The rise of the imbecile

There’s a phrase I absolutely love – The more you know, the less you know. The trouble we have these days (am I old enough to say that?) is that all of the world’s knowledge is easily accessible to us, I carry it round in my pocket all day, every day. I can find out how to make something – results may vary – but the knowledge will be there, If I wish to know what is going on in any part of the world, I will most likely find it through Google in minutes. What a time to be alive. However, the flip side of this is that in general, people don’t find out what is going on before diving on a headline. We’ve seen ‘The rise of the right’ in recent times and I find it pretty disturbing. As a whole, people seem to be dividing, aligning themselves either left or right, even between family members and the closest of friends we find ourselves on opposite sides. Social media has brought everybody closer together. We know more about other people than ever before because people are showing more of themselves than ever before. Its crazy when you think about it, 15 years ago you wouldn’t stand up in the town centre with a massive picture of your last meal for everyone to see, but people broadcast this information along with many other – better and worse – goings on in their life and psyche. 

Through the power of Facebook, I’ve learned a new word (not that type of word). Ultracrepidarian. Meaning, one who is presumptuous and offers advice or opinions beyond one’s sphere of knowledge. This has got me thinking about all sorts of things from recent times and my own reactions – both initially and after some thinking time – and has made me glad I don’t post many things on social media without a lot of thinking time. Hey, I’m a drummer, I need all the time in the world. But I’m going to let you in a little bit on some of my knee jerk reactions and what I’ve come to realise. 

Let’s start with Black Lives Matter. As a (hopefully) decent human being I would always say of course black lives matter. No question. However, as a white male without a fully functioning appreciation of white privilege (I’m still on the way there) I’m ashamed to say that I may have uttered the phrases ‘white lives matter too’ and ‘all lives matter.’ I mean obviously all lives matter, however, that’s not the point is it. White people aren’t being instantly profiled, harassed, assaulted and killed by those that are meant to protect them. The Black Lives Matters movement, I am coming to understand is an unfortunately necessary awareness campaign and just because its not in the news in this country as much at the moment doesn’t mean that the struggle isn’t going on. Walk a mile in their shoes as the saying goes. How would you feel to be under that kind of possible threat every time you leave the house? 

Obviously, we can’t go into all the grey areas of each incident and I appreciate the police have a difficult task. 

I have a friend on Facebook, well I have several but I’m going to talk about just one for now, who is a fervent feminist and a champion for abused women and rape victims. I see multiple posts per day from her and let me tell you, she doesn’t hold back. I’ve been through a range of emotions with her posts from ignorance and anger to acceptance and understanding. It is the anger that has led me to this shame faced confession. My anger is in 2 parts. I’m angry at the perpetrator of the abuse. As a person, son, husband and father I don’t want to live in a world where the women in my life have to face this threat as a reality, but also the shame of my lack of understanding by thinking, and I’ve often heard it repeated, “its not all men.” Yes, it’s not all men, but it is some men. Some is too many. Just 1 is too many. What can we do to help? 

Other Facebook posts I see that really annoy me are from my “Friends” – and for the sake of not ranting all day, I’m discounting any of the racist bullshit that has well and truly established itself in the mainstream recently - that share opinions that we don’t need to know they have, or that they probably don’t even need to have in the first place. I saw one the other day with the headline (note the all caps) “TRANSGENDER IN CHILDREN IS CHILD ABUSE” what the hell has it got to do with anybody else whether someone feels they are transgender at any age. Let people live how they want to live, if its not hurting anyone who are you to say what is and what should be. 

The world right now needs to get back to being a more understanding place. If you don’t understand something or are scared about it, open a dialogue with someone in the know. You’re not going to always agree on everything, but I would urge anyone to think before posting online. Why are you giving us your opinion on this matter, is it close to your heart? Why is it close to your heart? If it isn’t then why not just keep it to yourself. Social media can be a wonderful thing but it can also show the worst of people. I’m trying to be less reactionary and I’m following this path: Is it true, is it necessary, is it kind.

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