Monday, February 15, 2010


I have a short story to tell about an event that occurred on the social networking site Facebook. Facebook has a lot of pages set up by various individuals that cater to certain groups or interests in addition to those individual pages we can set up about ourselves. I have a Facebook page. I am also a member or a fan of other Facebook pages and until recently was a member of a page called “Writers.” I fancy myself something of a writer. I have written and published a couple of books, been published in a couple of newspapers, and have a blog. So when I noticed that there was a Facebook page titled “Writers” I stepped right up and requested to join. They let me.

Now a group of writers one would think would have a wide range of interests. I mean the title of the page was “writers” not religious writers, political writers, fiction writers, poetry writers, newspaper writers just “writers.” On this page was a tab that said “Discussions.” This was a place where people could create topics for discussion. Usually you can’t get any clearer than that, but perhaps these folks should have tried. I had posted in some of these discussions before and had enjoyed some back and forth discussion with other members of the page. One day, while visiting the page, I noticed that someone had put up a discussion that said “Favorite Quotes.” Well I have several favorite quotes after all I am a writer.
Back in 1992, I ran for the Texas State Senate as a Libertarian. One day, the Libertarian Presidential candidate came to Dallas for a visit and to be a guest on a radio talk show. I got to ride with him from the airport to where the interview was taking place. His name is Andre Marrou. He is a likeable sort and on the way he told us this joke about the origins of the word “politics.” He said it was from the Latin “poli” meaning “many” and tics which were blood sucking parasites. I remember saying something about my dog and parasites and the line that survived was; “If parasites are bad for my dog, what makes them good for my country.”

Nothing truer was ever said in my estimation and so that is what I typed into the “writers” Facebook discussion tab under favorite quote. I didn’t think another thought about it. Couple of days later I was back at the Writer’s page and went to see if someone had commented on my quote or put a quote in I might enjoy. My quote was gone…erased...deleted. It took me about two seconds to decide that I wasn’t happy about that at all. So I went back into the discussion group and posted my ire with the fact that the quote had been deleted and reposted it. I also sent a note to the keepers of the page letting them know my quote had been deleted and asking them why.

Next thing I knew I was deleted. I could no longer go to the Writers’ Facebook Page because I had been delisted a lot like my quote. Now there is another Facebook Page called Writers II which exists because some of the people from the first one, think that they are too heavy handed with their censoring of ideas they don’t like….well duh! On this new page there is a discussions tab and on this page was a discussion called, “tired of the heavy handed editing on the writers page?” Well I was so I went there and posted my ire with the first page and got a response from a fellow claiming to be the very one who deleted my quote from the first one, telling me how awful it was that I would say such a thing.

As a matter of fact I got responses from several people on this new page that were perfectly fine with me getting kicked off the first page, because they saw something terrible in my quote. One of them thought I must be talking about his unemployed father. Another though I must be talking about his Aunt who had to work two jobs. Another thought I must be talking about unwed mothers…and they were all mad at me for saying simply that “if parasites are bad for my dog, what makes them good for my country?”

I found this to be remarkable. None of these people knew the context of my quote or anything about me at all, but they all knew that I must be talking about someone they know. “Methinks perhaps thou doth protest too much.” WS. They wanted my blood. They weren’t going to stand idly by and allow me to disparage their particular victim. They were shouting that their relation or group were not parasites even though no one had accused them of being so. They weren’t reading what I was writing and they were using emotion instead of cognition to come to conclusions about facts not in evidence. It was sort of a mob mentality.

I don’t think I ever got them to go back to the origin of the controversy and that was the idea that if you ask me for my favorite quote, I am going to give you my favorite quote, and if you really want your favorite quote or one you agree with, that is what you should ask for. Am I the only one in this scenario who can follow directions? This was typical behavior for people who are insecure in their beliefs. If I don’t tell them what they want to hear…they demand that I do. And when I still don’t, they attack me personally.

I don’t think any of these people are in danger of becoming very good writers. They must first learn to read, comprehend and think critically.

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