11 September 2015

Changing minds, changing font capitalization

I chickened out. A friend of mine shared the following on his Facebook wall yesterday:

Greta Van Susteren
This is so messed up! I know you are not a terrorist...
Why is President Obama hiding the Iran deal from honest American citizens? Watch my 'Off the Record' commentary and SHARE this post if you think the Iran deal should be posted on WhiteHouse.gov!
Like · Comment · Share · September 9 · Edited

A dispute that I will brazenly label "foolish" ensued between my friend and an Iran Deal supporter. Their discourse began with non-annotated links to items such as Huffington Post articles and Fox News clips, jumped into one-liners about the Constitution and opposing parties' deplorable uses of filibusters, and somehow dragged in Rush Limbaugh talk radio, the lock-step thinking of Democrats, and (inevitably?) Dick Cheney. Both my friend and his online friend seemed to sincerely deem their argumentation sequitur and indisputable. They believed also there was valuable cause to argue their sides with each other over social media.

"Duty Calls" by Randall Munroe, of course.

I cannot diagnose their intended goals: changing the other person's mind, opening their own minds to better understand where the other person in coming from, being "heard," venting? Whatever their reasons, the exchange struck me as neither fruitful in its conclusion, helpful in its execution, nor well-planned in its initiation.

As it now sounds unarguable that I am a lurking judgmental jerk who looks down on the political glossings of her own friends, I should admit what I did next. I began typing a response that, without doubt, would so perfectly elucidate the primary issue and confute all misunderstandings that I would lay the entire issue to rest for my friend, his friend, and every Facebook reader who happened by this thread. Until the end of time. Such would be the coherent, objective rationality of my written remark that it would forever stand as the quarrel-quashing fifteenth reply in a previously two-person thread on a wall that wasn't mine. Sure, my comment wasn't bound to straighten out the misconceptions of every voter in the country-- I'm not as impracticably self-regarding and airy-fairy as all that! I was merely going to solve the debate for all reasonable human beings who read this particular thread to its cumbersome final comment on a Thursday night on Facebook.

[Edit 9/25: Saw this online today. Had to include it.]

My thumbs were working at the redline. Three sentences in to my comprehensible exegesis on the July 14th Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and its relationship to the Road-map between the IAEA and Iran, recently styled as "secret side deals," I made the cautionary decision to continue my typing in a separate app, thus removing my unfinished text from the nearly live comment box lest I prematurely tap the inviting "Post" button and accidentally reveal my partially formed, incomplete ramblings to the universe.

This was an ace move. It turned out to be the first nudge toward the most ingenious (only ingenious?) thing I did all night. After rereads, the inclusion of clarifying parenthetical, spellchecks (Internet debaters know that an online misspelling eternally invalidates all otherwise logical propositions.), incorporation of reputable links to historical references, political analysis that admirably restrained from being partisan, and attentive recognition to both sides for being equally ostensibly correct despite being so very, very wrong, ... I long-pressed on my mobile screen, tapped the "Select All" icon, and grabbed my entire comment into the clipboard. Upon returning to the Facebook app, I was pleased that no opinions had been posted during my absence, as unexpected additions would surely require further elaborated debunking from my all-wise, ever-accurate viewpoint. Sitting pretty at twenty-minutes in the writing, my comment was already laden with impedimenta. Necessary impedimenta, mind you, but still... it was longer than I had intended.

The fateful moment came when I pasted the tome into the humble comment box, which instantly expanded to accommodate my prolix explainer. The scroll bar shrunk so entirely that I could not find to grab it! The act of swiping through the displayed lines wore on my finger and my mind, like a new user who is trying to reach the end of an Adobe agreement just so that the little agree button will activate!

It was more than long. It was TL;DR. I privately disdain the TL;DRness of such unpardonably lumbering social media comments. For goodness sake, people, if you like your own writing so much, why don't you get a blog?

And that was the end of that. However undeniably persuasive and evenhanded my comment certainly was, it was also unforgivably long-winded. I deleted it. I sighed for mono no aware. Then I lightheartedly disregarded all similitude between my and my friend's approach to Internet political squabbling. I mean, Internet political discussion.

There was one and only very fortunate difference between my actions this around time and anyone else's during instances when they initiate or get drawn into such high-minded contretemps:


The silliness of it all struck me this morning, when a synced electronic device opened up to reveal the unpublished opus, helpfully and automatically saved in the Cloud of Unforgetting. Thanks, Cloud. From now on, I'll try to remember too.

[Edit 9/25: Images I swapped out for the penguin video:]

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