Before my diagnosis it would be fair to say I spent most of my time focusing on the standard First World obsession with conformance and consumerism. Stand out, but fit in. What postcode do you live in? How much do you earn? Are you married? How many children do you have? What car do you drive? Where do you holiday? All of these criteria were being nicely addressed, but crucially, in our overindulged society, never satisfied.
These distractions were put into focus by my inconvenient prognosis and I found a desire to carve what immortality I can, especially as my children will likely never know me as adults, by communicating my honest thoughts and opinions on those subjects I now have (not necessarily correctly) decided are actually important. Well, important as in my first four levels of Maslow’s hygiene theory are ostensibly in place and now I’m working on some kind of steroid fuelled self actualisation. Not important as in how can we reduce the infection rate of AIDS in Sub Saharan babies.
When I first was diagnosed I quickly realised I needed a way to communicate my ongoing situation to the widest audience of friends and acquaintances easily and in one fell swoop. Facebook then; and it’s been an invaluable tool in passing occasional important information and providing people with a facility to respond in a way that helps them too.
However between all the funny cat videos or George Takei shares, there are some unwritten rules about what we say in our Facebook world and how we say it. It is not just a virtual community, it has become integral to our real lives. Most of us, (3AM drunken rants excepted, hopefully remembered and deleted) are aware that we are speaking to everyone we know when we make a comment. They are all making a judgement about us. Even if they don’t know it, or we don’t care. Therefore we take part in a tacit agreement to keep things generally non-divisive and non-confrontational. We don’t hijack other people’s comments or use foul language where they don’t. We don’t embarrass our significant others, or at least deliberately. And certainly we try not to become social network pariahs by posting negative comments about impending death, or worse still preaching new found wisdom derived from our mortality epiphany.
There then Facebook is about as intellectually devoid of candid opinion as a vicar’s tea party.
To spare those that do not care that I have opinion, would not find it interesting, prefer not to risk being offended, or generally would rather not have their screen filled with epic posts on Existential Nihilism, I have created this website to provide an outlet. It is not intended to be a typical blog; you won’t find me reeling off of banal details about my illness or treatments on a daily basis.
On the subject of offence, shall we just clear the decks?
Cunt, shit, God, fuck, nigger, One Direction.
How did that make you feel? I’m not saying you shouldn’t recoil against any or all of these words, but they are just words. A lifetime of social aversion therapy has developed that disgust. In much the same way as your mental reflexes are polar opposite when you read the words flower and vomit. What I ask you now is, have you made judgements about me or my views based on my use of these words (or their grouping or syntax in the same sentence) outside of any context?
Again, don’t feel bad about the answer yes; you are expected to. If however you are grown up enough to challenge yourself (and me) about it, let’s read on…