Sunday, October 07, 2018

Words from an old fuddy-duddy

No, I don’t think I’m an old prude. But I keep remembering the old adage that if you can’t express yourself without cursing, you probably have nothing to say.

 It’s no secret that I’m a Facebook addict. Years ago, I was scornful of Facebook, then the new kid on the block. I didn’t need that foolishness. My kids convinced me otherwise. “You can keep up with what we’re all doing,” they said. So I signed up. I soon knew what time one son went to the gym, what time he left the gym, the details of his lunch, etc. I love my kids beyond measure, but that kind of detail I didn’t need. But then most of them melted away—the girls in the family still post a bit, one son rarely, and one son not at all.

But by then I was hooked. I saw the value of Facebook in promoting my mysteries and my blog. I made friends. I learned a lot about current events, once I realize how important it is to check the sources. Facebook is now part of my morning ritual, and I usually check it late at night. These days, with the Kavanaugh mess, I’ve checked it more often.

But I am dismayed, upset, disappointed—choose whatever word you want—at the level of many conversations. On some timelines, if I express an opinion, I am vilified as naïve, stupid, blind, etc. I rarely play this card in my own defense, but I would like those men (yeah, they’re all men) to know that I am not stupid. I hold a Ph.D. in English, and I’ve published over a hundred books. My opinions about the current political situation in our country are no knee-jerk reactions but are based on my sense of honor, morality, and integrity—and they have a lot to do with my faith.

The posts that offend me the most are scurrilous, often in horrendous taste. One recently alluded to Lindsey Graham’s sudden infatuation with trump in such gross anatomical terms—an act between two men that I do not want to contemplate further, but I can’t erase from my mind. The F-bomb has now become common, as have insults of the most virulent kind. So have sexual innuendos of the grossest nature.

What happened to civility? What happened to an honest exchange of ideas? Tonight Christian and I had a discussion about Kavanaugh/Ford—we disagree on some points. He says I want to make it political, and I say it has to be. We were both passionate—and grew loud. Jordan left the cottage. But you know what? We weren’t mad, we kept it civil, and we exchanged ideas.

That’s what I hoped for on social media—a civil exchange of ideas. Okay, here I go being political, but I blame much of it on trump. With his comments about grabbing women in the crotch, etc., he has lowered the bar for discussion. And I am offended—by him as a person if not by his politics.

I don’t necessarily want to go back to the days when if you mentioned something slightly sexual, my mother’s chin went up in the air and her eyes went out the window. That discussion was over. But I would like to be able to exchange ideas in a civil manner. I might stretch my mind a bit, and that would be good. And maybe I could stretch yours.

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