled to address, usually accompanied by some outrage. On its own, it simply represents an interesting facet of someone you know. You skim it; accept it with a silent "Huh! Never knew that..." and then shuffle it to the "inconsequential" file in your mind.
Moving on, however, you find you can't move on. Next day--or maybe even later that same day--there it is again. Different verse; same song. It could be a politically motivated message or a cry for an end to social injustice or a plea for activism toward resolution. Look, I have nothing against passion and expressing beliefs. I have nothing against open minds or sharing reasoned thinking about almost anything. It's just that posts like this tend to be accompanied by a strident "How can everyone be so ignorant?" attitude. And on a daily basis, that gets old. Very old.
This is what confounds me. How can so many people who demand tolerance in all things be so intolerant of everyone? I don't mean we should overlook truly evil people or undeniable malevolence. I'm talking about people who dismiss and denigrate anyone with any opinion that doesn't quite sync up with their own particular point of view. I wonder about that and why I've never noticed it before. I wonder how I got to be so...well...ignorant.
Examples: Until I spent time reading my newsfeed discussing the movement to legalize pot, I never recognized that stoners are the most energetic, organized, and motivated people around--at least when it comes to legalizing pot. Or that some politicians focus on nothing but saving the planet for future generations, while others want nothing more than to create a toxic, dying wasteland for all. (For the record, I am not registered with either major party.) And until I joined Facebook, I had no idea that atheists are smarter than everyone else. Live and learn.
But there it is. That's the problem. I'm NOT learning. I'm just enduring fury, with no payoff or substance. It must be satisfying to see the world in such sharp black and white. Maybe you have to, in order to share your point of view with such certainty. Because for the endlessly outraged, every post, from just about every side, is about blame, guilt, shame, and--surprisingly--superiority. (Their own, not yours.)
Unfortunately, far too often the conviction and horror people feel compelled to share is based on nothing, or almost nothing. I resist posting a link to LMGTFY.com ("let me google that for you") on a daily basis. People who "protest-post" adhere to their own version of that old saying about truth and stories: "Never let a google search or a quick check on Snopes get in the way of a good rant."
I choose to hide people who post such "headlines" and add something like, "I can't even read this story. It makes me sick..." Me (thinking): "Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Let me understand this. You're going with the headline. You're buying it--outright and completely. You're not going to read the story. You're not going to check a few sources and see if it even holds up? You're just going to be angry and dismissive and judgmental."
Fine. Your choice. Let me just say this: There is an enormous difference between being dismissive of the world and being discerning about the company you keep, even online company. So...domamehy. Wait. Done. Ahhhhh.
/>Renee A. James works at Rodale Inc. and wrote an award-winning op-ed column for The Morning Call, the Allentown, Pennsylvania, newspaper, for almost 10 years. Her essays were included in the humor anthology, 101 Damnations: A Humorists' Tour of Personal Hells (Thomas Dunne Books, 2002), and are also found online at Jewish World Review and The Daily Caller. She invites you to Like her Facebook page, where she celebrates--and broods about--life on a regular basis, mostly as a voice in the crowd that shouts, "Really? You're kidding me, right?" (or wants to, anyway), and she welcomes your suggestions, comments, and feedback to the mix.
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com