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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What the "Power of Hashtag" says about us.

Kevin Williamson guts, fillets and rolls in panko bread crumbs the mortifying narcissism of our social media bubble, and the supposed grownups who embrace it:

Slavery in Nigeria, the occupation of Ukraine, whatever: It ain’t about you, Sunshine.

The “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign, directed at the fanatical Islamist slavers in Nigeria, has inspired selfies fromU.S. senators and the wife of the president of these United States, while State Department spokesman Jen Psaki, the Pippi Longstocking of the diplomatic world, took to Twitter to photograph herself with a “United for Ukraine” placard. To confront the heinous crimes of Boko Haram, a U.S. senator has many options — for example, introducing an authorization to use military force against said terrorist franchise. The U.S. State Department has many tools at its disposal for confronting the expansionist tendencies of Vladimir Putin.

The selfie is not among those tools.

Imagine, if you can, the abjectly juvenile state of mind necessary to contemplate the hundreds of Nigerian girls taken into slavery by a fanatical Muslim anti-education militia — whose characteristic activity beyond slave-taking is setting fire to children— and, in the face of all that horror, concluding: “You know what this situation really calls for? A cutesy picture of . . . me!” Bad enough when your cousin Caitlin at Bryn Mawr does that — but senators? State Department officials? These are men and (disproportionately, I think) women of power and influence, who have the ability to engage with the world and change it. But they are enchanted by the unique witchcraft of the age of social media, the totemic power of the digital expression of the self.

Read it all--a few times at least. 

Then ponder how far we've fallen.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Not remotely interested in either a blog fight or the invective.

    I know he rubs a lot of my friends the wrong way and I'm not always fond of his rhetoric, either.

    That said, he's still *my* friend, and I don't want that sort of thing here.

  3. Huh?

    Clearly I am working too hard. I have no clue what anyone is talking about.

  4. Which goes to show that you're a better man than he is.

    I've deleted it for your sake, Dale. But it sure felt good writing it.


  5. By the way, "invective" is all I have left these days.

    Which is why blogging has ground to a halt, and FB has become nothing more than photos of family. If I can't say something nice, I'll just say nothing at all.

  6. Flambeaux:

    It was a reference to another writer.

  7. Jay:

    I appreciate you taking it down. I strongly doubt I'm much better than anyone these days, especially when it comes to religious adherence.

  8. Gotcha. Thanks, Dale. I was completely confused.

  9. Heh, I didn't see the missing comment, but I'd quite happily bet all my possessions that I know exactly what it was about.