By Steve Cash / Detroit
Like many people, I’ve used Facebook to state my political and philosophical views. In a passionate manner, I would constantly argue with friends and strangers alike. In the beginning, in 2010, the exchange of ideas was fun and challenging. I would give my opinion and carefully consider different views.
As time went on, though, I noticed a lack of civility. People began to get angry at opposing views. I even lost a very good friend for a while over our polar opposite political convictions. This eventually led to intolerance and name calling on Facebook.
Eventually, it seemed that liberals and conservatives stopped talking to each other completely, and only communicating with like- minded people. This was an unfortunate and sad development. Little did I know that it would lead to an even more disturbing phenomenon.
With extreme political divisiveness ruling the day and communication at a near standstill, I noticed people were now using Facebook for a much more annoying purpose. To my chagrin, they posted the most annoying personal messages. I beg your indulgence while I document this unfortunate turn of events.
My neighbor’s proudest moment
In what I believe was a misguided and desperate need for attention, my neighbor informed Facebook users that she had recently returned from a trip to the doctor to remove her excessive ear wax. She wanted to let her followers know what an expert job the doctor had done in removing that pesky substance.
My neighbor raved about how her ENT doctor kept her in the loop and included her in the process by showing her the goop as it was removed. She seemed proud that this brilliant man of science had taken the time to call his staff into the room to witness what he described as “record -breaking chunks” as they exited her ear canal.
She finished the post by highly recommending the doctor. I was personally nauseated by her online disclosure, but given the 30 likes and high praise that she received from her Facebook friends, I am seriously considered posting the complete story of my recent bout with watery stool.
Male midnight confession
I was having trouble sleeping late one night, so I turned to Facebook to pass the time. I noticed a post by a close friend, whom I had always known to be shy and reserved and pretty much to keep to himself.
But I found out through his post that he too had fallen victim to the newest Facebook craze, posting what was formerly considered private and humiliating information. For some unknown reason, my friend felt the need to inform the world of his newly discovered impotence.
As if his admission weren’t surprising and sad enough, he also asked other Facebook contributors for advice on correcting this issue. I guess my friend was hurting and wanted to share his problem with others. That part I understand. What I don’t understand is the part about asking for medical advice from others.
As far as I know, there are specialists who treat this problem. I‘d think that might be a safer bet than asking for expertise from someone on Facebook. For all my friend knows, the medical advice on Facebook might be coming from a forklift driver from Wyandotte.
Although I find it puzzling that a person would post about such a personal and embarrassing matter, I kind of admire him for being uninhibited and sharing his feelings. As an aside, in some ways I can relate to his problem. I also have had a few scares concerning this issue. Fortunately, I was able to turn to my wife in those troubling times.
But I must admit I was surprised and somewhat disappointed at my wife’s reaction to my possible impotence. Instead of being concerned about the possibility, she admitted to a feeling of relief.
Living in the material world
Now that discussing politics has become a no-no, Facebook has also become a haven for braggarts. A guy I went to high school with posts nothing but his work-related accomplishments and pictures of his numerous valuable possessions. His new cars, glitzy homes and fabulous vacations are constantly featured on his page.
If it sounds like I'm jealous, it’s because I am. No one could have foretold that he would outdo me on the success ladder. In high school, I topped him in the events I thought would insure my superiority over him in later life. I creamed him in the rope climb, and he was no match for me in dodgeball.
Although I never saw him with a pretty girl in high school, I was gobsmacked to see a picture of his beautiful wife in his most recent post. It's clear that I can’t compete with him financially, but if things change and we once again agree to have a legitimate dialogue on Facebook, I will get my revenge and destroy him on the Alaska pipeline controversy.
In 1960, Kennedy and Nixon had several monumental debates concerning the prevailing issues of the day. Although they did not like each other, there is no doubt they respected the political process. They debated with knowledge, wisdom, and civility. They discussed the Russian menace, nuclear disarmament and civil rights. The moderators were fair and seemingly unbiased.
We should all try and learn a lesson from that more respectful time. If we can recapture the dignity of those world-changing debates, perhaps we can return to Facebook for a more honest and polite discourse. If we’re not able to agree to debate respectfully, though, I'm afraid we are destined to read disturbing accounts of my aunt Jennie’s canker-sore trials and tribulations on future Facebook posts.
Steve Cash is originally from Oak Park, Mich. He is a longtime real estate agent who used to do stand-up comedy in L.A. His claim to fame was winning The Gong Show in 1977, and working at the Comedy Store with such greats as David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Michael Keaton. After watching those brilliant comics perform, Steve realized he’d better make a beeline back to Detroit and get back into real estate. Steve has had articles published in a number of publications and enjoys writing and trying to make people laugh.