October 30, 2016

About Poking on Facebook

Times are tough, I know, but let’s talk about something a bit more cheerful than my normal rants, let’s talk about Facebook, the most popular of all the social media platforms. There’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask someone in the know—you’ve just received a Facebook poke, and the first thing that comes to your mind is, “What is this, and what does it mean?”

Of course you may have an idea about the likely meaning of this specific event, in the light of the literal meaning of the word “poke”—“to push your finger or something thin or pointed into or at someone or something” (Merriam-Webster). But to dispel any doubts, an investigation is needed. Thus I googled for answers.. and found hundreds and hundreds of questions and answers.

First of all, what I learned from my search is that a very beloved feature—a button called “Poke”—was enabled since the day Facebook launched in 2004. The button didn’t come with any explanation or rules. Mark Zuckerberg, then 23, said he just wanted to make something with no real purpose..

Secondly, I learned that the Facebook poke was once considered to be a creepy flirting tool, but now it has evolved into something very different. In fact, the most common answer is that a poke on Facebook is more or less the equivalent of tapping someone on the shoulder to say a quick “hello.”

Another popular interpretation is that it is a way to let other people know that you are thinking of them without going through all the trouble of sending private messages or posting publicly to their online wall. A very simple and kind way of saying things like “Remember that I’m here if you’re in troubles, if you feel worn out, or if you need anything,” or just “I miss you,” or “I want you to know that I care about you and what you're going through.” Interesting, isn’t it? Well, of course you might say, “Wouldn’t it be better to just pick up the phone and call her/him?” To which one could reply, “Yes, but sometimes (not to say always) life is more complicated than we would like!” A very strong counter argument, in my view.

Thus, Facebook makes it easier to express our inner feelings and thoughts. Which is not a small thing, above all in these harsh and troubled times.

That being said, however, it is clear that you shouldn’t poke people you don’t really know, especially because you can’t always predict the consequences, if you understand what I mean.., and certainly you shouldn’t take a poke too seriously—remember that 99 times out of 100 a poke is meant to be just for fun.

In any case, and to conclude, I’d say that the main result of my investigations on this subject may be stated as follows: there are no rules for this kind of thing—instinct, common sense, and good taste should guide us here. My viewpoint, for what it’s worth, can perhaps best be summed up by the cartoon below.. ;)

Keep up the good poking!

October 25, 2016

Feeling Compelled to Vote for Donald Trump

Have you noticed that the Mainstream Media—both in the U.S. and in Europe—is distrusted by growing numbers of people? Have you noticed that the cronyism between the Establishment and the MSM has become too blatant to ignore? It has been evident for years that the U.S. Establishment and their MSM cheerleaders have been manipulating a rigged political system to impose their self-serving politics. That’s why so many people—even among those who, until recently, were anti-Trump—feel compelled to vote for him. Here is an example. “Bias has always been a factor in journalism,” writes Derek Hunter, a DC based writer, radio host and political strategist, and “it’s nearly impossible to remove. Humans have their thoughts, and keeping them out of your work is difficult. But 2016 saw the remaining veneer of credibility, thin as it was, stripped away and set on fire.” “More than anything,” he continues,

I can’t sit idly by and allow these perpetrators of fraud to celebrate and leak tears of joy like they did when they helped elect Barack Obama in 2008. I have to know I weighed in not only in writing but in the voting booth.
The media needs to be destroyed. And although voting for Trump won’t do it, it’s something. Essentially, I am voting for Trump because of the people who don’t want me to, and I believe I must register my disgust with Hillary Clinton. […]
The Wikileaks emails have exposed an arrogant cabal of misery profiteers who hold everyone, even their fellow travelers deemed not pure enough, in contempt. These bigots who’ve made their fortune from government service should be kept as far away from the levers of power as the car keys should be kept from anyone named Kennedy on a Friday night. My one vote against it will not be enough, but it’s all I can do and I have to do all I can do.

The Project Veritas videos, he notes, “exposed a corrupt political machine journalists would have been proud to expose in the past.” The Wikileaks emails “pulled back the curtain on why that didn’t happen —journalists are in on it. I can’t pretend otherwise, and I have no choice but to oppose it.”
This, however, isn’t a call to arms for Never Trumpers to follow suit, says Hunter, “this is my choice, what I must do. Each person has to come to this decision on their own terms.” Yet, he observes,

A simple protest vote for a third party or a write-in of my favorite comic book character might feel good for a moment. It might even give me a sense of moral superiority that lasts until her first executive order damaging something I hold dear—or her first Supreme Court nominee. But the sting that will follow will far outlive that temporary satisfaction.
I oppose much of what Donald Trump has said, but I oppose everything Hillary Clinton has done and wants to do. And what someone says, no matter how objectionable, is less important than what someone does, especially when it’s so objectionable. A personal moral victory won’t suffice when the stakes are so high. As such, I am compelled to vote against Hillary by voting for the only candidate with any chance whatsoever of beating her—Donald Trump.

October 12, 2016

The Sacking of the West

‘Saint Augustine writing’; illumination from Augustine’s City of God, 1459
 Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, Paris

Sometimes we’re tempted to despair, also—but not only—because of the cowardice and hypocrisy of those who should be supposed to fight for what they say they believe in. But we simply cannot give in to this temptation, because, as St. Augustine reminds us, the City of Man will fall and be rebuilt, but the City of God is unshakable.

In The City of God—the writing of which had as its immediate historical context the sacking of Rome by Alaric in 410—he writes that “Rome, which was founded and increased by the labors of these ancient heroes, was more shamefully ruined by their descendants while its walls were still standing, than it is now by the razing of them.”

Yes, Rome fell internally before it fell externally. It was ravaged by an interior cancer—an internal rot of the moral kind—which left it hollow and brittle.

As the Author of this excellent Crisis Magazine article puts it, 

As we look around at these uncertain times, and ask how it came to choosing between these two candidates, it might appear, that the world is falling to pieces. It is not. The West might be, just as Rome did, but the world is God’s and God will not forsake it.

If, like me, you are tempted to accept all as futile, let us remember the words of Augustine in his preface.

“But God is my helper. For I am aware what ability is requisite to persuade the proud how great is the virtue of humility.”

The City of God will prevail, and God is our helper.