Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Least I Can Do

Remember all those years ago when we misunderstood that pop song and tied yellow ribbons around trees and things that looked like trees to show solidarity with Americans being held hostage by Iranian students after they had stormed our embassy?

It gave us something to do and helped us feel a part of something much bigger than ourselves (and did wonders for the bank accounts Irving Levine and Larry Brown). No one to my knowledge contends or pretends it had anything to do with the hostages' eventual release.

Today in the era of convergence and everyone's your neighbor here in the Global Village, we have streams and reams of  "Click 'Like' if you think puppies should be allowed to hire hookers and purchase wine coolers and cigarettes on school nights even if they are driving" or some such hoohah.  And every one of these exhortations is capped with that ubiquitous thumbs up signifying 'I'm in!'.

I'll bet Mike Utley wishes he'd had a better agent and Mark Zuckerberg is glad he didn't. Frank Capra is probably happy Zuzu was fictional but would be sad the same cannot be said of the baseball team that plays in Anaheim. I'm trying to envision him or George Bailey affixing a "We Support Our Troops" ribbon magnet to his car-not that there wouldn't have been a lot of choices. I just suspect, like me, they might wonder how doing the former accomplishes the latter. Still scratching my head over that one.

In a national election year, anywhere on social media, it's a car crash in terms of pop-ups, inserts, adverts, banners and what I call, 'pull my finger' which turns out to be bait and switch ads suggesting one thing 'when you click here' and delivering another. I don't mind wishing the President and First Lady a happy anniversary, but it turns out that's not what 'clicking on the Facebook ad' only does. Same for Get Seamus Spayed button the Romney folks dream they had thought of and that Rick Sanctorum's people wanted to resurrect but on behalf of Bill Wasik.

Offering people an extended middle finger went from a gesture of abject contempt to, more recently, being practically an affectionate greeting, upsetting terminally cynical people such as I who now have to seek out a new physical manifestation to effectively capture the essence of 'it's the least I could do.' Especially since I'm all out of ribbon. I wonder if that's some kind of sign?
-bill kenny

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