Put the Fucking Cell Phone Down

I have a lot of pet peeves but this one is right near the top. People wandering around, or worse, driving around, with their eyes glued to their devices. To me this is a huge disregard for other people. These people are getting in the way, sometimes dangerously so, just so they can attend to something trivial. Something that, chances are, will have zero significance within seconds of completion.

I understand mobile devices are here to stay. I just wish that some real etiquette and social responsibility regarding the use of them would develop as fast as the technology does. Text message while you're eating dinner with your family? It can wait. Facebook update? Nothing is that important. Out for drinks with your buddies? YOU DON'T NEED TO TEXT THE PERSON THAT IS SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO YOU!

Fuck!

In fact, most of the fads that have cropped up around the use of smart phones just hurt my brain when I think about it. I can't count the number of times I've seen two people together in a restaurant each staring into their own phone in complete silence for minutes at a time. Not a peep. Nothing. Not even "Hey, Mike just said something totes funny, lolz", or whatever people say these days. Sexting? Fucking setxting!? What kind of word is that anyway? From what I can tell it's just an synonym for another term: blue balls.

Finally we have the motherfuckers that feel the need to use their phone when they drive. To me this is the equivalent of driving drunk. You are choosing to put the lives of other people, in addition to your own, at risk over something so stupid. It is so unbelievably not worth it that I can't even find words to explain how moronic it is. Take these selfish jackasses and throw them in fucking jail. You want to use your gadget while you drive? Get yourself a Bluetooth hands-free setup.

I know some of you may be reading this thinking, "jeez dude, chill out". I will... as soon as you get over yourself. Texting while driving is selfish and it's stupid.

Deal with it.

Freedom of Speech and Charlie Hebdo

I have to admit that I’m feeling a little conflicted about the Charlie Hebdo thing. No, I’m not condoning, in any way, the actions of the religious extremists that took the lives of the people working there, and the two policemen. I think that killing in the name of religion is a kind of mental illness, and I think the best response to that that I’ve read is in this cartoon by The Oatmeal, who gets so many things right. I am also a pretty strong believer in the freedom of speech — not just speech that I approve of, either. And I believe that the freedom of speech should mean the freedom from being murdered for talking shit.

No, the uncertainty comes from how to react to this event. Condemning terrorism is a pretty good start, I think, but I don’t just think of terrorism as coming from the middle east. There’s been a fair amount of it going the other way, too, and I don’t want to get into that, so a blanket condemnation of terrorism doesn’t seem to have the desired impact.

I see people with the hashtag #jeSuisCharlie, and that seems to be a rallying point for people who aren’t interested in being bullied or intimidated out of saying what they want to say.

The problem is, je ne suis pas Charlie. I am pretty fucking far away from what Charlie Hebdo stands for, and, while I agree that they should be allowed to say what they want, without the fear of AK-47s, some of the things I’ve learned about their cartoons are pretty reprehensible. If you want some evidence of this, I will direct you this article, as long as you understand that it is probably not safe for work, and you should probably not show it to your kids, unless you’re way more liberal than I am.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it

So how do I condemn this action and other violent acts by religious extremists, support the freedom of expression, and explain to my kids that those people were allowed to say vile shit, but they’re not, and essentially make sense of this whole ugly, sad situation?

For me, I suppose, I will be true to myself. I will read arguments and continue to find the truth that makes sense to me. And I will write. This post has helped me come to terms with how I feel about all this, already. I won’t boost the signal of a cartoon I don’t agree with. Defense of free speech doesn’t mean unconditional appreciation, and I won’t promote xenophobia in the name of freedom.

I guess, with my kids, an age-appropriate conversation with them makes the most sense. Nick can understand a lot more about the situation than Ollie could, that’s for sure. To be honest, part of me wants to just get out that Apocalypse Bubble Wrap (TM) and stuff them all in it, so they can be safe.

Suddenly, that cottage in the mountains, out of the range of the internet, seems like a good idea.

Summer Blog Challenge Day 16 Digest

Summer Blog Challenge posts for August 23, 2011

Until tomorrow,
The Management