Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Precipitously Speaking...

Precipitous : Gorges de la Diosaz : Photo copyright: Janet M Kincaid, 7/2012

When Twitter Goes Rogue...

I read what I should see as a disturbing article about a volatile recent exchange on Twitter. I say "should see" because I've been blogging and reading the news online for a number of years now and I've been using Facebook for about four years or so. While I am often gobsmacked by some of the comments people leave on blog posts, in online news comment sections, and on Facebook, I'm less and less surprised by the lack of manners, etiquette, and intelligence displayed by many commenters. Perhaps it's more disheartening than actually surprising.

In fact, I confess that I have not been immune to leaving inappropriate comments or expressing opinions that were hurtful to others. In the last election cycle alone, I'm pretty sure I burned a bridge or two with some friends I value. I regret that and it has made me pause and think more about how I want to interact via social media and how I wish to be publicly received. 

Which is why I struggle with the idea of using Twitter. In an effort to stay professionally relevant as a communicator (writer, editor, photographer, comms-go-to person), it's one of those things more potential employers are looking for on résumés. And yet, I have no interest in experiencing the kinds of exchanges like Clara Jeffrey at Mother Jones (and many others) recently experienced.

Our inability to exchange meaningful, well-thought out, constructive dialogue is what shocks me most, I guess. I have no problem with a differing opinion. But when the conversation devolves into ugly name calling, death threats, and foul language, the battle -- whatever it may be or how we may feel about something -- is lost.


The Dart of Love1 That May Strike

Meanwhile, over in Great Britain, Parliament has voted in favor of a bill that will legalize gay marriage. The bill is strongly supported by Prime Minister David Cameron, despite heavy opposition within his own Conservative Party.

Meanwhile, the Church of England, in a pique of irony not lost on the rest of us, is balking at legislative attempts to redefine marriage. Apparently, they have failed to remember their own sordid, start-up history? I think this meme captures it well, don't you?

1. Henry VIII in a letter to Anne Boleyn in 1528. Boleyn was Henry's raison d'être for severing ties with the Catholic Church. She was the second of what would eventually be six wives.


Extending Rights to U.S. GL Servicemembers

In related news, the U.S. Pentagon is about to begin extending some domestic partnership benefits to its gay and lesbian servicemembers. The benefits are limited by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), though, and initially will only include a few things like base privileges and relocation packages. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on DOMA in the coming months. If the court strikes down DOMA, the Pentagon will then be free to extend the same benefits to its gay servicemembers as it does to its straight ones. This follows on the heels of ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the State Department's extension of benefits under recently retired Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


Richard A. Herman: Who?

Richard A. Herman died recently. "Who?" you may ask. Precisely. Seems that's how he lived his life and wanted it. In the meantime, he was a millionaire who bequeathed his money to a few charities and the arts in D.C. I love this story. It's the quiet, unexpected kindnesses that often make all the difference.


If You're Happy and You Know It, Fake a Grin

Seems the GOP still doesn't get why it isn't winning over the hearts and minds of American voters, but seems they've decided if they do it and say it with a smile on their faces and in a happy voice, we'll all see their brand of the light and elect them to absolute power across the land. Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) may be right. The GOP really may be "the party of stupid."


P45: Making SmartCar Look Safe

Finally, from Slate, this bit on Jeremy Clarkson's P45 car that makes you look like a Transformer. It also makes the SmartCar look like a highly fortified tank by comparison! The scariest bit is, he actually takes this thing out on the dual carriageway, as the Brits call highways. The video is good for giggle. Enjoy!

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