Tag Archives: discussion

#NotMyFacebook, or: Is Facebook For Political Discourse?

If you Google the question “What is Facebook for?” you come up with a short article by Mike Bantick for iTWire that bears the same name. Although it was published back in 2013 the basis for it is particularly topical, with the first paragraph relating the reason for it was written.

“Recently my brother told me he defriended a close friend of the family because of his overtly political posts on the social media website Facebook.  ‘That’s not what Facebook is for,’ he said, that got me thinking.”

Bantick then proceeds to list off a number of different answers gathered from friends and family, ultimately settling on a handful that he considers “the most truthful”:

“‘Referrals for products and services from people you trust, or know the value you place on the referrer’s knowledge of the requirements. Eg, games references, plumbers, mechanics, travel…. So useful and more personal than googling. You also then have wonderful reasons to catch up with people you may not otherwise.’

‘Stalking people and pictures of cats’

‘Annoying people with puns’

And, the one that resonated with me the most ‘Sharing sh&% for giggles…'”

The list has him implicitly agreeing with his brother. Facebook is for recommendations and, as the latter three state in various ways, for personal enjoyment. Not included among the social networking service’s uses? The dissemination of strongly held political beliefs or stances. Could’ve fooled me.
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One of the Reasons Our Guest Writer Left Facebook: Not-Quite-A-Counterpoint About Online Opinions

We, and I speak for both Gordon and Kat when I say this, don’t often reference our guest posts, as much as we appreciate them. A large factor may be because any responses or rebuttals from the writers to our commentary, though welcomed [we’ve had our own back-and-forths before], are less likely to be written and featured . The reason I open with that is because of Casey Bennet’s post titled “Why I Left Facebook“, which was one of the inspirations for this post as well as being an article I didn’t like very much initially.

SHRUG

The reason for that was I felt it read more like a list of complaints, many of which could be applied to regular human behaviour.

To give credit where it’s due, he addresses any potential criticism
in his penultimate section “Life After Facebook“. Bennet states outright that many of the factors to him leaving “could have been avoided”; that he could have maintained his Facebook feed in a way that let him “[filter] out negativity and [focus] on what was actually beneficial.” He also points out that if that work is too much for you then it might not be worth, which is likewise extremely valid.

Of Bennet’s grievances against the social media platform what I’d like to focus on is the first, the very to-the-point “Opinions“.  Continue reading

“Hymn for the Weekend”: Appreciation, Appropriation, and the Exotic Black Woman

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stop listening to “Hymn for the Weekend” on repeat.

However, before I had even listened to Chris Martin and Queen Bey meld their voices in a divine mesh of harmonies, I was reading about it on Tumblr.

Cultural Appreciation vs. Appropriation

The first thing I heard about the video was that it had some pretty rampant cultural appropriation. Since there have been a number of music videos and performances accused of cultural appropriation over the last few years, I wasn’t too surprised to hear about “Hymn for the Weekend” being added to the list.

The video quickly split viewers into two groups, those who considered it cultural appropriation, and those who appreciated the video’s focus on Indian culture. The clip below highlights a few of the key elements that have been discussed and criticized.

This discussion is tricky for a variety of reasons. For example, there is a time and place when a white person can wear Indian clothing and accessories without coming off as disrespectful. In some cases, it’s actually much more respectful to embrace local dress customs than to ignore them.

There are even music videos where diverse customs and styles have been featured without any backlash about appropriation.

This debate can also seem confusing when Indian fans, or fans with Indian heritage, don’t seem to be bothered by the video’s representation of their culture.

anigif_optimized-20745-1454418987-1 Continue reading

Safe Spaces and Echo Chambers – Finding The Middle Ground

Today the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. Right now my Facebook feed is blowing up, with the vast majority of my online acquaintances rejoicing that a ruling that’s been a long time coming has finally passed. To sum it up in only eight short words:

abouttime

On the other side of things, though very few and far between, there is a sentiment in direct opposition. There weren’t many for me, but I think most people will find at least one status that falls roughly along these same lines:

turneditsback

The internet is never silent on the most innocuous of issues, and when it comes to an event as groundbreaking as this one there isn’t a person who can keep from putting in their two cents. As Kat observed last year the words we post online are made subject to scrutiny, with one of the tamest consequences being that someone will voice their disagreement. As another Facebook very wisely tacked on to the end of their status: “*If you do not support gay marriage, please do not respond to this post. This is a genuinely wonderful occasion for many that I love.”

This all connects back to a topic I’ve been meaning to cover for a while, which is the idea of “safe spaces”. It goes beyond simply wanting others to leave a Facebook status as a forum for positivity instead of debate to having a place where we can rest assured we won’t be outright attacked.  Continue reading

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Write What I Want To-

So as some of you may know Friday is my one day off of work, the morning of which I spend writing my weekly blog posts. As this particular Friday marks my 24th year of existence I will instead be spending that time doing, well, almost anything else.

Seeing as it’s another weekend, and people watch movies on the weekend, please feel more than free to check out my post last week on Big Hero 6. Again, I won’t fault you for enjoying it if you did, or want to, or will, I just want you to think about why the original all-Japanese cast needed to be diversified when countless all-White casts have been allowed to remain as is.

Baymax thinks he knows why-

As far as something new that I’ve written this week, I left a pretty lengthy message on Kat’s post yesterday, which was on Kendra Knightley’s untouched topless photo. It’s not terribly often that I disagree with something one of my co-writers has written [about once ever six months or so, really], but when I do I try to voice my contrasting opinions and creating a discussion on the topic. Friend of mine and general all-around-great-person presented a rebuttal, but I’d be more than happy for any other voices that want to chime in-

In case you have no idea that the title of this post is referencing, well, I’ve got that covered as well. Hope your day is as good as mine. Or that mine is as good as yours. Whoever has the better day, I hope that that is the day that the other person’s reaches in goodness.

Drive-By Evangelism

A couple nights ago I heard something blaring outside my window. My apartment complex is situated next to a high school football field, so I didn’t think anything of it until the sound started getting clearer. I walked over to my window and looked out to see a truck with a flat trailer hitched up behind it, carrying a sound system, floodlights, a microphone, and a guy singing an (awful) Christian rap/altar-call hybrid.

Again.

Yeah, these guys have been through before. I’m not sure if it’s a monthly thing, or if they go for it whenever they can sneak in (I’m pretty sure the management, slum-lords though they are, haven’t signed off on this).

For the most part they just roll up and down the streets in the complex at a couple miles an hour and shout through the loudspeakers that we have got to accept the Jesus into our hearts as lord and savior and…

Well, that’s about it really. And it’s junk like this which is the subject of today’s post. Continue reading

The Religion Re-Cap

I’ll admit, going into this all, I hadn’t intended to write more than that first post on the exodus we’re currently seeing in Western Christian churches. That done, I guess I felt that there were some more questions to be asked and issues to be pointed to with Western Christianity as a whole, notably the treatment of theology and “pietism”, which shapes so much of Western Christian culture, as well as the question of biblical inerrancy, which I wrote today.

It strikes me that we really ever only take one of two routes when dealing with religion- we’re either unquestioning or we’re dismissive. I don’t think Christianity is so unimpeachable that it can’t be indicted and I don’t think it’s so unimportant that it can be ignored. Whatever your stance on it, these beliefs, traditions, and values have shaped and continue to shape culture and history in this nation and around the world. It deserves the courtesy of us grappling with it on its own turf- no matter where you’re coming from, I’m hopeful this will have at least offer a venue for some more sincere discussion than we typically enjoy. This series may have ended, the conversation, I’m hoping, is just about to begin.

The three posts in this series are listed below:

I. The End Of The Church As We Know It

II. The Problem With Pietism

III. Biblical Inerrancy