Monday, February 26, 2018

Come as you are

As far as political commentary goes, the above post from the The Collinsport Historical Society's Facebook page is the definition of benign. You'd have to be a fool not to recognize that America has a serious problem with gun violence, a topic on which Stephen King crafted a thoughtful essay titled "Guns" ... back in 2013. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, that was almost 300 school shootings ago, so you'll be forgiven if you thought "Guns" was a response to the 17 people killed Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida.

And a few people were PISSED about the Facebook post. The chief complaint was that it was offensive for "politics" to leak into the CHS Facebook feed. The leak is actually nothing new, nor is the complaint about it. The short explanation for this phenomenon is that a lot of people feel entitled to their place in the world and are unaccustomed to having to defend it. The very idea that they have to justify their opinions on anything is objectionable to them, which is why these kinds of threads immediately become nasty. It's not necessarily the topic that troubles them, it's the suggestion that they might be part of whatever problem is being discussed. Their carefully curated Facebook feed just confronted them with something they've actively been trying to ignore.

Again, the entire meat of last night's Facebook post reads "Food for thought from Stephen King," followed by a link to Amazon for the Kindle edition of the essay. (A friend tells me the audio edition of the essay is also quite good.) That the people most vocal about the Stephen King post hadn't read "Guns" didn't seem to matter. THEY HAVE OPINIONS AND MUST BE HEARD. And the unifying theme running through their opinions is that I needed to keep my own to myself.

Here are some highlights from last night's still-expanding dialogue. You can read and/or participate in the thread by clicking HERE.

"But what you did is pure narcissism, nothing else."
I've been running a blog devoted to my own opinion for six years. It's a little late to accuse me of narcissism. Also, don't forget to vote for the CHS in this year's Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards.

"I’m done - goodbye."
I really don't care? In case you haven't noticed, this place isn't a storefront. Whatever "business" you think you're conducting here doesn't affect my bottom line by as much as a penny.

"What is the deal with people who announce their departure? Are they expecting the page to say 'Wait, sorry, we won't do it again, please stay!' Just unlike the page without the attention whoring."
Right? I mean, I don't have much more to say about this ... too many people assume their opinion carries more weight that it does. There are currently 7.4 billion people in the world. YOU CAN BE REPLACED. (Also, see the previous comment about narcissism.)

"Delete thread pls."

"And what does this have to do with Dark Shadows? Absolutely nothing."
You really need to visit this website and its ancillary social media profiles more often. Last night's turn of events should be about as surprising as the end of M. Night Shyamalan's THE VILLAGE.

“Our staff recently participated in a Safety Awareness training and will participate in an upcoming Active Shooter training to further empower them.”
That's not a comment from last night's shit tornado. It's an extract from a letter I received from my  son's daycare, re: how administration is going to "empower" teachers in the event that someone shows up to campus with a loaded gun and a heart full of hate. (Please note that the scheduled training is not for an "active stabber" or "active driver.") My child is three years old and the knee-jerk response to America's most recent gun-related slaughter is to normalize the idea that someone might try to kill him at school. If you believe "Food for thought from Stephen King" is controversial, kindly fuck the hell off. While you're doing that, I'll be helping my kid meet his curriculum requirements for Hide and Seek: Extreme Edition.

"Bye here too. Can’t tolerate rudeness."
Um, you might not want to read my previous response.

"I need a taco."
Me, too.

"Maybe the administrator will know why his number just shrunk. If I had a web page, I would want to know."
I have a webpage, and I do know. I also have a backbone and a conscience, which possibly runs counter to my sense of self preservation. But hey, lets see if the number of school shootings rises in 2018 to a number that finally makes you uncomfortable.

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far."
That's a quote from an H.P. Lovecraft story and might not have anything to do with this conversation.

Here's the irony: because of its "controversial" nature, the Stephen King link actually reached more people than many of the previous DARK SHADOWS-themed posts. In fact, Patrick McCray's "Dark Shadows Daybook" entry published Feb. 21 received a scant three likes and reached just 34 people. That's because Facebook's analytics were recently reconfigured to reward posts for comment-based interaction. (The post did just fine on other platforms, thanks.) So those of you who decided to show your ass last night actually succeeded in boosting the profile of the Stephen King essay. Congratulations. Facebook just played you again.

- Wallace McBride

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